Most women have probably been told to do kegel exercises at some point in their lives. There are a number of old-fashioned recommendations, like kegeling whenever you’re at a stoplight or while you’re cooking. But, let’s be honest; that’s a little outdated. It also doesn’t address why kegels are important and who should be doing them.
The reality is that kegels are a foundational exercise that is meant for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. That said, just like any workout, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. For some women, kegels could actually be harmful. This is why it’s important to look at kegel alternatives that women can use to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles.
Are Kegels Right For Me?
Kegels are an exercise that involves the deliberate contraction and relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support many important organs and functions, like the bladder, digestive system, sexual function, and reproductive system. When pelvic floor muscles are weak, problems can start to occur because the organs and muscles aren’t being supported properly. That’s why kegels are broadly accepted as a primary form of exercise, especially for women.
However, the reality is that some women may not be able to perform kegels and that they could, in fact, exacerbate the pre-existing underlying problem by doing them. While kegel exercises offer many health benefits, there are situations where safe kegel alternatives may be the better option.
Who Can Perform Kegel Exercises?
The majority of women can benefit from doing kegel exercises, but not all. That said, we always recommend that you speak with a medical professional before starting any new workout routine. Your doctor can advise you on whether or not you can perform kegel exercises or avoid these altogether.
For women who can benefit from kegel exercises, the most important thing to do is ensure they’re doing them correctly. When certain muscle groups atrophy, other muscles are forced to overcompensate. This can result in injury. Kegel exercises are not just about contracting and relaxing your pelvic muscles; there is actually a right way to do them. (To see how kegels should be done step by step, download our Kegel Guide ebook.)
Once you know how to kegels properly, just like any other workout, establishing and sticking to a consistent routine will help ensure you see maximum results. Be sure to track your progress and monitor symptoms or any changes in your body so that you are better motivated to continue with your routine.
When to Avoid Kegels
Kegels are not for everyone. Some of the situations where you should avoid kegels are if you recently had surgery, gave birth to a baby, or generally feel some tightness in your pelvic floor or vaginal region.
Those who have recently undergone surgery or gave birth will likely need a substantial recovery time before starting to work their pelvic floor muscles again. Similarly, women with tightness in the pelvic regions will need to focus on relaxing the muscles versus contracting them. In all instances mentioned, we highly recommend that you consult your doctor first to find out if kegels are safe for you.
Take our quiz to find out if you have weak pelvic floor muscles.
Safe Kegel Alternatives for Pelvic Floor Health
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
Seeing a physical therapist is one of the most effective kegel alternatives to address serious pelvic floor dysfunction. It is also a great way to learn more about your body and what it needs. We recommend looking for a PT who specializes in pelvic floor health. Pelvic floor PT exercises tend to be more invasive and expensive, so, ideally, you’re able to consult a PT first before starting on an independent exercise program.
Pilates is one of the few exercises that can target the pelvic floor muscles and the surrounding regions through slow and controlled movements. Most other workouts target the legs, core, and surrounding muscles, but not the pelvic floor. Pilates is one of the most recommended kegel alternatives for those looking for a workout that can also help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
In the instance where someone has weak pelvic muscles and is unable to contract them deliberately, electro-stimulation might be the answer to help them get started identifiying the proper muscles. This method can help build the muscles to a point where they start to have better control and then can kegel on their own power without depending on electroshock..
Electro-stimulation works by shocking the muscle to cause a contraction. When done by professionals for a limited time, we find that this is an effective solution to help women achieve stronger pelvic floor muscles. However, note that it is not recommended as a long-term solution because it can be damaging and for some it should not be used at all as it can cause heart arrhythmia.
Take Your Pelvic Floor Health to the Next Level
Once you have consulted your doctor and worked your way up to the point where you are ready for a kegel routine, we recommend supercharging your workout with Kegelbell. Kegelbell is the first externally-weighted pelvic floor training solution and is the heaviest option on the market.
Imagine that a kegel is flexing your bicep muscle without any weight—Kegelbell is like doing a bicep curl with 10 lbs. Don’t worry, though; it isn’t that heavy—unless you want it to be! Kegelbell is an FDA-registered device made of medical-grade materials, which means it’s safe to use and easy to clean and sanitize.
Not only that, Kegelbell users work out with it for only five minutes per session, three times a week for muscle building, or just once a week for maintenance. We offer a complete guide to using Kegelbell the right way so that you maximize its benefits. We know that you have more important things to do with your life than do kegels at every red light, so we created Kegelbell.