A Kegel exercise is the Layman’s term for a contraction of the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that are located on the bottom of our pelvis. They go from our pubic bone in the front to our tail bone in the back and they span side to side across our sit bones. One of the main functions of the pelvic floor muscles is to prevent bladder and/or bowel leakage, so it is important that they are working properly and are strong.
Unfortunately, research has shown that about 40% of women who are doing Kegel Exercises are doing them incorrectly. I want to give you a few tips to help you make sure that you are doing kegel exercises correctly.
The pelvic floor muscles are intimately related around our urethra, vagina and anus. When we contract them, we should feel a closure around those holes as well as a lift up and into the body. So a full contraction of the pelvic floor is both a squeeze and a lift.
There are some different visuals you can think about to help you get the right movement.
- Pucker your anus like you are holding back gas
- Stop the flow of urine
- Imagine your vagina is a straw and you are trying to suck something up the straw
- Imagine a marble at the entrance to your vagina and you are going to use you vagina to pick up that marble
A contraction of the pelvic floor should be a gentle motion. You do not need to squeeze as hard as you possibly can. You should also not hold your breath while contracting the pelvic floor. If you are doing a kegel correctly, it should be a hidden exercises. No one should know that you are doing it. There should be no visible body movement, only the contraction around the vagina and anus.
You should be able to do a kegel exercise in any position. However some people have trouble feeling the contraction happen in certain positions. If you try a kegel and you can’t feel anything happening in the sitting position then try it laying down. Sometimes, when we take gravity out of the picture, it’s a little bit easier to do it in a laying down position and you can feel more movement happening.
Hopefully now, you feel more confident in performing a kegel exercise and you’re not one of the 40% who is doing it wrong. If after all these suggestions you still feel like you are having trouble performing a kegel exercise correctly, then it may be time to partner with a pelvic physical therapist.