Women have been doing Kegels for years trying to undo the damage done to their pelvic floor due to weak muscles surrounding that area. Signs of a weak pelvic floor include a lack of the curve of the lower back, lack of glutes (that’s right, flat butt syndrome), and poor posture while sitting or even standing.
Pelvic Floor Disorder or a weak pelvic floor can lead to having sneeze pee, laugh pee, or cough pee, all results of incontinence, meaning you accidentally pee yourself a little while doing any of these three things. It can also cause you to be unable to hold your number two.
It can be shown through hip pain, tailbone pain, and can be shown in both women who have had births or women who have never been pregnant. Even men can have PFD.
Been noticing any of these symptoms in yourself? It turns outs that Kegels may not be the exercise of choice.
What Are Kegels Anyway?
Kegels are an exercise that has been touted as a pelvic muscle strengthener for many, many moons. Kegels can’t really be seen when you do them because you are in essence just tightening the muscles inside your vagina as if holding in your pee.
The recommended Kegel exercise consists of tightening these muscles for five seconds and releasing for five seconds, repeating this ten times, three times per day. For many people, it was very difficult to isolate the right muscles.
Tightening the wrong muscles could lead to harmful effects. All Kegels will do, even when performed correctly, will only tighten, or shorten the pelvic floor muscle. PFD is due to the inability to relax these muscles, not contract them.
Do Squats Instead
According to Katy Bowman, a biomechanical scientist specializing in alignment of the body, and mother herself who has strengthened her pelvic floor, the best exercise to promote the pelvic floor is the squat.
She says that in order to keep your pelvic floor in line and where it needs to be, you have to strengthen the opposing muscles, which are the glutes. The squat is the best workout to strengthen your glutes, so she recommends making this move on your daily to do list.
Squatting is a natural movement that we repeat on a daily basis, unless our lifestyle is sedimentary. Squatting can’t just be a lazy bend over and pick something up squat but the kind you learned in safety training when they taught you to lift with your legs not your back.
Our luxury life of toilets and the Lazy-Boy chair have made us squat a lot less in our lives as opposed to before when we had to squat in the field and use a leaf to clean up.
It is crucial, however, to do squats correctly in order for them to repair your pelvic floor. The correct way to do a squat is…
Stand with your feet a little wider than hip width apart, looking straight ahead.
Keeping your chest up and your shoulders back, bend your knees, push your butt behind you, and go as low as you can. Make sure your knees don’t go past your toes or you are putting strain on your knees and you won’t use the right muscle to push up.
Hover here for about 5 seconds then use your hamstrings and glutes to push your bodyweight back up into standing position.
Voila! You’ve just performed the perfect squat.
How Can A Strong Pelvic Floor Help Women?
Well, for one thing, you won’t have any more incontinence, which saves you a lot of embarrassment.
You will have higher chances of orgasms (bonus!) and discourage any menstrual problems or any pain during intercourse.
If you are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant your delivery and post-delivery recovery will be much easier as a strong pelvic floor will help you to relax your pelvic bone and open up plenty of room for the baby to fit through. This means no tearing or bleeding during birth.
By the way, squats have many more health benefits beyond the pelvic floor, as they improve balance and functional fitness, which allows us to be stronger and perform better in our daily lives, especially as we age.
Heard enough ladies? Get to squatting!