Kegel Exercises: When to Do Them and When to Avoid Them

Learn about Kegel exercises, their benefits for women and men, how to do them correctly, when to do them, and when to avoid them.

Smiling-woman-on-top-of-yoga-mat-laying-on-her-back-with-legs-over-yoga-ball

A million things on your To-Do list? We hate to add another, but this one could bring life-changing benefits: Kegel exercises.

If you’ve heard of Kegel exercises, you might know they can help treat bladder problems in women. But did you know they have similar benefits for men and can improve sexual function in both men and women? Or that there are times to do Kegels and times when you should avoid them?

Kegel exercises can be an important way to improve your pelvic health. Educating people about their benefits is a big part of Hinge Health’s Women’s Pelvic Health program. Here, learn more about Kegel exercises, their benefits for women and men, how to do them correctly, when to do them, and when to avoid them.

Our Hinge Health Experts

Sarah Fogle, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Dr. Fogle is an orthopedic and pelvic health trained physical therapist with over 9 years of experience.
Tamara Grisales, MD
Expert Physician in Urogynecology and Medical Reviewer
Dr. Grisales is a board-certified urogynecologist and surgeon and oversees the Women's Pelvic Health program at Hinge Health.
Kandis Daroski, PT, DPT
Pelvic Health Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Daroski is a pelvic health physical therapist who provides clinical expertise for the Hinge Health Women's Pelvic Health Program.

What Is a Kegel Exercise?

Named after the doctor who first described them, Kegel exercises are when you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles like you do when you’re trying to hold a full bladder, avoid passing gas, or stop the flow of urine. 

Not familiar with your pelvic floor? It’s made up of layers of muscles, ligaments, and fascia (or connective tissue) that stretch like a hammock from your pubic bone in front of your body back to your tailbone. These structures make up the bottom or “floor” of the bowl-shaped pelvis (in both women and men).

Female Pelvic Floor

Male Pelvic Floor

Why Do Kegels?

Just like your biceps or quads can weaken with inactivity, your pelvic floor muscles can change or weaken due to many different factors: pregnancy and childbirth, male and female pelvic surgeries, chronic coughing or sneezing, genetics, health conditions like diabetes or overactive bladder, and more. 

Because your pelvic floor muscles support your bladder, bowel, and reproductive organs, strengthening these muscles with Kegel exercises can help improve your bowel and bladder control (i.e., not leaking urine or feces) and may also improve your sexual response. While Kegels are performed differently in women and men, everyone can benefit from them: 

Benefits of Kegels for Women

  • Improved bladder control and fewer bladder leaks

  • Improved bowel control and reduced bowel incontinence

  • Reduced urinary urgency (that “gotta-go” feeling)

  • Prevention and relief for pelvic organ prolapse symptoms

  • Improved sexual function, including arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction

Benefits of Kegels for Men

  • Improved bladder control, fewer bladder leaks, and less post-void dribbling

  • Improved bowel control and reduced bowel incontinence

  • Reduced urinary urgency

  • Pain relief for pelvic muscle spasms

  • Improved sexual function, improved erection quality, and less premature ejaculation

How to Do Kegel Exercises: A Step-by-Step Guide

In order for Kegels to be effective, it’s important to do them properly. Studies show that many people perform them incorrectly. The first step is to identify the muscles of your pelvic floor. These are the muscles you squeeze or contract when you stop the flow of urine. 

Try stopping and starting your urine stream the next time you pee. (But don’t make a habit of it. Incompletely emptying your bladder can put you at risk for urinary tract infections.) Another way to identify these muscles is to imagine trying to keep from passing gas. It might feel like your pelvic muscles are being pulled up into your body when you do this. 

