The Ultimate Guide For Pelvic Floor Strengthening *

-This post is in collaboration-

It can take approximately 4 to 6 weeks to tighten your pelvic floor muscles. However, how long it takes to feel results will depend on your age, the current strength of your pelvic floor, your lifestyle and of course how often you do your pelvic floor exercises.

The best part is that you can do a number of exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor at any time or location… so there are no excuses not to be doing them. 

So, if you’re looking to tighten things up down there, here are 4 exercises and techniques that are proven to help. 

  1. Kegel exercises are your new best friend 

Kegel exercises, sometimes known as Kegels, are essentially squeeze and relaxation exercises that tighten the tissues in your pelvic floor. These are all the muscles that help to support the womb, bladder, and uterus. 

To get started: 

  • Locate your pelvic floor muscles

Finding and activating your pelvic floor muscles is essential to performing Kegels correctly. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, close your eyes and visualise the muscles that stop urination in midstream. The muscles should feel as though they ‘lift and squeeze’ at the same time.

  • Nail the technique

To do Kegels, consider standing up and imagine trying to hold in wind and wee at the same time. That is the area you want to be contracting. Try it for three seconds at a time, then relax for a count of three.

  • Maintain your concentration and focus

For the best results, only contract your pelvic floor muscles. Avoid flexing the muscles in your belly, thighs, or buttocks. Try not to hold your breath - instead, breathe freely during the exercises.

  • Repeat 2 to 3 sessions times a day

If you can, aim for at least 2 to 3 sessions of 10 to 15 repetitions each every day.

The Fast Kegel Vs The Slow Kegel

There are two techniques you can use when performing a kegel exercise - the fast kegel and the slow kegel

The slow kegel helps to increase the strength of your pelvic floor and help your muscles to hold back your urine. Slowly lift and squeeze your pelvic muscles as hard as you can, holding the squeeze for 10-15 seconds before relaxing for 5 seconds. 

Fast kegels on the other hand help your pelvic floor to cope with pressure and work the muscles that quickly shut off the flow of urine, for example when you cough, sneeze, jump or laugh. Lift your pelvic muscles up and squeeze for 1 second, then relax for 1 second. Repeat 10-15 times. 

  1. Invest in some kegel weights

Once you’ve perfected this method of kegel exercises, you can supplement your routine with kegel weights, just as you would with any other exercise at the gym! 

Kegel weights enhance your performance by giving your muscles an object to contract around, so you can literally feel the weight being squeezed and lifted if you’re doing it correctly. They also provide weight resistance training, meaning you will strengthen and tone faster.

To use a kegel weight, you want to start with the obvious - empty your bladder and bowl and wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water. Then, find a comfortable position such as a leg raised on the toilet or bath and begin to insert the device (as if you were inserting a tampon). Insert it as high as is comfortable - they will move down to a natural resting place. The cord should remain outside your body. 

You can use lubricant to assist you if needed, and it's always recommended that you wear pants for extra security. 

When it's time to remove it, slowly pull on the cord during an outward breath (do not bear down with your pelvic floor) and wash thoroughly. 

  1. Do lying bridges

Lying bridges are also proven to help strengthen your pelvic floor, as well as strengthening core and buttock muscles. 

To practise a bridge, get into position by lying down on your back, bending your knees and placing your feet flat on the floor hip-width apart. Let your arms fall to the sides with palms facing downward. Contract your buttocks and pelvic floor to lift your glutes off the ground. Hold this position for 3-8 seconds, then relax your muscles to lower yourself back to the ground. 

Repeat up to 10 times and practise this exercise again twice later in the day.

  1. Squats can help too 

That's not all! Similar to bridge exercises, squats also strengthen major muscle groups that surround and support the pelvis. Narrow and shallow squats, rather than wide-legged or deep squats, engage the pelvic floor and allow you to engage the proper muscles.

Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart, keeping them flat on the floor. Bend at the knees to bring your butt toward the floor, going only as low as you are comfortable. Keep your back straight and lean slightly forward, with your knees in line with your toes. Focus on tightening your glutes and pelvic floor while returning to a standing position. 

Repeat this exercise to do a total of 10 reps.

Written by Kate, on behalf of Secret Whispers