So to start off – what is a kegel? Very simply, it is the contraction and relaxation of your pelvic floor. They are very small isolated movements and alone, their effectiveness is quite limited but there are small things we can add to them to make them far more effective and functional.
The great thing about kegels is you can literally do them anywhere and building them into your daily routine will make you more likely to do them! If you are pre-mama or new mama, do 10 fast kegels and 3 slow kegels, 3 times a day (I do them while brushing my teeth in the morning and evening then for a minute after my daily workout).
I’m sure we have all heard that you should practise kegels while doing a wee and stopping it mid flow, while this is half of the correct movement, (and it is ok to do it to check you are doing it correctly), it shouldn’t be practised like this daily because it increases the risk of getting a UTI.
How to do a fast kegel
- Sit or stand up straight.
- Take a deep breath in and feel your chest rise and your tummy expand, exhale and feel your chest falling, your tummy return to normal and your abs lightly engaged. Repeat the inhalation.
- This time on the exhale, imagine you are trying to stop a wee and a fart from coming out. Visualise the coccyx at the back and the pubis at the front coming together and lifting the entire pelvic floor. Hold for 1-3 seconds and relax the whole area as you inhale.
- Repeat 10 times.
How to do a slow kegel
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 above.
- This time on the exhale, imagine you are trying to stop a wee and a fart from coming out. Visualise the coccyx at the back and the pubis at the front coming together and lifting the entire pelvic floor. Hold for 10 seconds and relax the whole area as you inhale.
- Repeat 3 times.
Add pre-tension to your kegels
Sitting or standing up straight, put something between your knees (can be literally anything, a pair of socks or a rolled up towel work well) and squeeze your knees together and then do your kegels.
When to engage the core and pelvic floor
To make your workouts as effective as possible, you need to engage your core and pelvic floor. You do this by doing the following two steps:
- Make a ‘sssss’ sound – Before you start each exercise, engage your core by putting your hands on your tummy and making a ‘sssss’ sound. Now hold this slight tension for the duration of the exercise.
- Exert on the exhale – Inhale as you move with gravity, then on the exhale, exert yourself (go against gravity) and squeeze your core and pelvic floor (kegel), relax on the inhale and repeat.
- For example, with a squat, you inhale as you bend your legs, then on the exhale straighten your legs and squeeze your core and especially your pelvic floor.
Doing these two things will make even the simplest of exercises effective.
No sweat mama, you’ve got this <3