Kegel exercise techniques vary slightly for women and men:

Kegel Exercises for Women

  1. Empty your bladder. Practice Kegels with an empty bladder to avoid stress on your pelvic floor.

  2. Find the right muscles by stopping and starting your urine stream or imagining trying to hold back gas. To check that you’re targeting the right muscles, insert a finger into your vagina before contracting your pelvic floor muscles. You should feel a tightening around your finger. Some people find these verbal cues helpful:

    • Imagine your pelvic muscles rising like an elevator

    • Picture sitting on a marble and picking it up with your vagina

    • Visualize holding in a tampon that’s slipping out. 

If you’re still unsure, ask a doctor, nurse, or pelvic floor physical therapist. 

  1. Tighten and hold. Contract your pelvic floor muscles for three to five seconds and then relax. If you’re a beginner, aim for five repetitions. As you get stronger, increase to 10 contractions held for 10 seconds each with 10 seconds of rest in between (a “set” of 10). You should be able to perform a set of Kegels in five minutes or less. Aim for three sets of Kegels per day.

  2. Add variety with:

    • Position changes. Try performing your Kegel exercises while lying down, sitting, or standing to strengthen your muscles in a range of positions. 

    • Quick holds. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles quickly, hold for one or two seconds, and relax. Short contractions activate fast-twitch muscle fibers to help your body respond quickly (e.g., when coughing or sneezing) to prevent urine leaks.

    • Long holds. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles gradually, taking several seconds to reach your maximum contraction and hold. Work toward holding each contraction for 10 seconds with 10 seconds rest in between. Long contractions can increase pelvic muscle-supportive strength and endurance.

  3. Consider Kegel exercise training aids like vaginal weights, cones, wands, or pressure sensors that can help you isolate the right muscles and give you feedback about your pelvic floor muscle contractions. These devices are helpful for some (but not all) pelvic floor symptoms. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist to see if they’re right for you.

Kegel Exercises for Men

  1. Empty your bladder. Practice Kegels with an empty bladder to avoid stress on your pelvic floor.

  2. Find the right muscles by stopping and starting your urine stream or imagining trying to hold back gas. To check that you’re targeting the right muscles, insert a finger into your anus while contracting your pelvic floor muscles. You should feel a tightening around your finger. Some people find the verbal cue to “shorten your penis” helpful to identify the right muscles. If you’re still unsure, see your doctor, nurse, or pelvic floor physical therapist for help.  

  3. Tighten and hold. Contract your pelvic floor muscles for three to five seconds and then relax. If you’re a beginner, aim for five repetitions. As you get stronger, increase to 10 contractions held for 10 seconds each with 10 seconds of rest in between (a “set” of 10). You should be able to perform a set of Kegels in five minutes or less. Aim for three sets of Kegels per day.

  4. Add variety with:

    • Position changes. Try performing your Kegel exercises while lying down, sitting, or standing to strengthen your muscles in a range of positions. 

    • Quick holds. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles quickly, hold for one or two seconds, and relax. Short contractions activate fast-twitch muscle fibers to help your body respond quickly (e.g. when coughing or sneezing) to prevent urine leaks.

    • Long holds. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles gradually, taking several seconds to reach your maximum contraction and hold. Work toward holding each contraction for 10 seconds with 10 seconds rest in between. Long contractions can increase pelvic muscle-supportive strength and endurance.

What to Avoid When Doing Kegels

Some of the most common mistakes people make when doing Kegels include:

  • Contracting other nearby muscles while performing a Kegel exercise. Focus on contracting only the pelvic floor muscles while keeping the muscles of your stomach, thighs, and buttocks relaxed.

  • Holding your breath. Breath holding increases the pressure in your abdomen and can stress your pelvic floor and lead to pelvic floor dysfunction. 

  • A full bladder. Like holding your breath, a full bladder increases the stress on your pelvic floor. It also increases the pressure on your urethral sphincters that control the flow of urine from your bladder.

  • Overdoing it. Your pelvic floor muscles can be overtaxed if you do too many Kegels. This can make it difficult to relax your pelvic floor to urinate or have a bowel movement and can lead to other pelvic symptoms. 

