By Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS, founder of www.PelvicPainRelief.com
Let’s face it. How many times has your doctor, fitness trainer or yoga instructor told you “do your Kegels” and “you’ll be fine.” A Kegel is a strengthening exercise for the pelvic floor-vaginal muscles that improves continence, sexual function and organ support. The problem is that many women are not given explicit Kegel instructions and are left wondering, “How do I do them?” The best way for women to stop leaking, improve mobility and birth more easily is to do Kegel exercises consistently and in the right way.
Research has shown that 25% of women do not know how to do a Kegel. Many new moms and pregnant women are getting Kegels all wrong and are suffering. After helping thousands of women recover from pelvic floor disorders. I have come up with the perfect way to master the Kegel exercise, Four Steps to The Perfect Kegel Checklist.
Kegels in action
The perfect Kegel has three actions. The best way to master these actions is to use a mirror while one performs the Kegel exercises. The mirror is the best form of biofeedback that I found and an excellent tool that provides instant feedback. The three actions that make up the perfect Kegel are:
-Action one consists of a clitoral nod where the clitoris moves and nods in a downward direction.
-Action two consists of an anal wink where the anus contracts creating a wink motion.
-Action three involves the perineal body (the area between your vagina and anus) moving inward and upward towards your head.
These three actions should happen at the same time. Don’t despair if you can’t see all three movements at first and with practice, you will master the Kegel.
Not all Kegels are created equal
The most important Kegels are the slow and quick ones. Both types must be included in every set of Kegel exercise you do. Incorporating them trains these muscles thoroughly ensuring long-lasting pelvic power, beautiful orgasms and continence.
The slow Kegels builds endurance, and you should hold them anywhere from 3 to 15 seconds depending on your strength. The quick Kegels are contractions that usually last 1 to 2 seconds. It is important to know that one must relax the vaginal muscles after every single Kegel contraction. Contracting the pelvic floor muscles without rest can lead to more issues down the line.
All Kegels must be coordinated with the breath to get the most exceptional results. Exhale as you contract and lift your pelvic floor muscles
and count aloud as you hold your Kegel contraction. Counting aloud ensures that you don’t hold the breath. Breath holding is an absolute “no-no” when doing Kegels. Practicing your Kegel breathing every day for 5 minutes will help you to do your Kegels correctly every single time.
The mind conquers the Kegel exercise
The pelvic floor muscles are the basin of our being, and they can be difficult to connect to. These muscles hold our organs up, control our bladder, sexual function, act as a sump pump and provide us with stability. Some women have difficulty connecting to these muscles and need extra help. The best way to connect to one’s pelvic floor muscles is to use imagery and visualization. My favorite description that helps women to connect to their Kegels is:
“Close your eyes and as you do your Kegel imagine that your vagina is a vacuum cleaner and you are picking up a piece of lint off the floor and pulling it up into your vagina, and you’re holding it there.” … Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS
Now you are ready to master your Kegels. All you have to do is practice, practice, and practice. Need more help? Read this- Four Steps to The Perfect Kegel Checklist.