Few things are as contagious as the word “kegel” – in fact, you might’ve started practicing kegel exercises just reading the word! We know we are. Kegels are types of exercises aiming to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support your uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum.
Pelvic floor exercises are great for reducing lower back pain, strengthening postpartum, healing incontinence (here’s everything you should know about incontinence!), and intensifying orgasms to name but a few. What’s not to love?
The pelvic floor muscle is a hammock-shaped muscle that runs between the pubic bone in the front and the tailbone in the back. When you are doing a kegel and squeezing that area, it should feel like you are stopping yourself from peeing mid-flow.
Here are 5 kegel exercises for training your pelvic floor:
1 – Sit & squeeze
This is the simplest kegel we can do anytime, anywhere. While sitting up straight with both feet on the floor, relax your muscles and breath out. With each inhalation of air, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and hold. As you exhale, release and relax.
2 – Kegel bridge
This kegel exercise also helps strengthen your glutes, abs, and lower back. First lay on your back with your knees bent up to the sky. Adjust your feet so your heels are roughly at your fingertips. Relax all your muscles while breathing it all out. With each inhalation, lift your hips straight up and exhale. When in the bridge position, squeeze your pelvic muscle. After holding for a few seconds, release your pelvic floor muscles then slowly come out of the bridge position by slowly lowering your hips back down. And repeat.
3 – Knee folds
This kegel exercise starts similarly to the kegel bridge’s starting position: lay on your back with your feet on the floor and knees bent. Relax all your muscles while exhaling. With your next inhale, open your right hip by lowering your right knee to the ground while keeping your leg bent. As you exhale, squeeze your pelvic floor muscle while slowly bringing your right knee back up to meet the left. Then repeat on the other side.
Effective leak protection
Light urinary incontinence shouldn’t interrupt your day! Natracare incontinence pads provide effective protection, so while you work on your pelvic floor, you don’t have to worry about leaks.
4 – Side clamshell
The side clamshell helps strengthen your pelvic floor as well as your outer hips, inner thighs, and glutes. To begin, lay on your side with your head rested on your bottom arm and your top arm’s hand on the floor to balance. Your knees should be bent at 45 degrees. Next, engage your abs and squeeze your pelvic floor up and in towards your spine. As you keep your feet together, seperate your knees and open your top knee like a clamshell. Once at the top, hold for a few seconds and then on your exhale, slowly come back down to the starting position.
5 – Sumo squat & squeeze
To switch things up, this kegels exercise begins standing up. While standing with your feet hip’s distance apart and your toes pointed slightly out, roll your shoulders down and relax your muscles while exhaling. With your next inhale, engage your core and squat down into a sumo squat. A sumo squat is a type of a wide legged squat with your knees out. While in the sumo squat, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles up and in. As your exhale, release and return to standing position.
Kegel exercises take up almost no time out of your day so are very easy to squeeze in. Strengthening your pelvic muscles with these kegel exercises, suitable for any gender, will have so many benefits. Let us know which you enjoyed the most! And be sure to check out our Q&A with Elaine Miller, a pelvic floor physiotherapist and comedian.