  • Pain. Stop if you feel pain in your abdomen, back, or hips while performing Kegels. If you’re doing them correctly, Kegels shouldn’t hurt. Pelvic pain could be a sign that you’re doing Kegels incorrectly or overdoing them. Pain could also be a sign of another health condition, like an overactive or tight pelvic floor or a urinary tract infection. See your doctor if you experience pain with Kegels.

When to Avoid Kegel Exercises

Kegels have a lot of benefits, but they’re not for everyone. 

“Pain in the back, hips, or pelvic floor and urinary urgency and frequency can sometimes be due to tight or overactive pelvic floor muscles,” says Sarah Fogle, PT, DPT, a pelvic floor physical therapist with Hinge Health. “If that’s your situation, tightening your pelvic floor by doing lots of Kegels could make your symptoms worse.” 

Some conditions benefit from reverse Kegels, which do the opposite of standard Kegel exercises — by focusing on relaxing instead of tightening. Reverse Kegels can help reduce pain, constipation, and decrease urinary urgency and frequency. They can also make sex more comfortable for women. 

But, if you have a tight pelvic floor “you won’t harm yourself by doing the occasional Kegel, even if you’ve been told in the past to avoid them,” says Kandis Daroski, PT, DPT, a pelvic floor physical therapist with Hinge Health. “It’s all about balance — and focusing on the exercises that your provider suggests for your unique symptoms.”

A pelvic floor physical therapist can help you determine the cause of your pelvic symptoms and recommend the right pelvic floor exercises for you.

Kegel Exercise and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Hooklying Kegel Exercise

Hooklying Kegel Exercise

Hooklying Kegel Exercise

Hooklying Kegel Exercise

Hooklying Kegel exercises are one of the best ways to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. To begin: 

  • On a yoga mat, lie comfortably on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

  • Slowly contract your pelvic floor muscles. It might feel like your muscles are being gently pulled up and into your body as you hold this position. You are using the muscles you would use to stop the flow of urine or prevent yourself from passing gas.

  • Slowly release the contraction by relaxing your muscles. 

You should be able to feel your pelvic floor muscles working with each repetition. And even though you won’t see changes in your muscular strength like you might when strengthening other muscles (such as your biceps), remember to trust the process and know you’re making progress.

Everyone is different, which is why you may need to modify the Kegel exercise to meet your needs

Tap into pain relief. Anytime, anywhere with our app.

Get exercises from a licensed physical therapist and more to relieve your pain. All right from your phone. At $0 cost to you.
Start your app tour

Hooklying Kegel Exercise Modifications

Hooklying Kegel Exercise Modifications

Hooklying Kegel Exercise Modifications

Hooklying Kegel Exercise Modifications

To make Kegels easier:  

  • Place a pillow underneath your hips while you perform the Kegel.

To make Kegels harder: 

Before challenging yourself, make sure you can hold a Kegel for at least 10 seconds while lying on your back.

  • Perform this exercise while sitting in a chair. 

Physical Therapy and Exercise for Pelvic Symptoms

Regular exercise and physical therapy, including Kegel exercises, can help prevent and treat some types of pelvic pain and other pelvic symptoms in both men and women. 

Pelvic floor physical therapy for pelvic symptoms is a comprehensive treatment that includes education, behavioral and lifestyle strategies, movement and exercise, and manual therapy. You can see a physical therapist (PT) in person or use a program like Hinge Health to access a PT who specializes in pelvic health via telehealth video visit.

Depending on your symptoms, a pelvic floor physical therapist may recommend:

  • Stretching exercises to relax tense muscles and increase flexibility

  • Pelvic floor exercises

  • Whole-body exercises to strengthen areas that support your pelvic floor 

  • Bladder retraining

  • Stress management techniques

  • Nutritional changes

  • Sleep strategies

  • Other treatments, including internal massage and pelvic training devices

How Hinge Health Can Help You

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you.

