Put it this way, we all know that weight training can strengthen muscles and bones (and add aerobic exercise for cardiovascular health). But what about those special muscles “down there” that play such a critical role in sexual health while literally holding up our internal organs? 

Yep, we’re talking about those pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder, vagina, and rectum. You might not give them much thought, but these guys must contract and relax during sex, urination, and bowel movements. If they’re giving out on you, all those things can start being problematic. 

The headline is that pelvic floor muscles should be strengthened ASAP to help childbirth and avoid pesky leakages while coughing or sneezing later in life. Plus, they are your foundation for better sex. So, we need to keep them strong to reap all these benefits. Kegels are an important exercise in the quest for a stable pelvic floor, and a great preventative approach for a variety of issues that women are susceptible to post-birth and during menopause. In other words, they are your pelvic floor’s BFF. Let’s dive into what Kegels are, their benefits, and the best way to do them.

What Are the Benefits of Kegels?

Kegels are pelvic floor muscle contraction exercises. Simple! They are used to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, and this can improve your sexual health. Best of all, these exercises are an effective, viable way to increase pelvic floor strength, and it can all be done for free, at home, in a matter of minutes while you wash the dishes. Here are some of their benefits:

  • A few daily squeezes with the right muscles will manage or prevent physical issues like incontinence
  • Kegels effectively strengthen your pelvic floor, which (you should know) helps prevent pelvic organ prolapse
  • Another nice to know is that they increase blood circulation to the pelvic floor and vagina for better and yummier sexual arousal
  • In with the bargain, Kegels can increase vaginal lubrication during sensual encounters.
  • And the big one, or should we say the Big O! Oh yes, they can also allow you to reach orgasm more easily

Before we head deeper in this whole Kegel topic, hold up. We need to highlight that the scary one, which is that pelvic organ prolapse, is a lot more common than we think. One study cited that about 40% of its participants experienced some degree of prolapse. These prolapses occur due to the vaginal tissue naturally weakening over time as collagen and elasticity degrade. And if you’re thinking this is a woman’s or more specifically, a mum’s problem, think again. This all still applies to everyone, men included. A weak pelvic floor can contribute to incontinence whether you experience childbirth or not.

Now we know Kegels help prevent some really undesirable physical conditions later in life and can improve our sex life, we’re all in! But what age should you start doing Kegels? Think of this like an anti-aging skincare routine and you have your answer, which is – it’s never too early! Now Kegels are on your radar, there isn’t a better time to start than now. Like any form of exercise too, the earlier and more consistent you are with practicing them, the greater the benefits. 

If you’re feeling pretty excited about the prospects of a happy pelvic floor, this bit’s for you. Don’t get too carried away, because as with any muscle, you don’t want to strain anything. No, you don’t want pelvic floor muscles to be weak, but you also don’t want them to be contracted all the time either as this can cause pelvic floor dysfunction. 

What we need is a daily, intentional, balanced routine. First, make sure you know where your pelvic floor is. And if you need help finding it, try holding your pee after you start urinating on the toilet (don’t do this on repeat, or you’ll risk a bladder infection), or insert a finger into your vagina and squeeze the muscles inside around your finger. You should feel a “lifting” sensation during these practices in your pelvic floor muscles – and voila! You have found your pelvic floor. These are the same types of exercises you’ll be strengthening during Kegels. 

Now you’re acquainted with it, to start, perform Kegel exercises by lifting and holding then relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. Start with a smaller round of these exercises over a short period, then gradually increase the number of times and length of time you are doing each day. A good starting point is lifting and holding for 3 seconds then relaxing for 3 seconds, 10 times for 2 sets each day. These can be performed laying down, sitting up, or standing but some experts believe that laying down is the ideal position. The key is getting a regular habit going, so you stick to daily exercises. So, if you’re rushing around all day, but squeezing them in (no pun intended) as you lay in bed at night, go for it. If a set or two while you wait for the train works, great. But make it a date each day. 

As you begin to advance, aim to hold a slow contraction (about 60% of your maximum effort) for 10 seconds without losing any intensity and complete this 10 times in a row. And remember, this is all about your pelvic floor. Make sure the other non-pelvic floor muscles aren’t chipping in, like the abs, glutes, or inner thighs. Oh, and don’t forget to breathe! Get relaxed and practice normal breathing during your Kegel exercises. 

There are always overachievers in life, and if you’re a Kegel enthusiastic, you can get funky with a variety of tools designed to help with Kegels. From Kegel balls to pelvic floor muscle exercisers, these neat little gadgets can take your practice to the next level, or they can heighten the experience for those who aren’t feeling the benefits from standard Kegels alone. That said, this equipment is not required. Women generally report improvements within 12 weeks of starting regular Kegels – so, if you’ve put in the time and haven’t achieved what you’re looking for, it’s just another option along your Kegel journey. 

When shopping for one of these Kegel balls or exercisers, make sure you find a non-toxic one made with medical-grade silicone. If you’re looking for a specific tool for supporting an existing condition like incontinence, we recommend speaking to your OBGYN or trusted healthcare provider to find the perfect option. 

Tip: Try spritzing our Love Intimacy Spray to reduce any discomfort during your Kegel exercises. (Note: Kegels and pelvic floor strengthening should not result in any pain – please contact your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing new pain during this practice.)   

If you’re a new mom, hooray, because you’ll find that Kegels are the key to restoring your pre-pregnancy bits. Some experts say that starting Kegels during your third trimester can benefit your body. But big caveat here, be sensible and get your healthcare provider’s advice during or post pregnancy. They are your number one source as you start to build up your fitness across your body, so always speak to them about anything you’re trying. 

As a general look into Kegels after having a baby, know that these are a powerful way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles (which have been stretched out during pregnancy). If you’ve had an uncomplicated birth, you usually get the ok to start these as soon as you feel up to it, but remember, everyone is different, and your doctor or healthcare provider knows best here. 

Press Pause Kegel Exercise and Women Wellness Resources

Press Pause proudly offers women’s wellness products for boosting sexual health. Kegels are an incredible practice that we believe should be a part of every woman’s (and man’s!) daily self-care routine. For more resources on Kegels, our team is always happy to help. Shop our sexual wellness products or reach out any time for more information!