Common Kegel Mistakes
Do Kegels Work for You? 5 Mistakes You Could Be Making
The benefits of pelvic floor muscle exercise are getting more and more well-known. Many women now take a few minutes each day to strengthen and protect their pelvic floor, helping themselves to avoid problems like incontinence and prolapse as well as improving their sex lives. But what if you’ve given kegels a go and not seen any benefit? The pelvic floor is complicated and it’s easy to make a mistake without realising – we’ve got a list of the 5 most common mistakes we’ve come across and how to fix them…
1: Bearing Down Instead of Lifting
If you can feel yourself pushing downwards when you do a kegel then you could be causing yourself more harm than good! This will strain your pelvic floor muscles so that they become overstretched and weaken even more. If you’ve been doing your pelvic floor exercises but your symptoms are getting worse then you need to correct your technique ASAP!
A proper kegel should feel as if you are lifting your muscles upwards. A good way to teach yourself how to do this is to imagine you are trying to stop peeing mid-flow. It can be easier to do this while sitting in a chair or on an exercise ball. Try to lift your vagina and anus away from the surface you’re sitting on without moving your pelvis; this is the right kind of movement.
2: Not Activating Every Muscle
Your pelvic floor includes your urethra, vagina and anus. To do a proper kegel, you need to be contracting the muscles around all three of these openings at once. Similarly, you may think that you’re doing a kegel when you aren’t. Quite often people squeeze their bottoms thinking that they are doing a kegel. But while this will probably give you a nice pert bum, it’s doing nothing for your pelvic floor!
To fix this, make gentle contractions to begin with and try to isolate your pelvic muscles. If you feel your buttocks starting to contract, release your muscles and try again. If you’re having a lot of trouble finding the right muscles, then you’ll benefit from using a Kegel8 Ultra 20 Electronic Pelvic Toner. It will exercise exactly the right muscle group for you, with 90% of your pelvic floor stimulated compared to 40% or less with manual exercises.
3: Contracting but Not Relaxing
You need to make sure that you totally relax your muscles after contracting them to do a complete kegel. If you don’t manage to do this properly then you are risking muscle spasms and fatigue. This can also end up causing muscles that are too tight – this can lead to unpleasant conditions like pelvic pain disorder and constipation.
To make sure you are fully releasing your pelvic floor muscles, make sure you are breathing deeply while you exercise. Contract while counting slowly to 5 and breathing in, then breathe out to a count of 5 while you relax your muscles. Deep breathing helps you to fully activate your muscles and make sure they don’t get tight.
4: Bad Posture
Most of us don’t give our posture a second thought, which often leads us to slouch. As well as causing back pain, slouching has a really negative effect on your pelvic floor. It’s been proven that sitting up straight while you do kegels makes them 24% more effective. This is because when your torso is properly aligned everything is much more supported and your pelvic floor can contract more efficiently.
Sit up straight while you kegel – make sure your bum is at the back of your chair and your spine is lengthened. A posture cushion can help you to do this. Our Kegel8 Pelvic Floor Exercise Wedge Cushion has been specially designed with kegels in mind. It even has a space for your Kegel8 probe!
5: Bracing Too Much
If you are intentionally contracting your abdominal muscles while you kegel then you’re probably not feeling much benefit. Activating your core muscles too much can strain your pelvic floor, particularly if you’ve already had a prolapse. It can make your pelvic floor muscles spasm, causing pelvic pain.
Try to focus on just contracting your pelvic floor muscles when you kegel. You will probably feel your abs contracting while you do this. A little bit of an abdominal contraction is fine and will help keep your muscles strong, but it shouldn’t be an intentional movement. If you’re having trouble avoiding this type of strain, a Kegel8 Biofeedback Pelvic Trainer is a good idea as it will ensure that you are just activating your pelvic floor muscles and not your abs.