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

Looking for pain relief? Check if your employer or health plan covers our program

Hinge Health is available to over 1,600 companies and benefit plans!

References

  1. Huang, Y. C., & Chang, K. V. (2022). Kegel Exercises. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. 

  2. Todhunter-Brown, A., Hazelton, C., Campbell, P., Elders, A., Hagen, S., & McClurg, D. (2022). Conservative interventions for treating urinary incontinence in women: an Overview of Cochrane systematic reviews. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2022(9). doi:10.1002/14651858.cd012337.pub2 

  3. Dumoulin, C., Hay-Smith, E. J., & Mac Habée-Séguin, G. (2014). Pelvic floor muscle training versus no treatment, or inactive control treatments, for urinary incontinence in women. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (5), CD005654. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005654.pub3

  4. Kegel Exercises | NIDDK. (n.d.). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kegel-exercises 

  5. Kegel Exercises for Incontinence - Urology Care Foundation. (n.d.). Www.urologyhealth.org. https://www.urologyhealth.org/healthy-living/care-blog/kegel-exercises-for-incontinence

  6. Nazarpour, S., Simbar, M., Ramezani Tehrani, F., & Alavi Majd, H. (2017). Effects of Sex Education and Kegel Exercises on the Sexual Function of Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Clinical Trial. The journal of sexual medicine, 14(7), 959–967. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2017.05.006 

  7. Khosravi, A., Riazi, H., Simbar, M., & Montazeri, A. (2022). Effectiveness of Kegel exercise and lubricant gel for improving sexual function in menopausal women: A randomized trial. European journal of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology, 274, 106–112. doi:10.1016/j.ejogrb.2022.05.022 

  8. Siegel A. L. (2014). Pelvic floor muscle training in males: practical applications. Urology, 84(1), 1–7. doi:10.1016/j.urology.2014.03.016 

  9. KEGELS FOR MEN. (n.d.). National Association for Continence. Retrieved April 4, 2023, from https://nafc.org/kegel-exercises-for-men/ 

  10. Treatment of Fecal Incontinence | NIDDK. (n.d.). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/bowel-control-problems-fecal-incontinence/treatment

  11. Myers, C., & Smith, M. (2019). Pelvic floor muscle training improves erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation: a systematic review. Physiotherapy, 105(2), 235–243. doi:10.1016/j.physio.2019.01.002 

  12. KEGEL EXERCISES. (n.d.). National Association for Continence. https://nafc.org/kegel-exercises/ 

  13. Grimes, W. R., & Stratton, M. (2022). Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.

Smiling-woman-on-top-of-yoga-mat-laying-on-her-back-with-legs-over-yoga-ball

Kegel Exercises: When to Do Them and When to Avoid Them

Learn about Kegel exercises, their benefits for women and men, how to do them correctly, when to do them, and when to avoid them.

Published Date: Apr 26, 2023
Smiling-woman-on-top-of-yoga-mat-laying-on-her-back-with-legs-over-yoga-ball

A million things on your To-Do list? We hate to add another, but this one could bring life-changing benefits: Kegel exercises.

If you’ve heard of Kegel exercises, you might know they can help treat bladder problems in women. But did you know they have similar benefits for men and can improve sexual function in both men and women? Or that there are times to do Kegels and times when you should avoid them?

Kegel exercises can be an important way to improve your pelvic health. Educating people about their benefits is a big part of Hinge Health’s Women’s Pelvic Health program. Here, learn more about Kegel exercises, their benefits for women and men, how to do them correctly, when to do them, and when to avoid them.

Our Hinge Health Experts

Sarah Fogle, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Dr. Fogle is an orthopedic and pelvic health trained physical therapist with over 9 years of experience.
Tamara Grisales, MD
Expert Physician in Urogynecology and Medical Reviewer
Dr. Grisales is a board-certified urogynecologist and surgeon and oversees the Women's Pelvic Health program at Hinge Health.
Kandis Daroski, PT, DPT
Pelvic Health Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Daroski is a pelvic health physical therapist who provides clinical expertise for the Hinge Health Women's Pelvic Health Program.

