Kegel exercises! It wasn’t so long ago that people didn’t brush their teeth. But now, you wouldn’t find yourself saying, “ooh, I think I brushed them about a fortnight ago, but you know? Life has just got too busy!”
Kegel, a gynaecologist first identified the pelvic floor muscles back in 1948. Since then, us women’s health physiotherapists have been trying to educate the general public about the importance of these muscles. Your pelvic floor muscles support your undercarriage ladies. We’ve got organs and yes, our bladder down there. Fairly important bits to keep in place I would say! But, because our heads are up here and our vaginas are somewhere down there it isn’t very often we think about our undercarriages. Our teeth, well you look at them every morning in the mirror, so it’s easy to get up and reach for the brush. I am not suggesting you become quite so acquainted with your fiddly bits that you take a good look at them in the mirror. But it’s time ladies to improve our pelvic floors!
I do mine too often, if there is such a thing! Being a Pilates teacher every time I cue a pelvic floor activation I’m right there too, taking a good squeeze! Whilst it’s hard to over do your kegel exercises it is possible to train them in such a way they get tight and sore, a bit like any other muscle in your body. I went through a period of this myself. In class it’s was so easy to connect into my pelvic floor and then carry on teaching and forget to let go. I ended up having painful sex, seeing the doctor and having a scan to get checked out. Much to my disbelief I realised I had given myself something called an over active pelvic floor, not really very clever for a women’ s health physiotherapist! I managed to self treat which included internally pressing on the sore pelvic floor muscles to release knots and then teaching myself to let go of my pelvic floor as well as being able to connect up into it! This might seem like I’m over sharing, but it’s about time we broke down some barriers!
How to Kegel well!
- Think of a balloon in your tummy, as you breathe in fill up the air in your balloon, you’ll feel the tummy expand (imagine your abdominal contents expanding and descending, your pelvic floor relaxing and descending too)
- As you breathe out the air leaves the balloon, your ribs soften, your tummy draws in slightly. As you do this “wink” through your back passage and then feel like you are holding a wee mid flow zipping up underneath from your tail bone to your pubic bone.
- WATCH you don’t ty to “over do” it and squeeze your buttocks together or feel like your ribs are pressing downwards hard. It’s a small gentle feeling from underneath, a feeling of lifting up.
- Maximal contractions – no I’m not talking about labour, this is feeling like you can lift your pelvic floor right up. Imagine the pelvic floor as an elevator with 10 floors, when you squeeze you can lift, lift, lift all the way up to 10th Remember then to let go, let go, let go.
- Fast contractions – it’s good to train muscles fast and slow and also work them at a lower level but for a longer period of time too
- Squeesy the NHS app for £2.99 will guide you through a series of exercises that works the muscles in different ways, it’s good to do them in different positions too.
In the Phoenix Freedom Pregnancy exercise classes we strengthen theses muscles in lots of different ways and combine them with functional movements too. We know doing your pelvic floors can make giving birth easier and improve your outcomes after birth too.
Doing your pelvic floors are a good thing! Convinced you? Why not check out our pregnancy exercise classes? Or combine the classes with our Ante Natal All Wrapped up programme supporting you with bump and beyond.