What is a Kegel Workout and Why Should You Try It?

Workouts

Looking for a way to strengthen your Kegel muscles (also known as your pelvic muscles) and up your fitness game? You might just have found it. Kegels aren’t all hype, you know? These remarkable activities could be vital to your current regime and wellness program. But wait just a minute, what exactly is a Kegel workout and how can it benefit you?

If you’re not entirely sure, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a moment to explore what pelvic exercises are, how you can try them for yourself, and the benefits of Kegels.

What Are Kegels, Anyway?

anatomical diagram of female pelvic floor with labels

You might be under the impression that the Kegel workout is relatively new. Well, that’s simply not the case. Back in 1950, Arnold Kegel, a gynecologist from the University of Southern California, first came up with the idea.[1] Noting that pelvic floor dysfunction was a common problem, the expert suggested that people could do exercises to combat it.

So, what are Kegels? Put simply, they are pelvic exercises which help you to strengthen your Kegel muscles (also known as the pelvic floor muscles). By holding and squeezing the muscles for specific intervals, you can slowly build their strength. These clench-and-release exercises are hard to perfect, but once you get it right, you could reap some serious rewards.

Right now, experts don’t agree upon the optimal technique or how long you should do the exercises. However, there is evidence that shows the many benefits of Kegel workouts.

What Are the Benefits of Kegels for Women?

 woman in turquoise bikini bottom with a sunflower tucked in the waistband

While everyone can benefit from a Kegel workout, the benefits of these exercises are perhaps most pronounced for women. Engaging in some pelvic exercises could help to strengthen key muscle groups and solve some of the most common pelvic problems.

As you age, you may find that your pelvic floor weakens with time. There are also other factors which can lead to an issue called “pelvic floor muscle dysfunction”. It might sound troubling but this condition could be easily reversed. With that in mind, here are some of the major benefits of Kegels.

Post-Childbirth Healing

Having a child puts immense pressure on the body and many women find that their body changes after they have given birth. The process is highly traumatic for the body. After it is over, most women will find that their Kegel muscles are weaker than before. Practicing pelvic exercises on a regular basis could help to reverse this problem.

However, research shows that around 15% of women will sustain pelvic injuries during childbirth that will never heal.[2] If you’re worried about this issue, the best course of action is to talk to a medical professional and get their expert opinion on the matter.

Preventing Involuntary Incontinence

While it may be an awkward topic to talk about, many women find that they suffer from involuntary incontinence. Having a leaky bladder when you sneeze, cough, or laugh can be an embarrassing problem. Much of the time, adding a Kegel workout to your regular routine could be a simple way to tackle the issue.

Should you find that this particular technique is unsuccessful, though, there are other options. Experts have also introduced surgical alternatives which could prevent involuntary incontinence. Again, it’s worth talking to a medical professional about your problem and finding out what they would recommend.

Strengthen the Pelvic Floor

Of course, one of the major reasons that so many women embark on a Kegel workout program is that it strengthens the pelvic floor or your Kegel muscles. As we’ve already mentioned, over time, these muscles become weaker, which could be a real problem. Taking the time to practice regular pelvic exercises might well be the way to go.

Identifying Your Kegel Muscles

young woman lying on yoga mat doing a kegel workout

While you may not use your Kegel muscles all that often, there’s one time that they come in handy. Imagine that you’re peeing and the doorbell rings. You suddenly need to stop and get up to answer the door (you don’t want to miss that takeout delivery!). In an instant, you clench your Kegel muscles and manage to stop your pee in mid-flow.

It’s hard but it’s doable. If you’ve never been in the above scenario, first of all, congratulations, and secondly, you might want to try it for yourself. While peeing, practice stopping and starting on command. It might sound odd but in doing so you’re using the exact Kegel muscles that you need to engage in your pelvic exercises.

Next, when you attempt your first Kegel workout, you need to remember the feeling of stopping peeing. Try to replicate that movement by clenching your Kegel muscles and squeezing them tight. It’s going to take some work. Here are some tips to help.

  • Lie down when you first try to identify your Kegel muscles
  • Try ‘pulsing’ by quickly clenching and releasing
  • Focus hard on which muscle group you’re engaging
  • If your thighs are doing all the work, you’re doing it wrong

When you’ve found the right muscles, it’s time to start practicing your Kegel workout. If you’re completely new to this type of exercise, here’s what you need to do.

Step 1: Clench and Hold

Isolate the Kegel muscles and clench them tight. You should be able to feel the tension near your pelvis when you do so. Hold this stance for around three to five seconds.

Step 2: Relax

Release the tension and fully relax your pelvic muscles for a period that matches the above. (For example, if you held the clench for three seconds, you should relax for three seconds!)

Step 3: Repeat

Next up, repeat this exercise for a predetermined set. You might want to start off with sets of ten and work your way upward later on. It’s completely up to you!

Pro Tip: When you first start out with Kegel exercises, there are some things that you should be aware of. Should you find that these activities are uncomfortable or painful, you must visit a professional and get checked out. Your health comes first!

How to Use Kegel Balls to Strengthen Kegel Muscles

woman holding multicolored kegel balls used for pelvic exercises

If you’re finding it hard to get your Kegel workout right, there is some equipment that you can use to help. Kegel balls are small round weights that you can use as part of your pelvic exercises.