What Is a Kegel Exercise?

Named after the doctor who first described them, Kegel exercises are when you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles like you do when you’re trying to hold a full bladder, avoid passing gas, or stop the flow of urine. 

Not familiar with your pelvic floor? It’s made up of layers of muscles, ligaments, and fascia (or connective tissue) that stretch like a hammock from your pubic bone in front of your body back to your tailbone. These structures make up the bottom or “floor” of the bowl-shaped pelvis (in both women and men).

Female Pelvic Floor

Male Pelvic Floor

Why Do Kegels?

Just like your biceps or quads can weaken with inactivity, your pelvic floor muscles can change or weaken due to many different factors: pregnancy and childbirth, male and female pelvic surgeries, chronic coughing or sneezing, genetics, health conditions like diabetes or overactive bladder, and more. 

Because your pelvic floor muscles support your bladder, bowel, and reproductive organs, strengthening these muscles with Kegel exercises can help improve your bowel and bladder control (i.e., not leaking urine or feces) and may also improve your sexual response. While Kegels are performed differently in women and men, everyone can benefit from them: 

Benefits of Kegels for Women

  • Improved bladder control and fewer bladder leaks

  • Improved bowel control and reduced bowel incontinence

  • Reduced urinary urgency (that “gotta-go” feeling)

  • Prevention and relief for pelvic organ prolapse symptoms

  • Improved sexual function, including arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction

Benefits of Kegels for Men

  • Improved bladder control, fewer bladder leaks, and less post-void dribbling

  • Improved bowel control and reduced bowel incontinence

  • Reduced urinary urgency

  • Pain relief for pelvic muscle spasms

  • Improved sexual function, improved erection quality, and less premature ejaculation

How to Do Kegel Exercises: A Step-by-Step Guide

In order for Kegels to be effective, it’s important to do them properly. Studies show that many people perform them incorrectly. The first step is to identify the muscles of your pelvic floor. These are the muscles you squeeze or contract when you stop the flow of urine. 

Try stopping and starting your urine stream the next time you pee. (But don’t make a habit of it. Incompletely emptying your bladder can put you at risk for urinary tract infections.) Another way to identify these muscles is to imagine trying to keep from passing gas. It might feel like your pelvic muscles are being pulled up into your body when you do this. 

Kegel exercise techniques vary slightly for women and men:

Kegel Exercises for Women

  1. Empty your bladder. Practice Kegels with an empty bladder to avoid stress on your pelvic floor.

  2. Find the right muscles by stopping and starting your urine stream or imagining trying to hold back gas. To check that you’re targeting the right muscles, insert a finger into your vagina before contracting your pelvic floor muscles. You should feel a tightening around your finger. Some people find these verbal cues helpful:

    • Imagine your pelvic muscles rising like an elevator

    • Picture sitting on a marble and picking it up with your vagina

    • Visualize holding in a tampon that’s slipping out. 

If you’re still unsure, ask a doctor, nurse, or pelvic floor physical therapist. 

  1. Tighten and hold. Contract your pelvic floor muscles for three to five seconds and then relax. If you’re a beginner, aim for five repetitions. As you get stronger, increase to 10 contractions held for 10 seconds each with 10 seconds of rest in between (a “set” of 10). You should be able to perform a set of Kegels in five minutes or less. Aim for three sets of Kegels per day.

  2. Add variety with:

    • Position changes. Try performing your Kegel exercises while lying down, sitting, or standing to strengthen your muscles in a range of positions. 

    • Quick holds. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles quickly, hold for one or two seconds, and relax. Short contractions activate fast-twitch muscle fibers to help your body respond quickly (e.g., when coughing or sneezing) to prevent urine leaks.

