The 11 Best Kegel Exercises to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor

Rate this post

featured-img

Whether you’re male or female, you can enhance your sexual health with Kegel exercises. Here are 11 pelvic floor exercises you can do right at home.

When most of us think about strengthening our muscles, the pelvic floordoesn’t usually come to mind. However, a strong pelvic floor is vital for both women and men.

What is the Pelvic Floor?

One of the best ways to begin to strengthen the pelvic floor is through Kegel exercises. These involve repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor, which act as a support system for your pelvic organs. This includes the bladder, bowel and urine tube, the anus, and in women, the uterus and vagina. Weakness of the pelvic floor can lead to issues with sexual health, urinary incontinence, and the inability to control the bowels or bladder.

Can you spare 10 minutes a day? Then you can do this 7-Day Paleo Weight Loss Bodyweight Workout Challenge!
Click here to get your FREE copy!

Roughly 24% of US women are affected by a pelvic floor disorder at some point in their lives, which is most commonly caused by age, pregnancy, childbirth, aging, and weight gain. (12) In men, pelvic floor disorders are most commonly caused by age, weight gain, frequent surgery, or injury. (3) Kegel exercises work by strengthening the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle, which supports the pelvic floor and is activated in order to stop the flow of urine. (4)

The strengthening of this muscle provides benefits to women and men like: (56)

  • Prevents urinary incontinence
  • Protection against pelvic organ prolapse
  • Greater sexual health for women, including more intense orgasm, increased lubrication, and heightened sensation
  • Better sex for men, including increased stamina and treatment of erectile dysfunction

How to Do Basic Kegels

For best results, practice Kegels daily. They can be done anywhere. Begin with holding your Kegels for three seconds at a time, then see if you can work up to ten-second holds. (7)

  1. Sit in a chair with your feet resting on the floor. Relax all of the muscles of your thighs, buttocks, and abdomen.
  2. Squeeze the muscles around your anus, as if you are trying to stop from passing gas (ahem). Hold for a count of three, then relax the muscle again. Make sure that you are not squeezing your glute muscles.
  3. Now, imagine you are trying to stop a stream of urine. You should feel a squeeze and inward lift of your genitals. Hold for three seconds, then release the muscle again.
  4. Now combine steps two and three, squeezing the ring of muscle around your anus and feeling the inward lift of the vagina at the same time. Hold for three seconds, then release both muscles.

Cautions

  1. Don’t overdo it. Fatiguing the pelvic floor can make it unable to fulfill its functions.
  2. If you feel pain in your abdomen or back after practicing your exercise, you are most likely doing them incorrectly. Make sure that while practicing your Kegels, your back, buttocks, abdomen, and thighs remain relaxed.
  3. If you have trouble finding your pelvic floor, feel any pain during these exercises, or don’t notice any improvements, make sure to check in with your doctor.

11 Kegel Exercises You Can Do at Home

Basic Kegels aren’t the only way to strengthen your pelvic floor. Exercises that strengthen the hips, glutes, and abdominals are also beneficial because they provide stability by strengthening the surrounding muscles.

Use the basic Kegels as you practice the following exercises by remembering to squeeze both sets of muscles each time the instructions say to “contract your pelvic floor”. Perform these exercises three to five times per week for maximum results.

Sit ’n Squeeze | 5 reps

Sit-’n-Squeeze.jpg

This exercise combines a simple Kegel exercise with deep breathing to help you to fully engage the pelvic floor.

  1. Sit in a chair with your feet resting on the floor and your palms face down in your lap. Relax all of the muscles of your thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. Take a deep breath in, filling up your belly and your chest completely, then take an open mouth exhale and let the breathe completely go.
  2. Take another deep inhale and exhale. Once all of the breath is out of your lungs, contract your pelvic floor as tightly as you can by tightening your PC muscle up and in from first your vagina or penis and then your anus.
  3. Hold this contraction as tightly as you can for as long as you can, then release. Make sure to continue to breathe as you hold the contraction.
  4. Repeat four more times.

Kegel Bridge | 5 reps

Kegel-Bridge.jpg

This exercise combines a simple bridge with Kegel exercises to strengthen the glutes, lower back, abdominal muscles, and the pelvic floor.

  1. Begin lying down on your back with your knees bent and your feet hips-width distance apart. Place your arms down alongside your body with your palms facing down.
  2. Take a full inhale then as you exhale, slowly lift your hips up towards the sky to come into a bridge position.
  3. Once you’ve exhaled all of the air out of your lungs, hold your bridge position as you lift your pelvic floor up and in.
  4. Hold for three seconds, then release your pelvic floor first. Slowly come out of your bridge on an inhale.
  5. Repeat for a total of five repetitions.

Side Clamshell | 10 reps

Side-Clamshell.jpg

This exercise strengthens the outer hips, inner thighs, and glutes to provide stability to the pelvic floor.

