Pelvic Floor Strengthening - Kegel Exercises

The pelvic floor consists of several layers of muscle and fascia that create a hammocklike structure at the base of the pelvis.

This myofascial network has several distinct roles including:

  • Supporting the organs within the pelvis
  • Assisting in stopping/starting the flow or urine or the passage of gas or stool
  • Aiding in normal sexual activity
  • Stabilizing the low back and abdomen by contracting prior to and during movement

DESCRIPTION AND PERFORMANCE OF THE PELVIC FLOOR

The pelvic floor muscles consist of approximately 70% slow twitch (endurance) muscle fibers and 30% fast twitch (sprint) muscle fibers. As mentioned above, the pelvic floor muscles act to keep us continent at all times and also act to hold in urine when sudden pressure is placed on the abdomen/pelvis such as when you sneeze or cough. Additionally, the muscles help stabilize the core for postural endurance and, when needed, respond quickly to certain motions such as squatting.

Locating the muscles can be difficult. Instruction by your practitioner is most helpful, however if you are having difficulty you can use selfpalpation (pressing externally on the perineum) or a mirror at home. Some visualization cues include:

  • Lifting the muscle up and into the body as if holding back gas
  • Squeezing around the urethra as if you were trying to stop the flow of urine
  • Contracting and lifting the vagina (females) or testes (males) up towards the pubic bone

SHORT QUICK EXERCISE:

Begin lying on your back, head supported with pillow, knees bent and feet flat. Squeeze quickly and hold for ___________seconds. Relax fully for the same amount of time __________ seconds. Repeat____________ times.

LONG SUSTAINED EXERCISE:

Begin lying on your back, head supported with pillow, knees bent and feet flat. Squeeze slowly and gradually and hold for ___________ seconds. Relax fully for the same amount of time ___________ seconds. Repeat _____________times.

SPECIAL TIPS:

Empty your bladder before completing your exercises. Try and avoid using accessory muscles such as your buttocks, inner thighs and abdomen. Always remember to breath during these exercises.

Pelvic Floor Strengthening - Males

Download the Educational PDF - For Males

Pelvic Floor Strengthening - Female

Download the Educational PDF - For Females


More Patient Education