    • Long holds. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles gradually, taking several seconds to reach your maximum contraction and hold. Work toward holding each contraction for 10 seconds with 10 seconds rest in between. Long contractions can increase pelvic muscle-supportive strength and endurance.

  3. Consider Kegel exercise training aids like vaginal weights, cones, wands, or pressure sensors that can help you isolate the right muscles and give you feedback about your pelvic floor muscle contractions. These devices are helpful for some (but not all) pelvic floor symptoms. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist to see if they’re right for you.

Kegel Exercises for Men

  1. Empty your bladder. Practice Kegels with an empty bladder to avoid stress on your pelvic floor.

  2. Find the right muscles by stopping and starting your urine stream or imagining trying to hold back gas. To check that you’re targeting the right muscles, insert a finger into your anus while contracting your pelvic floor muscles. You should feel a tightening around your finger. Some people find the verbal cue to “shorten your penis” helpful to identify the right muscles. If you’re still unsure, see your doctor, nurse, or pelvic floor physical therapist for help.  

  3. Tighten and hold. Contract your pelvic floor muscles for three to five seconds and then relax. If you’re a beginner, aim for five repetitions. As you get stronger, increase to 10 contractions held for 10 seconds each with 10 seconds of rest in between (a “set” of 10). You should be able to perform a set of Kegels in five minutes or less. Aim for three sets of Kegels per day.

  4. Add variety with:

    • Position changes. Try performing your Kegel exercises while lying down, sitting, or standing to strengthen your muscles in a range of positions. 

    • Quick holds. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles quickly, hold for one or two seconds, and relax. Short contractions activate fast-twitch muscle fibers to help your body respond quickly (e.g. when coughing or sneezing) to prevent urine leaks.

    • Long holds. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles gradually, taking several seconds to reach your maximum contraction and hold. Work toward holding each contraction for 10 seconds with 10 seconds rest in between. Long contractions can increase pelvic muscle-supportive strength and endurance.

What to Avoid When Doing Kegels

Some of the most common mistakes people make when doing Kegels include:

  • Contracting other nearby muscles while performing a Kegel exercise. Focus on contracting only the pelvic floor muscles while keeping the muscles of your stomach, thighs, and buttocks relaxed.

  • Holding your breath. Breath holding increases the pressure in your abdomen and can stress your pelvic floor and lead to pelvic floor dysfunction. 

  • A full bladder. Like holding your breath, a full bladder increases the stress on your pelvic floor. It also increases the pressure on your urethral sphincters that control the flow of urine from your bladder.

  • Overdoing it. Your pelvic floor muscles can be overtaxed if you do too many Kegels. This can make it difficult to relax your pelvic floor to urinate or have a bowel movement and can lead to other pelvic symptoms. 

  • Pain. Stop if you feel pain in your abdomen, back, or hips while performing Kegels. If you’re doing them correctly, Kegels shouldn’t hurt. Pelvic pain could be a sign that you’re doing Kegels incorrectly or overdoing them. Pain could also be a sign of another health condition, like an overactive or tight pelvic floor or a urinary tract infection. See your doctor if you experience pain with Kegels.

When to Avoid Kegel Exercises

Kegels have a lot of benefits, but they’re not for everyone. 

“Pain in the back, hips, or pelvic floor and urinary urgency and frequency can sometimes be due to tight or overactive pelvic floor muscles,” says Sarah Fogle, PT, DPT, a pelvic floor physical therapist with Hinge Health. “If that’s your situation, tightening your pelvic floor by doing lots of Kegels could make your symptoms worse.” 

Some conditions benefit from reverse Kegels, which do the opposite of standard Kegel exercises — by focusing on relaxing instead of tightening. Reverse Kegels can help reduce pain, constipation, and decrease urinary urgency and frequency. They can also make sex more comfortable for women. 

