The latest fitness craze women have been buzzing about isn’t something you would find on a list of fitness classes at your local gym. It’s not squats, Zumba, or Jazzercise—it’s Kegels. You might have heard of Kegels, but to refresh your memory: Kegel exercises target the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor, also known as the PC muscles. Naturally, this can help you improve your love life by making it easier to climax and enabling more powerful orgasms.
You may find that Kegels allow you to have more powerful or multiple orgasms, too! It also opens up the path to use different types of strap-on dildos. An added bonus is that Kegel exercises also foster greater control of your bladder, which is why they’re frequently recommended for women who experience urinary incontinence after childbirth.
They’re not just for women, either. Men can also exercise their Kegel muscles to increase the size and intensity of erections and reduce premature ejaculatory occurrences. However, the following Kegel exercise training plan is just for the ladies.
1. FIRST THINGS FIRST
If you’re totally new to Kegel exercises, let’s start with the basics. Like, where are your Kegel muscles anyway?.
For an even better idea, try to stop yourself mid-stream the next time you have to urinate. The muscles you use to do this are your Kegel muscles. Although this is an effective method for locating your Kegel muscles, it’s not recommended that you regularly stop urinating mid-stream as part of your exercise routine. This can actually have the opposite effect of weakening these muscles, and may put you at risk for infection.
Before you begin your Kegel exercise routine, make sure to completely empty your bladder. Doing exercises with a full or partially full bladder can cause pain and potential leakage.
Perfect your technique
It can be tricky to isolate your Kegel muscles, since it feels more natural to flex them simultaneously with muscles in your thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. The best way to do this, according to The Mayo Clinic, is to lie down flat on your back, and take deep breaths in and out while performing each set. Never hold your breath. This will help you keep the rest of your muscles relaxed and improve your concentration.
- Step 1: Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold the contraction for five seconds.
- Step 2: Relax and exhale for five seconds.
- Step 3: Repeat this exercise five times, and then try it for 10 seconds.
To make sure you aren’t accidentally incorporating other muscles into your routine, place one hand on your stomach to make sure it’s relaxed the entire time.
DON’T OVERDO IT
The National Institutes of Health recommends repeating this set 10 times, three times a day—ideally morning, afternoon, and night. Like other muscles, you run the risk of straining your Kegel muscles when exercising too frequently or intensely. Though consistency is important, you don’t want to increase the number of sets you perform in a single day. This can cause pain or discomfort during urination, bowel movements, and sexual intercourse. Check out other reasons sex might hurt in this article.
2. PULL-IN KEGELS
There are tons of variations on Kegel exercises that allow you to vary up your routine and get a better workout. The pull-in Kegel is one popular example.
To do this exercise, Doctor Dorothy Fairley recommends imagining that you are sitting in an inch of water and your vagina is a vacuum trying to suck it all up. Tighten your buttocks while pulling up and tilt inward at the front. Hold this position for five seconds, and relax. Repeat the entire exercise 10 times, for a total of 50 seconds.
Practice until you are comfortable doing this four times per day, then increase your reps by five every week. Stop increasing once you’ve reached 40, and within three months you should feel yourself gaining full control. At this point, you can decrease your exercises to just 10 reps, four times per day.
3. PELVIC CLOCKS
Personal Trainer Gail Wetzler claims that pelvic clocks offer a long list of health benefits, including
- Improved circulation to the pelvic organs
- Reduced stiffness and congestion from prolonged sitting and standing
- Increased pelvic flexibility
- Enhanced balance
- Better awareness of spinal stability
To do this exercise, lie on your back, making sure that your pelvis has a full range of movement. Bend your knees up, your feet flat on the floor, and your spine straight. Pretend there is a clock on your lower abdomen, with 12:00 at your navel, 6:00 at the start of your pubic bone, and 9:00 and 3:00 at either hip bone.
Rock your hips forward and backward, bringing your bellybutton down to your spine and then up at your pubic bone. Rotate your hips so that the 3:00 side is lower, and then tilt your pelvis until the 6:00 is in the lowest position. Move around the clock, hitting every number until 12:00 is the lowest position again. Repeat this exercise 2-3 times, then reverse in the opposite direction 2-3 times.
