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There are several exercises beyond Kegels that can help strengthen your pelvic floor. Although Kegel exercises are the foundation of pelvic floor muscle strengthening, I also recommend incorporating other movements that can have a positive impact on your pelvic floor.
To help my clients better understand how exercises can strengthen their pelvic floor as well as the importance of proper form and movement to avoid injury, I always start by walking them through pelvic floor anatomy. The pelvic floor is made up of three muscle layers:
For all of the following exercises, you will need to incorporate a pelvic brace since that is the best way to strengthen the pelvic floor. A pelvic brace is a pelvic floor muscle contraction that pulls from the anus towards the urethra and meets the deep abdominal muscles as the lower abs flatten and the waist narrows. Think of it like drawing your navel towards your spine. This exercise can be done in any position, but is easiest to perform on your back in preparation for additional exercises.
Now let’s learn my top 4 exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles without Kegels! These exercises target different muscles, all of which can be found in the Appendix at the end of this post. Please reference the Appendix to get to know your muscles better!
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground, and your spine in a neutral position.
Not so bad, right? Now get ready for Exercise 2!
Start on your elbows and knees. Make sure elbows are directly under shoulders and knees are directly under hips as you face the floor.
You’ve made it to the last exercise! Pat yourself on the back because you are doing a fabulous job! Now let’s finish strong.
Lie on your side with hips and knees stacked, so that your feet are on the ground, but your upper legs are slightly off the ground at a 30-degree angle. Then create a small space (a “crawl space for ants”) on your lower side, so that you are pulling your spine into a neutral position.
While these exercises can ultimately help you learn how to strengthen pelvic floor muscles and reduce bladder leaks, you might still experience leaks while practicing the movements. I encourage my patients to wear bladder leakage pads since they can help keep you comfortable while you are working on your pelvic floor strength. For flexibility and ultimate comfort, I point my patients towards the Poise© Ultra Thin pads.
You did it! You successfully learned how to strengthen pelvic floor muscles without Kegels. Now that you understand other ways to achieve a strong pelvic floor beyond just Kegels, you are ready to work towards your pelvic health goals. Always consult with a doctor if you have other questions along your journey.
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