If your doctor or physio has told you to start doing Kegel exercises, you’re in the same boat as many other women and men.
Kegel exercises are a popular way to increase the strength of your pelvic floor, which can help reduce incontinence by tightening up the muscles that keep your organs in place. For women, Kegels can also improve sexual pleasure by relaxing vaginal muscles and increasing blood flow.
The only problem? Kegels aren’t the easiest exercise in the world to do. In fact, many people struggle to even figure out which muscles they need to work!
That’s why we’ve written this article. We’ll walk you through the benefits of strengthening your pelvic floor, explain exactly what Kegel exercises are, and present a simple, safe alternative to the trickiness of doing Kegels.
Let’s get into it.
The Benefits of Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor
Although almost everyone can benefit from having a stronger pelvic floor, there are two groups in particular who often require pelvic strengthening exercises for medical reasons:
· Older men and women
· Women who have given birth
Older women and women who have given birth often have weaker pelvic floor muscles. Men can have the same problem, particularly if they’ve undergone any kind of prostate surgery.
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is one easy way to correct both incontinence and prolapse. Your pelvic floor holds your bladder, reproductive organs and rectum in place – think of it as a kind of sling made of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue.
When your pelvic floor gets weak, your organs move down and get pressed against each other, often causing conditions like urinary/faecal incontinence and prolapsing. This can result in accidentally dripping/leaking urine and faeces, or cause organs to slip down into your vagina or rectum.
The solution? Tighten up that floor!
The man who evented Kegel exercises found that exercised muscles lose mass four times slower than non-exercised muscles, and also noted that regular contractions of muscles
improves their coordination. Exercising your pelvic floor is a proven way to reduce or even reverse incontinence and prolapse.
Kegels aren’t just for older or postpartum women, either – young women are taking the benefits of Kegels straight to the bedroom. Stronger muscles mean increased blood flow, which can lead to better arousal, and improved muscular control can lead to a tighter grip around your male partners, increasing orgasm potency.
For men, some studies have also shown that stronger pelvic floor muscles can also help correct erectile dysfunction.
What are Kegel exercises?
The benefits of a stronger pelvic floor are pretty awesome, which is exactly why a guy named Arnold Kegel conducted a 15-year study in the 1940s to develop pelvic floor exercises.
These techniques are now known as Kegel exercises.
Kegel exercises involve contracting your pelvic floor. For women, this involves movements like clenching the vagina and clenching the rectum, as though you’re trying to stop peeing or passing wind. For men, it’s more or less the same.
Typically, you’ll want to treat Kegel exercises like any other kind of exercise – do them in reps and sets.
To get started, clench for 3–5 seconds, relax, and repeat. Do this 10 times. Have a break. Go again. Most people will need to do between 30 and 40 exercises per day to be effective, but you can spread them out rather than doing them all at once. Try doing them at your desk, while cooking dinner, or when sitting at traffic lights.
Having trouble? We’re not surprised. Kegel exercises aren’t the easiest thing in the world, even with training, and many people struggle to perform them effectively. They can also be pretty boring!
Luckily, there’s an alternative.
Whole-Body EMS: The Kegel Alternative
Unlike Kegel exercises, whole-body EMS (electro muscular stimulation) is an easy way to strengthen your pelvic floor and reduce incontinence.
Whole-body EMS works by stimulating over 90% of your body’s muscles fibres with electric pulses – this causes your muscles to contract, in the same way they would if you were lifting weights. Unlike the single flex-release contraction of weight-lifting, EMS causes your muscles to contract over 160 times in a single second!
The second benefit of whole-body EMS is that large groups of muscles all contract at the same time, providing a time-efficient workout that exercises your entire body. Various studies have shown that whole-body EMS training is a great alternative to Kegel exercises. It can help strengthen your pelvic floor, and can even strengthen your actual bladder and rectum, further reducing the risk and severity of incontinence.
Whole-body EMS workouts also only take 20 minutes, cutting down on hours of isolated muscle training by working most of the major muscles in your body at once.
Forget about trying to awkwardly clench your vagina and anus when you’re in the car or at the office – just head down to an EMS training centre at lunch, smash out a 20-minute workout, and get back in time for a bite to eat.
The best part? You’ll get fitter and stronger at the same time.
20v has whole-body EMS training centres at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, and at Prahran and Tullamarine in Melbourne. If you think you might need to strengthen your pelvic floor, why don’t you come down and check us out?
Our experienced trainers can walk you through exactly how our EMS machines work, and you can even try a 12-minute trial session to see if it’s right for you. Get in touch with us to book a session – we’ll see you there!
All content and media on 20v.studio is published for informational purposes only, and should not be used as medical or health advice. If you think you may have a health or medical condition, seek advice from a qualified medical professional.