This article was medically fact-checked by Women’s health expert and Gynaecologist Dr. Alyssa Dweck.
So, you may have heard about Kegels – but you might still be wondering what exactly they are? And how exactly do you do them? Well, today is the day to do your first Kegel exercise and learn how exercising your pelvic floor can improve your intimate health and even your sex life!
What Are Kegel Exercises?
Kegel exercises AKA Kegels are a simple contract and release exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles that support the womb, the bladder, and the bowels.
Think of your pelvic floor muscles like a hammock, holding everything up. Dr. Arnold Kegel, an American gynecologist, proved that pelvic floor exercises effectively strengthened the pelvic floor muscles – hence Kegel exercises.
In short, a Kegel involves contracting and releasing your pelvic floor muscles. It’ll feel like you’re squeezing your vagina together or trying to stop the flow of urine when you pee. Strengthening your pelvic floor with Kegels helps your bladder, uterus, anus, and rectum function normally. They can also help your pelvic floor to recover after pregnancy and delivery and renew your vaginal strength post-childbirth.
According to some, they also make for seriously killer orgasms! World-famous sex educator Dr. Ruth Westheimer attributes this fun little side effect to the increased blood flow to the pelvis and genitals, and the increased ability of the vaginal muscles to contract during the climax.
Who Can Benefit From Kegel Exercises?
Everyone can benefit from regular Kegel exercising, but if you are in any of the situations below you’ll find Kegel exercises even more beneficial:
- You experience urine leaks when you cough, sneeze, laugh hard, etc
- You are preparing for pregnancy
- Or you gave birth recently
- You think your sensations during intimacy could be improved
How To Do Kegel Exercises
To identify your pelvic floor muscles, try stopping urination in midstream. The tightening is your pelvic floor doing its job. Just don’t keep up with the stop-and-go routine on the toilet, as this can lead to urinary tract and bladder issues if you do it regularly.
You may also be able to feel your pelvic floor muscles by inserting a clean and lubricated finger to feel the walls of your vagina while lifting and squeezing your pelvic openings (the vagina, urethra, and anus).
The Kegel Technique
Once you’ve located your pelvic floor muscles, you can try some Kegel exercises. You can perform them sitting, standing, or lying down. It’s easy to work Kegels into your daily routine because, unlike a typical trip to the gym, you don’t need a sports bra and a membership.
Since all the action is happening silently in your pants, you can literally do your Kegels anywhere! (Just make sure you’re not making too many funny faces while you concentrate on tensing and releasing.)
Here’s what to do to perform a Kegel exercise – it’s simple:
Try The Elevator Exercise (Trust Us On This!)
One really great way to practice Kegel exercises is the ‘elevator’ method. Imagine your vagina as an elevator shaft, with the opening as the ground floor. Slowly contract your pelvic muscles, lifting the elevator up towards your belly button. Pause at the top. Then slowly lower the elevator back down. Repeat 5 times. Keep breathing normally, and try not to squeeze your bum or stomach muscles.
Using An Exercise Aid
Now that you’ve discovered your pelvic floor muscles and you understand the basic method, it’s time to start a Kegel routine. Using an exercising aid allows you to gain pelvic strength, ensure you’re always working out the right muscles, and to stay motivated to exercise. A weighted Kegel exerciser adds resistance to your exercise, allowing you to strengthen your pelvic muscles more effectively. For beginners, a light resistance exerciser is best.
Beginners Routine With An Exerciser:
Below is our recommended routine for beginners to try when starting Kegels with an exerciser. After inserting the exerciser according to the manufacturer’s instructions and getting into a comfortable position:
- Contract your pelvic floor muscles, lift the exerciser upwards
- Hold the contraction for 2 seconds, while taking deep breaths
- Release the contraction
- Rest & relax for a minimum of 2 seconds, or for as long as you need before repeating the exercise
- Repeat 10 times for a Kegel set
If this is challenging, you can reduce your repetitions to an amount that is comfortable for you. Try to perform a Kegel set 3 times a week, on alternate weekdays. As you progress, the length of both the contraction and rest can be increased to up to 10 seconds each.
Remember that like with any exercises, it can take a few weeks to notice any results – but every exercise session is bringing you closer to perfect pelvic health. There you have it – the low down on Kegels. Now, what are you waiting for? Start changing your pelvic health today!
Is There An Easier Way To Learn?
It can be hard to know if you’re doing your Kegels exactly right, which is why we came up with something called the KegelSsmart. Remember Dr. Arnold Kegel that we mentioned earlier? He invented the Kegel perineometer, a now ancient-looking, probe-like device that was inserted into the vagina to measure the strength of a woman’s pelvic floor. Kegel found that women who could exert more than 20mm of pressure had fewer pelvic issues, like incontinence.
We liked the idea of being able to measure pelvic floor strength but wanted to make it accessible and easy to use. That’s where the KegelSmart comes in. This comfortable pod-shaped, silicone Kegel-ciser tracks your progress and guides you through a series of 5 gradually increasing workouts.
KegelSmart gently vibrates to let you know it’s time to squeeze and stops when it’s time to rest. The device warms you up with a short series of vibrations and then proceeds into a set of 5-10 second clench-and-release reps.
KegelSmart can actually sense you increasing your vaginal strength, and as you become stronger, it moves you through 5 different workout programs to fit your endurance ability.
Facts checked by:
Dr. Alyssa Dweck
Alyssa Dweck MS, MD, FACOG is a practicing gynecologist in Westchester County, New York. She provides care to women of all ages; she has delivered thousands of babies. She is proficient in minimally invasive surgery and has special interest and expertise in female sexual health and medical sex therapy. She is top doctor in New York Magazine and Westchester Magazine. Dr. Dweck has co-authored three books including the most recent release The Complete A to Z For Your V.
Lane Baumeister is an internationally-based Canadian writer with several years’ experience creating educational and entertaining articles that discuss intimate health and sexual well-being. When not waxing profound about menstruation, she devotes herself to enjoying extremely good food and equally bad movies.