There are different types of balls from plastic to silicone, so it’s important to figure out which ones work for you. Equally, you need to find out which size suits you. As a general rule, start with a small ball and if it’s not quite right, try a larger one.

Wondering how to use Kegel balls? It might sound daunting when you first start out, but mastering these pelvic exercises is much easier than you might imagine. Here are the steps that you should follow.

Step 1: Prepare the Kegel balls

If you’ve bought Kegel balls online or from a store, you need to make sure that they are as clean as possible before you do anything else. Run them under warm water and wash with a mild soap. Make sure that you rinse and dry the Kegel balls thoroughly.

Step 2: Use Some Lubrication

As you’re going to insert the Kegel ball into your vagina, you might need to make sure that the passage is properly lubricated. You can use any standard brand of lubrication.

Step 3: Insert the Balls

Lie flat on your back, relax your pelvic muscles, and then insert the balls slowly. Don’t force them in if it doesn’t feel comfortable. You need to prioritize your own safety here!

Step 4: Tighten Things Up

Tighten and hold your pelvic muscles so that they grip the equipment. You should be able to feel the walls of your vagina touching the sides of the Kegel ball. Hold this clench for around five seconds (but no longer!) and then release. Relax for five seconds.

Step 5: Repeat

To complete a set of Kegel ball exercises, you should repeat the above technique five to ten times. Don’t push yourself too hard at first! If you feel any discomfort, gently remove the balls, and try again later.

Step 6: Clean the Kegel Balls (Again!)

Of course, the final thing that you need to do is clean the Kegel balls again. Follow the same process that you went through at the start of the guide. Make sure that the Kegel balls are as clean as possible before storing them away.

Pro Tip: Once you’ve mastered all of the above, it might be time to take things to a whole new level. Using weighted Kegel balls (rather than the regular ones) could be the answer. This adds more pressure to your workout, and maximizes the benefits of Kegels as well.

Tips for Getting the Most from a Kegel Workout

Ready to add a Kegel workout to your current fitness routine? If so, there are a few things that you should know before getting started. Here are some of the key tips that should help you to get the greatest benefits of Kegels.

Combine Your Kegel Workout with Regular Exercise

woman running in nature

If you want to maximize the benefits of kegels, you should do some additional exercise on top. Your overall fitness levels matter when it comes to how effective a Kegel workout is. Experts recommend that you combine your Kegels with other forms of activity and exercise so that you get the best results.[3] If you don’t already have one, start a regular exercise routine!

Try Different Techniques (and Find What Works for You!)

woman lying on a yoga mat in front of bay windows doing pelvic exercises

Since there is no resounding theory on how often to engage in Kegels or how long you should hold your clenches, you may want to experiment. Experts have identified Kegel workout protocols ranging from three-second holds to 12-second holds.[4]

It may be worth working alongside a fitness instructor or a medical expert to determine what works for you and your body. Everybody’s pelvic floor is different, which is why it’s crucial that you adapt your technique to suit yourself.

Try Out Different Kegel Equipment

three jade green kegel balls on a white surface with flowers in the background

While we’ve already covered Kegel balls, there are other types of equipment that you might want to use to maximize your benefits of kegels. When you start looking, you should find that there are a whole host of options out there. For example, the Myself Kegel Pelvic Muscle Trainer uses the top technology to help keep your muscles in check. If you’re a smartphone user, there are also pieces of gear that connect to an app. The G Ball Kegel Training System is an example that you might want to check out. Take the time to see what options you have and figure out what works for you.

Schedule Your Kegel Exercises Regularly

calendar schedule with coffee, a pencil, pink notepads, and a phone on a white table

As with any form of exercise, you won’t reap the full benefits of Kegels unless you do them regularly. Again, there is no conclusive answer as to how often you should engage in these activities. A safe bet is to make time for them on a weekly basis. For example, you could do a few sets every other day or even every single day.

Try Pelvic Exercises Whenever and Wherever You Want

young blonde woman sitting on a bus doing a kegel workout

One of the best things about a Kegel workout is that you can do it without anybody knowing. The muscles that you’re engaging are not visible to anybody else. That means that you can practice them whenever and wherever you want. Fitting these pelvic exercises into your schedule could not be easier! Whether you’re on the bus or in the office, you can literally do them whenever you feel the urge. It might help to set a reminder on your smartphone so you don’t forget.

Focus, Focus, Focus!

woman lying on a yoga mat focused in her exercise

The key to maximizing your benefits of Kegels is to focus. Don’t let your mind lapse while you’re engaging in these pelvic exercises. It’s not worth it. Instead, you need to pay close attention to what you’re doing and make sure that your Kegel muscles are in play. If they are not, you need to adjust your technique accordingly.

What Now?

Now that you’ve got the basics covered, why not get started? Adding a Kegel workout to your fitness regime doesn’t have to be difficult. So long as you follow the advice here, you should have no problem getting things right to experience the benefits of Kegels. What’s more, you might just find that doing these exercises regularly offers you some unexpected benefits.

Of course, if you have any problems or aren’t sure whether you’re working the right muscles, there’s only one thing for it. Visit a medical professional and speak to them about how to perfect your pelvic exercises. Easy!

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