I first heard of Kegel exercises when my friends started having babies. We were in the car heading back home from the bar and the subject got around to all the stuff that goes on with your body when you’re pregnant and the lack of urinary control came up. While my friend was describing Kegels, it became very quiet in the car as we realized we were all doing them. Simply put: Kegel exercises are the tightening and releasing of the PC muscle, which is short for the pubococcygeal muscle. Starting at the pubic bone and stretching to the tailbone, it surrounds and supports the internal urinary and sexual organs.
Strengthening this muscle isn’t just for women; men can improve their orgasms and increase ejaculatory control. Doing Kegel exercises cannot only prevent or treat pregnancy incontinence, they can make birth itself easier, because once you have practiced exercising your pelvic floor muscles; you’ll know how to release them. Many women who do Kegel exercises report enhanced sensitivity during intercourse, and many of their partners claim greater pleasure as well.
To locate your pelvic floor muscles, try to stop your urine flow midstream. If you can do it easily and quickly, your pelvic floor is in pretty good shape. If you can’t, you’ll find a few weeks of Kegels will work wonders. Another way to locate these muscles is to try to clench them around two fingers inserted into the vagina, or around your partner’s penis during intercourse. Kegel Sex Toys and Weights are Available
KEGEL VARIATIONS TO PRACTICE
- Stop and start. Attempt to stop and start your urine flow four or five times as you urinate. This beginner exercise is a bit tricky because you need to use only the pelvic floor muscles, without assistance from your thigh and lower abdominal muscles. Think of it as “winking” your vagina.
- Reps. Contract and release your pelvic floor muscles. Start with ten repetitions four times a day and work up to fifty reps four times a day. This exercise is great to squeeze in (no pun intended) during TV commercials or when someone on the phone puts you on hold.
- Holding. Contract your pelvic floor muscles for a count of five, then release. Repeat ten times. Gradually increase the length of time you keep the muscles tensed.
The elevator. This exercise takes some concentration, but the results are fantastic. Your vagina is a muscular tube, with the sections arranged like rings one on top of another. Imagine each section as a different “floor” of a building, and that you are moving an elevator up and down by tensing each section, getting progressively higher. Start by slowly bringing the elevator up to the second floor and holding for a second, then move up to the third, and so on, until you get to the fifth floor. Hold. Now bring the elevator down, floor-by-floor, “resting” at each floor, to the first floor (the starting point). Then make a trip to the basement, where your pelvic floor is completely relaxed.
The Wave. Some of the pelvic floor muscles are arranged in a sort of extended figure-eight pattern (like an eight with three loops instead of two). One of the loops is around your urethra, one around your vagina, and one around your anus. A good Kegel exercise is to contract these muscles from front to back, and release from back to front.
Positioning. Once you become proficient at Kegel exercises, try them in a variety of positions — lying down, sitting up, squatting, tailor sitting, on all fours.
Kegels are also for men. In men this exercise lifts up the testicles and strengthens the cremaster muscle as well as the anal sphincter.
- Tighten your urinary flow muscles as if you wanted to stop urination.
- Hold those muscles tight as you count to 10.
- Hold this position while also tightening your anal muscles to another count of 10.
- Do a set of ten repetitions three times a day.
Once again please check with your physician before attempting any exercise program.