Kegel Exercises For Strengthening The Pelvic Floor Muscles

There is nothing better than these if you want to strengthen your pelvic floor.

Medically Reviewed by Madhu Sharma, RD
By Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist

Poor bladder control is a common problem in women (1). Childbirth, obesity, and chronic constipation leads to weak pelvic floor muscles (2), (3), (4). This causes uncontrolled urine leakage while coughing, sneezing, laughing, and/or exercising (4). Weak pelvic floor muscles also cause pelvic organ prolapse (5). Thankfully, Kegel exercises can help strengthen pelvic floor muscles (5), (6), (7).

This article provides a step-by-step guide to 10 Kegel exercises for women. But, before we begin, let’s quickly take a look at where the pelvic floor muscles are located, their function, and benefits of Kegel exercises. It will help you do the Kegels more effectively. Scroll down.

What Is The Pelvic Floor Muscle? What Is Its Function?

Pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that resemble a hammock. They are present at the bottom of the pelvic area and are attached from the front of the pelvis (pubic bone) to the lower back (coccyx or tailbone) (8).

The pelvic floor muscles hold the uterus, bladder, and rectum in place. It has two openings – a vaginal opening and an anal opening. The pelvic floor muscles contract to control the passing of urine, stool, or gas. When the muscles become weak, they fail to contract, leading to the passing of small amounts of urine (9), (10).

Doing Kegel exercises regularly has the following benefits.

Kegel Exercise Benefits

  • Kegel exercises are best to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Kegel exercises improve bladder control.
  • Kegel exercises are useful for women dealing with vaginal and uterine prolapse.
  • Reduces fecal inconsistency.
  • Improves sexual functioning.

 Tip: Do not contract your outer glutes or buttcheeks, abdomen, and thigh muscles. You should be able to feel the contraction in your anal and vaginal area and an upward movement when you contract the muscle.

With these points in mind, let’s begin with the exercises.

10 Kegel Exercises To Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscles

1. Lying Kegels

Lying kegels exercise

Shutterstock

How To Do
  1. Lie down comfortably on a mat. Place a foam roller or a pillow under your head. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Relaxed and take 2-3 deep breaths. Do NOT push your lower back down against the floor.
  3. Gently contract the muscles in your vaginal and anal area. You should be able to feel an internal pull.
  4. Remember, the pelvic floor muscle is an internal muscle. Your hips will not rise, and your abs will not contract too much.
  5. Hold the contraction for a second if you are a beginner. Hold it for three seconds if you are comfortable enough.
  6. Fully release the contraction and relax.
  7. Repeat 2 more times.
Sets & Reps

3 sets of 3 reps. Do it thrice a day.

2. Sitting Kegels

Sitting kegels exercise

Shutterstock

How To Do 
  1. Sit on an exercise ball or a chair. Sit upright and place your feet flat on the floor and knees wide apart. Place your palms on the ball for support.
  2. Relax, take 2-3 deep breaths. Roll your shoulders back and keep your chest up.
  3. Gently contract the muscles in your vaginal and anal area. You should be able to feel an internal pull.
  4. Hold the contraction for 1-3 seconds and release it.
  5. Repeat 2 more times.
Sets & Reps

3 sets of 3 reps. Do it thrice a day.

 3. Lifted Kegels

How To Do
  1. Place two pillows below your hips. Place your legs a little wide apart, keep your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Gently contract the muscles in your vaginal and anal area. You should be able to feel an internal pull.
  3. Hold the contraction for 1-3 seconds and release it.
  4. Repeat 2 more times.
Sets & Reps

3 sets of 3 reps. Do it at least twice a day.

4. Butterfly Bridge

How To Do
  1. Lie down comfortably on a mat. Bend your knees, keep your feet together but knees wide apart. Place your hands by your side, and palms flat on the floor.
  2. Bring your knees close together and, simultaneously, lift your hips toward the ceiling. Exhale while you do so.
  3. Inhale, place your hips on the floor, and move your knees apart.
Sets & Reps

3 sets of 8 reps. Do this at least once a day.

5. Lying Towel Roll Squeeze

How To Do
  1. Lie down on a mat. You may support your pelvic area by placing two pillows below your hips. Keep your feet together.
  2. Take the towel roll and place it between your knees.
  3. Hold the towel roll with one hand.
  4. Inhale and move your knees apart. Keep your feet together, and do not move the towel roll.
  5. Bring your knees together and gently squeeze the towel roll. Exhale as you do so.
Sets & Reps

2 sets of 10 reps. Do it twice a day.

 6. Lying Bent Knee Leg Circles

How To Do 
  1. Lie down on a mat, bend your knees, and bring them close to your chest. Hold the knees with your hands.
  2. Move both knees in an outward circular motion.
  3. Make sure to breathe in and out as you do this exercise.
Sets & Reps

3 sets of 10 reps. Do this twice a day.

7. Clamshell

How To Do
  1. Lie down on the right side. Place your head on your arm. Bend your knees. Place your left hand below your bustline.
  2. Exhale and lift the left leg without extending it.
  3. Inhale and slowly bring your left leg down.
Sets & Reps

3 sets of 10 reps. Do this twice a day.

8. Lying Frog Stretch

How To Do
  1. Lie down on a mat.
  2. Bend your knees and bring your feet together.
  3. Move your knees apart. Keep your feet together.
  4. You may place two pillows or yoga blocks to support your knees.
  5. Stay in this pose for 20 seconds. Keep breathing and relax.
Sets & Reps

3 sets of 20 seconds hold. Do this twice a day.

 9. Kegel Puppy Pose Stretch

How To Do
  1. Get on all fours. Place your elbows on the mat.
  2. Move back with your knees and walk forward with your hands.
  3. Lower your shoulders and upper back. Your hips will be up toward the ceiling. Feel the stretch in your shoulders.
  4. Hold this pose for 20 seconds. Keep breathing.
Sets & Reps

3 sets of 20 seconds hold. Do this twice a day.

10. Pelvic Frog Squat

How To Do
  1. Get on all fours.
  2. Bring your knees close to your hands.
  3. Support your body weight on your toes and fingertips and lift your knees off the floor.
  4. Push the knees apart. You may place an elbow against each knee to push it apart.
  5. Hold this pose for 10-20 seconds.
Sets & Reps

3 sets of 10-20 seconds hold. Do this twice a day. 

These are the 10 Kegel exercises and stretching for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and reducing urinary and bowel inconsistency. You can see a difference in 3-4 weeks if you do these exercises regularly. Consult your doctor to know if you are activating the right muscles.

Kegel exercises help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and improve bladder control. Maintaining proper posture and following the reps is important in doing these exercises. Lying, sitting, lifted variations or butterfly bridge and bent knee curls, including any of these exercises in your daily workout routine would help you feel a difference in 3-4 weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is kegel exercise harmful?

No, kegel exercises are not harmful when done properly. However, practicing kegels while urinating may lead to incomplete urination and associated complications. In individuals with an overactive pelvic floor, kegels can worsen the symptoms. If you have a pelvic disorder, it is recommended that you consult a physiotherapist before practicing kegels.

How many kegels should I do per day?

You should aim to do up to 3 sets of 10 to 15 kegels each day.

How long does it take to see results from kegels?

It may take until 12 weeks to see results from kegels.

Sources

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author
Charushila is an ISSA certified Fitness Nutritionist and a Physical Exercise Therapist. Over a span of 5 years, she has... more

Madhu Sharma

(RD)
Madhu Sharma is a member of the National Executive Committee of IDA. She has been associated for almost three decades... more

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