Kegel exercises are sets of targeted muscle contractions performed with the aim of strengthening your pelvic floor muscles; a sling shaped group of muscle tissue that runs between your pubic bone in the front to your tailbone in the back and provides support for organs such as the bladder, small intestines, rectum and uterus.
Pregnancy plus vaginal and C-section deliveries can damage or weaken pelvic floor muscles but for men and women, other factors such as abdominal surgery, obesity, genetic factors, contact sports and the general ageing process can cause stress on the pelvic floor muscles leading to issues with incontinence and affect sexual function through decreased sensitivity, control and performance.
How to get started with Kegel exercises
First you need to identify your pelvic floor muscles. The easiest way for all genders is to stop your urination mid-stream. You should be able to feel your muscles in and around your bladder, anus and vagina (if you have one) tighten and move up. N.B. This exercise is useful for helping you find your pelvic floor muscles but stopping peeing midstream isn’t something to make a habit of as it can cause issues over time.
If that doesn’t work for you, you could also try pretending that you’re trying to hold in wind or if you’ve got a vagina, insert a finger and try and squeeze it. You’ll know if you’ve found the right muscles because you should feel the muscles contract and lift while your legs, buttocks and tummy should remain relaxed.
From there it’s a matter of contracting and releasing the muscles for a few seconds. It’s recommended that you perform these exercises in around 2-4 sets of 10 spread out throughout the day and gradually work up to 10 second contractions and relaxations. They’re simple and stealthy exercises; no one can see you doing them so you can slip them in when you’re waiting at traffic lights, in line at the checkout or sitting at your desk.
Eggs and Weights
For people with vaginas, there are products to help you condition your pelvic floor muscles. Weighted balls and eggs are a great option as after insertion, the resistance they provide means you need to focus on and tighten your pelvic floor muscles to hold them in. It can also feel very pleasurable when you squeeze them and they're convenient; you can wear them for minutes to hours three to four times a week while get on with your daily routine.
Traditional Kegel balls and eggs generally come in sets allowing you to start out with a single lighter ball or egg and move up to a heavier single one or pair. There is a growing range of powered Kegel trainers on the market with a range of useful features such as biofeedback to help you monitor and track of your progress as well as apps which offer individualised and guided training programs via Bluetooth.
We strongly recommend when choosing a Kegel exerciser product that you consider the materials it’s made of. Products made of body safe, non porous and non-reactive materials such as silicone, aluminium or glass. Retractable leads or harnesses are also a good option for easy retrieval. We also recommend the use of a quality water based lubricant. All our products come with instructions about insertion, placement and progression through weights but if you have any questions, please feel free to ask us.
Find out range of Kegel exercisers here.