  1. Lie down on one side with your hips stacked and your knees bent. Rest your head on your bottom arm and place the top hand on the floor in front of you.
  2. Engage your abs and pelvic floor muscles by drawing your navel up and in towards your spine. Keep your feet together as you separate your knees and open your top knee like a clamshell.
  3. Stretch the knee out as far as you comfortably can and pause for a moment, then slowly come back up to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 10 reps.

Sumo Squat with Pelvic Floor Lift | 12 reps

Sumo-Squat-with-Pelvic-Floor-Lift.jpg

This exercise strengthens the hips, glutes, legs, core, and the pelvic floor.

  1. Start standing with your feet wider than your hips with your toes pointing out at a 45- degree angle. Bring your hands to heart center and tilt your pelvis slightly under so that your tailbone points down. Draw your navel in.
  2. Inhale to sit your hips back and down into a squat. Keep your back straight and chest lifted. Pause at the bottom for a count of three, then exhale to squeeze your pelvic floor up and in as you stand all the way back up.
  3. Repeat for 12 reps. Over time, your squat should get even lower.

Plank | 30-60 sec

Plank-30-60-sec.jpg

This basic core exercise strengthens the abs but also gets deep down into the pelvic floor.

  1. Begin lying on your belly with your legs straight back behind you. Prop yourself up on your forearms. Spread your fingers wide and bring your forearms parallel to one another. Tuck your toes under and engage your abs and thighs.
  2. Inhale to pick your hips up off the floor as your press into your forearms. Bring your hips parallel to your shoulders.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds as you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. At the end of every exhale, engage your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles.

Bird Dog | 8 reps per side

Bird-Dog.jpg

This exercise strengthens the abs, backs, glutes, and hips to provide stability to the pelvic floor.

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a table-top position. Stack your shoulders over your wrists and spread your fingers wide. Stack your hips over your knees and keep your toes untucked.
  2. Inhale as you reach your right arm straight forward and your left leg straight back. Lift your right hand up in line with your right shoulder and turn your palm inward. Lift your left foot in line with your left hip and flex the foot.
  3. Hold for a slow count of three, then release back to the starting position.
  4. Inhale to switch sides, lifting your left hand up and your right leg up. Hold for a slow count of three, then release back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for eight reps on each side.

Knee Folds | 8 reps per side

Knee-Folds.jpg

This exercise engages the pelvic floor to strengthen the inner thigh and hip muscles.

  1. Start lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Bring your arms down alongside your body with your palms facing down.
  2. Inhale to lower your right knee to the ground, opening up the right hip and thigh.
  3. Exhale to engage the pelvic floor and lift the right knee back up to the starting position.
  4. Inhale to lower your left knee to the ground, opening up the right hip and thigh.
  5. Exhale to engage the pelvic floor and lift the right knee back up to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for eight reps on each side.

Toe Taps | 8 reps per side

Toe-Taps.jpg

This exercise works deep into the core muscles to strengthen the pelvic floor.

  1. Start lying on your back with your knees bent, your feet off the ground, and your shins parallel to the ground.
  2. Inhale to lower your right toes to tap the ground, then exhale to engage the pelvic floor and lift the leg back up to the starting position.
  3. Repeat with the left toes, inhaling to lower and exhaling to bring back up. Remember to engage the pelvic floor.
  4. Repeat for eight reps on each side.

Split Table Top | 8 reps per side

Split-Table-Top.jpg

This exercise strengthens the inner thighs and hips and gets deep down into the core to the strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

  1. Start lying on your back with your knees bent, your feet off the ground, and your shins parallel to the ground.
  2. Inhale to lower the right leg towards the ground, opening up the right hip. Pause, then exhale to engage the pelvic floor and lift the leg back up to the starting position. Repeat on the left side.
  3. Continue switching legs until you have completed eight reps on each side.

Dead Bug Crunch | 8 reps per side

Dead-Bug-Crunch.jpg

This exercise strengthens the abs, hip flexors, and the pelvic floor.

  1. Start lying on your back with your knees bent, your feet off the ground, and your shins parallel to the ground. Reach your arms up straight above you, pointing your fingertips towards the sky.
  2. Take an inhale as you straighten your right leg to hover two to four inches above the ground, and at the same time reach your right arm straight back behind you to hover two to four inches above the ground.
  3. Exhale to engage your pelvic floor and lift back up to the starting position.
  4. Switch sides, then alternate for eight reps on each side.

Single Leg Circles | 16 reps per side

Single-Leg-Circles.jpg

This utilizes the pelvic floor to stabilize the core throughout the exercise.

  1. Start lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet together on the ground. Bring your arms down alongside your body with your palms facing down.
  2. Lift your right leg straight up towards the sky. Take a full inhale, then exhale to circle your leg clockwise.
  3. Repeat eight times, then take eight counterclockwise circles.
  4. Place your right foot back on the ground, then switch legs.

The-11-Best-Kegel-Exercises-to-Strengthen-Your-Pelvic-Floor-infog.jpg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*