How to do Kegel Exercises that Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
Kegel pelvic floor exercises, Hi, I’m Michelle Kenway and welcome to Pelvic Exercises. Today I’m going to teach you some strategies to find and feel your pelvic floor muscles working. If your pelvic floor muscles are weak (or if you’ve never exercised them before) it can be really hard to know whether you’re actually contracting those muscles at all, or whether you’re doing the exercises correctly. It’s really important that you know how to find the muscles and feel them before you start exercising them.
Before we start doing that, I’d like to show you how to find where your pelvic floor muscles are. This is a pelvis (a female pelvis) just like yours. Just to orientate you, these are your pubic bones at the front, and this is the tail-bone at the back. Underneath is the pelvic outlet. Now your pelvic floor muscles actually sling, like a hammock, between the front bone and the tail-bone, and they’re a supportive hammock in through that area,holding your insides in and helping you with your continence. So they perform a very important role in that area. There’s a couple of layers through that area, and these bones here are the bones that you sit on. You can see that they’re not muscles outside your pelvis; they’re actually inside. They’re not your buttocks. They’re not the inside of your thighs. They’re actually inside, in and around that area where you sit.
All right, now I’d like to show you some techniques, to find and to feel those muscles working. The first technique I’d like to show you is a technique that involves you feeling or using a finger on your perineum, which is the area between your vagina and your anus to actually feel that area of skin lifting as you contract your pelvic floor muscles. A proper pelvic floor contraction feels like a lift and a squeeze inside that area. It feels like tightening and squeezing in through the anus (or your back passage. ) It feels like a lift and squeeze through your vagina, and also it feels like a tightening, squeezing sensation in and around your urethra (or the urine tube) where your urine passes through. So that action happens inside, in that sort of an action. Let’s try and do that and find that feeling by actually touching our perineum. To get yourself comfortable to perform this technique if you lie on your side (and I’ll use a pillow between my legs so I can access that area of my perineum. ) Lying on your side, take your first or second finger and place it on that area of skin between your vagina and anus. You can do this with clothes on (as I’m clothed now) or you can do this directly onto your skin. Now if you feel that area (lying comfortably there, make sure you’ve got a really nice inward curve in your back,) what I want you to do is try and lift and squeeze through your back passage. Try and draw up through your vagina. Try and tighten around the urethra, as you’re feeling that area. What you should feel is that the area of skin above your finger (or that your finger’s resting against) just lifts inwards slightly. Can you feel that as you draw up and in? Can you feel that area just lift inwards just a fraction? Can you keep lifting it? Can you keep going and keep breathing? Keep lifting inside and keep breathing, and slowly lower it right down and fully relax. How did you go? Could you feel those muscles contracting? If you can feel an area lifting, that’s your pelvic floor muscles. If you can feel a bulging, you’re probably not doing the right action. Okay, let’s try again. See if you can feel that area between your vagina and anus lifting up inside. Here we go, ready? And go: Lift it up inside, keep lifting keep lifting keep lifting and squeezing through that area and keep breathing. Slowly, relax it down. That’s definitely an exercise worth practicing. All right, let’s move on to our second strategy to find your pelvic floor muscles. The second technique is to help you find and feel the muscles in and around the front part of your pelvic floor. The area in and around your urine tube (in and around the urethra,) which can often be very hard to find and feel. The first thing you need to do is sit yourself nice and tall, so good posture is very important for pelvic floor exercises. The second thing you need to do is take your hands and place the heel of your hands over those pelvic bones at the front there. Then point your fingers down in the direction of the pubic bones that I showed you before. So you’re resting your hands gently over your abdomen (you can also do this exercise lying down if you prefer, too. ) What you need to do is try and visualize or imagine drawing your fingers together and drawing those bones (of your pelvis) together (the bones underneath your fingers so that they’re moving together. Obviously you can’t move your bones, but try and imagine that you’re actually doing that and you should actually feel your lower abdominal area tightening just a fraction.
Let’s try and do that. Try and feel that area moving, and those bones moving together and that area tightening in and around that area. Can you feel that contraction? Keep holding it. Keep holding it. Can you feel the area around the urethra just tightening a fraction? and relax down. Did you feel a gentle inward movement of your lower abdomen? That tells us that you’re actually contracting those lower deep core muscles, as well as some of your pelvic floor muscles. Let’s try that one more time. Hands over your hip bones (your pelvic bones,) fingers over those pubic bones, and try and imagine drawing your hands together, but using your muscles. You can also imagine trying to stop the flow of urine, so if you’re drawing up and squeezing through your urethra (that urine passage,) try and hold that there. Keep holding it. Keep holding. Keep holding and relax down, and rest. Okay, how are you going with all those techniques? Going okay? Let’s start to try and use a third technique which involves actually feeling the muscles inside your vagina. This is a technique that physiotherapists use to assist and feel how your muscles are working, and to check and see whether your muscles are strengthening as well. So, if you imagine my hand is my vagina, the back vaginal wall is the wall that’s closest to the rectum (or back passage) and the sides of the vagina on the circumference of my hand. So use one or two fingers (lubricated,) and you can try inserting them (so if I insert them this way, so you can see what I’m doing,) in and against the vagina to a depth of about three to four centimeters. What you’ll feel is the back wall of the vagina just tightening and lifting slightly forward against your fingers. It’s just a very very gentle movement (so you’ll see just a gentle lifting forward of that back wall as you lift and squeeze in through your pelvic floor muscles) and down. If you separate your fingers apart, what you should feel is the sidewalls squeezing together against your fingers, so a gentle squeeze, inside. You’re looking for both actions to happen at the same time as you contract your pelvic floor muscles (the back wall of your vagina moving slightly forward, and the sidewalls actually squeezing towards the mid-line. ) Now, the best position to practice this is is lying on your side once again.
So let’s go back into side-lying (that first position we were in,) coming down, once again put a pillow between your legs. Lying right down. Obviously then, you’d be disrobed in a private place. Lubricate one or two fingers, and actually use those fingers inside the vagina, against the back wall or the side walls. Try to draw up and in and try and feel your vagina tightening and lifting and squeezing as you contract those pelvic floor muscles. Remember once again it’s important to have an inward curve in your back and keep breathing normally as you hold your pelvic floor muscle contraction. Let’s try that together if you’re trying that now. Inserting your fingers into the vagina,and try to lift and squeeze inside (keep breathing and lifting,) breathing and lifting, breathing and lifting and then relaxing fully and letting the muscles completely relax back to their comfortable resting position. Remember it’s important to take a moment to rest and recover your muscles before trying again. You’re trying to feel that lifting and squeezing action(once again, not a bearing down action. ) You’re not feeling your bottom muscles tightening. You’re not feeling your inside thigh muscles tightening. All that exercise, all that action is taking place inside your pelvis.