"Why are kegels so difficult?"
If you’ve asked yourself this question before, keep reading. In this post I’m going to share with you a super easy actionable tip that can help make kegels easier.
I already have an entire other post where I talk about how to do kegels as well as common mistakes that people make when trying to strengthen the pelvic floor. So if you haven’t read that post yet, I highly recommend reading it to make sure you’re doing your kegels correctly. Click here to read now.
Also remember that kegels don’t fix all pelvic problems and that some issues require you to learn how to relax the pelvic floor. For more information on this, read this post here: “Should everyone do kegels?”
Ok, so you've read about common kegel mistakes and addressed those issues, so why are kegels still so damn hard?
There just may be a simple solution to this….you may need to change the position that your’re doing your kegels in. I know this may sound like it’s too simple to work, but let me explain.
Many times people do kegel exercises while sitting or standing. While these positions are good ways to strengthen the pelvic floor, based on the anatomy of the pelvic floor muscles, these two positions are going to be more difficult than others because in sitting/standing, you have to work against gravity. Working against gravity makes an exercise more challenging for your muscles.
When you instead perform your kegels when lying on your back, this takes away how much the muscles need to work against gravity so it will be easier. There’s also a position you can do in which gravity will assist the muscles which will make kegels even easier, (I’ll show you this below).
If your pelvic floor is strong, you’ll probably be fine doing kegels in sitting or standing, but if your pelvic floor is weak, you may want to start strengthening in one of the two positions shown below because these will take away some of gravity. Once your muscles get stronger, then you can move to doing your kegels in sitting or standing because it is good to progress to these positions as they are more functional. But sometimes you just need to take it back a step to start.
Side note for if you do standing kegels: Make sure you keep a slight bend in your knees while you kegel, DON’T lock out your knees.
2 Positions to Make Kegels Easier
1. Inverted kegels (the easiest option)
Inverted kegels basically just means that you’re lifting your legs up to allow gravity to assist your pelvic floor contraction. We’re just talking about a slight inversion here by propping the legs up on pillows, DO NOT hang upside please..
Basically, what you do is lay on your back and use a few pillows or cushions to prop up your legs. You want to use something that will allow you to keep your legs relaxed so that all the work your doing can be focused on the pelvic floor.
For an example of what this looks like, see the picture right below.
2. Supine kegels
Supine kegels just means your laying on your back and doing your kegels. This variation will be a little more challenging for the pelvic floor muscles compared to the inverted kegels shown above, but it will still be much easier than sitting or standing.
You can either keep your legs out straight as shown in photo below or place a pillow under your knees if that’s more comfortable for your lower back.
So that’s it, a super simple way to make kegels easier. If you do have a lot of weakness in the pelvic floor, you’re probably going to want to start with about a 5 second hold or maybe even less. If you notice that you’re compensating before 5 seconds, then do a shorter hold. Also make sure to rest 5 seconds between each contraction when you are doing these longer hold kegels.
It’s hard to say exactly how many reps of kegels you should be doing because everyone is different. If you are new to kegeling or if you have a lot of pelvic floor weakness, doing about a set of 10 reps is usually a good place to start, but again if you notice that you’re compensating, do less than 10 reps.
The post “6 Common Kegel Mistakes” goes into more detail on common compensations that people do when trying to strengthen the pelvic floor.
Hopefully this helped to make kegels easier for you and that now you can get more out of your pelvic floor strengthening.
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