But, if you have a tight pelvic floor “you won’t harm yourself by doing the occasional Kegel, even if you’ve been told in the past to avoid them,” says Kandis Daroski, PT, DPT, a pelvic floor physical therapist with Hinge Health. “It’s all about balance — and focusing on the exercises that your provider suggests for your unique symptoms.”

A pelvic floor physical therapist can help you determine the cause of your pelvic symptoms and recommend the right pelvic floor exercises for you.

Kegel Exercise and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Hooklying Kegel Exercise

Hooklying Kegel Exercise

Hooklying Kegel Exercise

Hooklying Kegel Exercise

Hooklying Kegel exercises are one of the best ways to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. To begin: 

  • On a yoga mat, lie comfortably on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

  • Slowly contract your pelvic floor muscles. It might feel like your muscles are being gently pulled up and into your body as you hold this position. You are using the muscles you would use to stop the flow of urine or prevent yourself from passing gas.

  • Slowly release the contraction by relaxing your muscles. 

You should be able to feel your pelvic floor muscles working with each repetition. And even though you won’t see changes in your muscular strength like you might when strengthening other muscles (such as your biceps), remember to trust the process and know you’re making progress.

Everyone is different, which is why you may need to modify the Kegel exercise to meet your needs

Tap into pain relief. Anytime, anywhere with our app.

Get exercises from a licensed physical therapist and more to relieve your pain. All right from your phone. At $0 cost to you.
Start your app tour

Hooklying Kegel Exercise Modifications

Hooklying Kegel Exercise Modifications

Hooklying Kegel Exercise Modifications

Hooklying Kegel Exercise Modifications

To make Kegels easier:  

  • Place a pillow underneath your hips while you perform the Kegel.

To make Kegels harder: 

Before challenging yourself, make sure you can hold a Kegel for at least 10 seconds while lying on your back.

  • Perform this exercise while sitting in a chair. 

Physical Therapy and Exercise for Pelvic Symptoms

Regular exercise and physical therapy, including Kegel exercises, can help prevent and treat some types of pelvic pain and other pelvic symptoms in both men and women. 

Pelvic floor physical therapy for pelvic symptoms is a comprehensive treatment that includes education, behavioral and lifestyle strategies, movement and exercise, and manual therapy. You can see a physical therapist (PT) in person or use a program like Hinge Health to access a PT who specializes in pelvic health via telehealth video visit.

Depending on your symptoms, a pelvic floor physical therapist may recommend:

  • Stretching exercises to relax tense muscles and increase flexibility

  • Pelvic floor exercises

  • Whole-body exercises to strengthen areas that support your pelvic floor 

  • Bladder retraining

  • Stress management techniques

  • Nutritional changes

  • Sleep strategies

  • Other treatments, including internal massage and pelvic training devices

How Hinge Health Can Help You

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you.

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

Looking for pain relief? Check if your employer or health plan covers our program

Hinge Health is available to over 1,600 companies and benefit plans!

References

  1. Huang, Y. C., & Chang, K. V. (2022). Kegel Exercises. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. 

  2. Todhunter-Brown, A., Hazelton, C., Campbell, P., Elders, A., Hagen, S., & McClurg, D. (2022). Conservative interventions for treating urinary incontinence in women: an Overview of Cochrane systematic reviews. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2022(9). doi:10.1002/14651858.cd012337.pub2 

  3. Dumoulin, C., Hay-Smith, E. J., & Mac Habée-Séguin, G. (2014). Pelvic floor muscle training versus no treatment, or inactive control treatments, for urinary incontinence in women. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (5), CD005654. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005654.pub3

  4. Kegel Exercises | NIDDK. (n.d.). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kegel-exercises 

  5. Kegel Exercises for Incontinence - Urology Care Foundation. (n.d.). Www.urologyhealth.org. https://www.urologyhealth.org/healthy-living/care-blog/kegel-exercises-for-incontinence

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