How to do Kegel Exercises that Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor

How to do Kegel Exercises that Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor


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. Okay. So let’s summarize what we’ve done today.
We’ve talked about the location of your pelvic floor muscles, inside your pelvis. We’ve also
talked about some strategies to finding your pelvic floor muscles. We’ve talked about using
your finger on your perineum to actually feel a lifting sensation. We’ve talked about trying
to use your hands on the front of your pelvis and trying to feel a gentle tightening feeling,
(a tightening in and around the front part of your pelvic floor.) Very finally, I showed
you how to actually feel the muscles inside your vagina. So once again, it’s a matter of practicing
regularly and finding out which technique works best for you. You’ll find that after
practicing using these techniques you should no longer need to use them as often or frequently
when you’re practicing, and you’ll start to feel the pelvic floor muscles working without
using those techniques at all. Practice makes perfect. Here’s to your healthy pelvic floor with lots
of pelvic floor practice.