Why i don’t teach kegels on their own any more...

pilates Jul 03, 2021

I used to teach kegels as a stand alone exercise, but in my lifelong ‘research paper’ on the pelvic floor, i have learnt that the pelvic floor was never designed to function/move on it’s own. It was designed to move in tandem with the diaphragm and it actually behaves and functions infinitely better that way.

 

If the pelvic floor is the baby hammock (see previous post), the diaphragm is the Mommy hammock that attaches to the bottom of your ribcage and expands and contracts as you inhale and exhale. These two muscles are meant to move together which is why the breathing (pelvic floor training) i teach incorporates BOTH rather than just the pelvic floor muscle (kegels).

 

The reason why this tandem movement of the two muscles moving as one is so important is because as you exhale, we want both the diaphragm AND the pelvic floor to lift. Now here’s the really important part… As you INHALE, we want both the diaphragm AND the pelvic floor to move down (i.e lengthen). Lengthening AND Strengthening. So as you exhale, you have this opportunity to strengthen the pelvic floor, and as you inhale you have an opportunity to stretch it. As with every other muscle in the body, we don’t just need them to be strong, we also need them to be FLEXIBLE. When we only strengthen a muscle without also stretching it, those muscles easily become very tight, and therefore can become painful and/or disfunctional. Cue pelvic floor disfunction.

 

So when we do something like yoga breathing for example where we breathe into the belly, while that breathing technique is absolutely not wrong for the purposes of yoga, it’s not how you want to be breathing in general because it’s not how the body was ‘designed’ to breathe. It’s fine for a yoga class, but the issue becomes when we retrain the body to breathe ineffectively in general.

 

So the next time you go to do your kegels, try this pelvic floor workout instead.

 

In the next post i’ll be talking about why i teach low pressure ab exercises to retrain the core post birth so stay tuned…

 

Emma xo

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