6 Kegel Exercise Variations to Practice
During pregnancy, practicing your Kegel exercises can help strengthen your overstretched pelvic muscles. Try these six Kegel exercise variations to keep your pelvic muscles strong throughout your pregnancy.
1. Stop and Start
Attempt to stop and start your urine flow four or five times as you urinate. This beginner exercise is a bit tricky because you need to use only the pelvic floor muscles, without assistance from your thigh and lower abdominal muscles. Think of it as “winking” your vagina.
These Kegel exercise variations require you to contract and release your pelvic floor muscles. Start with ten repetitions four times a day and work up to fifty reps four times a day. This exercise is great to squeeze in (no pun intended) during TV commercials or when someone on the phone puts you on hold.
Contract your pelvic floor muscles for a count of five, then release. Repeat ten times. Gradually increase the length of time you keep the muscles tensed.
4. The Elevator
This exercise takes some concentration, but the results are fantastic. Your vagina is a muscular tube, with the sections arranged like rings one on top of another. Imagine each section as a different “floor” of a building, and that you are moving an elevator up and down by tensing each section, getting progressively higher. Start by slowly bringing the elevator up to the second floor and holding for a second, then move up to the third, and so on, until you get to the fifth floor. Hold. Now bring the elevator down, floor-by-floor, “resting” at each floor, to the first floor (the starting point). Then make a trip to the basement, where your pelvic floor is completely relaxed.
5. The Wave
Some of the pelvic floor muscles are arranged in a sort of extended figure-eight pattern (like an eight with three loops instead of two). One of the loops is around your urethra, one around your vagina and one around your anus. A good Kegel exercise is to contract these muscles from front to back and release from back to front.
Once you become proficient at the different Kegel exercise variations, try them in a variety of positions — lying down, sitting up, squatting, tailor sitting, on all fours. Also, try doing some Kegel stretches.