To Kegel or not to Kegel

pelvic floor postpartum Jan 31, 2023

Why Kegels aren’t helping you and what to do instead...

Did you know that Kegels are not particularly effective for the majority of women? That’s because they don’t give you the full picture of what needs to happen in your pelvic floor (the phrase and technique was originally made popular by a male doctor in the 1940s). I used to teach Kegels as a stand alone exercise, but I have since learnt that the pelvic floor was never designed to function/move on its own. It was designed to move in tandem with the diaphragm and it actually behaves and functions infinitely better that way.


The problem with Kegels is that:

a) it encourages “clenching”.

Clenching can very easily cause the pelvic floor to become too tight. And it can be very difficult to strengthen a muscle that is too tight.

and b) Kegels only give you about 20% of the picture.

Meaning, telling your pelvic floor to contract on its own without it working in tandem with your diaphragm is basically a recipe for disaster. It causes incorrect and unbalanced breathing patterns which, if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that the breath is literally the most important piece of the puzzle. Of the pelvic floor puzzle. Of the core puzzle. Of the entire body puzzle.


Without the breath and the pelvic floor working TOGETHER, we can end up with all sorts of pelvic floor related issues such as incontinence, diastasis, prolapse, low back pain, hip pain, bulging abdomen, to name a few. As the pelvic floor lifts and engages, the diaphragm should be lifting too, which means we have to be exhaling, as the diaphragm only lifts on the exhale. If this is mis-coordinated and happens the other way around, we are setting ourselves up for all sorts of bodily miscommunications.


Think about it.. when you sneeze, the diaphragm will lift involuntarily. If the pelvic floor doesn’t automatically engage involuntarily as well, leaking will occur. Leaking is NOT a symptom of being a mom. It is a breathing/pelvic floor miscommunication that 1000% CAN be fixed. So instead of having to remind yourself to do a Kegel right before you sneeze, we need the pelvic floor to know how to act all by itself!


Unfortunately many women are being told things like “just do kegels” as a cure-all for pelvic floor issues. Whilst for a very few lucky people, it can do the job quite well, for the majority of us, it’s actually more complex than that.


This culture of “just do more Kegels” and “just do more core work” has clearly been quite damaging given the statistics: 1 in 3 women have pelvic floor dysfunction, 1 in 3 women have low back pain, and a whopping 2 in 3 women have a weak core!!


The problem is that this knowledge of how to correctly utilize the pelvic floor WITH the rest of the core, is not common knowledge (or at least definitely not as common as it should be), and it seems many women are being tripped up by the word “Kegel” by thinking that that’s all that is required of the pelvic floor. For example, doing Kegels every day but still experiencing leaking, and therefore thinking that leaking must just be “normal”, when in actual fact, if the pelvic floor was being trained correctly, more than likely there would be no more leaking.


So before you resign yourself to a lifetime of wearing panty liners, spend thousands of dollars in physical therapy because you keep throwing your back out, and not enjoying yourself on the beach because you don’t feel comfortable in a swimsuit, do yourself the biggest favor of 2023 and commit to just 10 minutes a day for 30 days!


Click the link below to join the 30 day challenge 👇🏻




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