Healthy women should perform this exercise once per day, while women who have movement restrictions may need a little more work, and should shoot for twice per day: morning and evening.
When you’re ready for a more advanced workout, Wetzler recommends varying your routine by going from 1:00 to neutral, 2:00 to neutral, and so on around the clock. Repeating a small movement, such as 3:00 to 4:00, five to six times can help you feel the pelvic activity more intensely.
For more instruction on doing this exercise, watch this video.
STAYING ON SCHEDULE
Like all physical exercise, your best bet for staying disciplined and getting the results you want is to incorporate Kegels into your daily routine. Luckily, Kegel exercises are quick, easy, and can be discrete when you need them to be.
Although lying down is ideal for isolating your Kegel muscles when you’re first starting out, once you get the hang of it, you can do them basically anywhere and at any time: at your desk, relaxing on the couch while watching TV, and even while you’re stuck in traffic.
The flexibility makes Kegel exercises more convenient, but it might not promote discipline, making it easier for you to just simply forget to do them. An even more effective way to keep up with Kegels is to add them to a more solid part of your daily routine—like brushing your teeth or eating dinner. If you start coupling these activities, you’ll be much less likely to forget.
4. INCORPORATING EXERCISE EQUIPMENT
Once you get a little more experienced with your Kegel exercises, you can mix things up with some exercise equipment designed specifically for targeting these muscles, such as Kegel balls.
Kegel balls, also known as Ben Wa balls and pleasure balls, ensure a focused workout of your vaginal muscles, with the added benefit of increasing sensations and your sex drive. They can be found at virtually any sex toy shop, and are highly affordable—usually costing less than $15. Groupon often has excellent deals on Kegel balls, along with other types of bedroom-enhancing toys as well.
Newer Kegel balls like those from Lelo and Fun Factory are made from hypoallergenic silicone, which is important because they can be sanitized. The retrieval cord also makes the balls easier to use, and the larger size provides more feedback to the user. Plus, some women consider these to be enjoyable when used as sex toys — more on those in this post.
Once you acquire your Kegel balls, you’ll want to thoroughly wash and dry them, then apply a little lubrication to ensure a more comfortable insertion. More about lube here. Get into a comfortable, relaxed position—either sitting or standing—and gently push them into your vaginal opening. Make sure not to push them too far, since they could cause pain or irritation to the cervix. Close your legs to keep them in place.
Isolate your Kegel muscles and use them to practice the standard exercise, squeezing the balls with these muscles, holding it for a few seconds, and then relaxing your hold. Then try to move the balls back and forth. Having the Kegel balls inside you might feel strange at first, but you’ll find that you get used to the feeling—sort of like wearing a tampon. Aim to keep the Kegel balls inside for at least 15 minutes per day, up to an hour for maximum results.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Kegel exercises are so easy and effective, there’s no excuse why women of all ages shouldn’t be doing them to dramatically improve their sex lives, and their health overall. The first step is simply to get to know your body and gain a better understanding of the intricacies of the female anatomy. Remember that results aren’t typically instant and you may not experience the most powerful orgasms ever, but it’s worth the wait if you stay disciplined and optimistic.
According to the National Institutes of Health, women can start to feel results as early as 4-6 weeks. Most women should feel results by three months. However, if you’re concerned about your routine or would just like a little advice, talk to your doctor about planning a more effective routine. A medical professional can offer biofeedback training, which involves an internal monitoring device and external electrodes to determine how successful your muscle contractions are, and the length of time you were able to hold these contractions.
Your doctor might even be able to provide electrical stimulation to automatically contract the correct muscles, which can help you reproduce the effect on your own after some experience with the feeling.
Once you start to experience the awesome effects of this exercise, you can maximize you and your man’s pleasure by teaching him how to work out his own pelvic muscles. These exercises for men have shown to help men achieve stronger erections and gain greater control over ejaculation (read this guide for more tips). That’s a win-win for you both!