Pelvic Floor Exercises (A Complete Guide)

Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, are one of the most effective ways of improving and maintaining bowel and bladder functions. They work by increasing the strength of the pelvic floor and can improve or even eliminate . 

Our pelvic floor consists of a group of muscles that runs from the pubic bone to the spine, and holds your uterus, vagina, bowel and bladder in place. 

These muscles can become weak, but they are easy to train with pelvic floor exercises which can be started at any age. 

What are Kegel Exercises?

There are various exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor, but the simplest Kegel exercises are a type of clench and release used to train the Kegel muscles, strengthening them and the pelvic floor. 

The great thing about Kegel exercises is that they are quite simple, and the basic exercises can be performed anytime and anywhere, so you don’t need to worry about getting a gym membership or the latest fitness equipment. 

Kegel exercises range from the simplest clench and release exercises mentioned above all the way up to full on strengthening programs and weighted pelvic floor exercises, targeting specific areas of the pelvic floor with varying techniques. 

What are the benefits of pelvic floor exercises?

As well as strengthening the pelvic floor and consequently being able to improve and even eliminate bedwetting and other benefits of pelvic floor exercises include:

• prevent prolapse

• increased sensitivity during sex and stronger orgasms for women

• reduced symptoms of erectile dysfunction for men

• less risk of incontinence after pregnancy when done during pregnancy and after birth.

How to do pelvic floor exercises

If you’ve never tried pelvic floor exercises before you may struggle to engage these muscles at first, but with some practice you should notice improvements and find it easier to exercise them. 

Sitting comfortably, squeeze the Kegel muscle and hold it for a second, then release. Repeat this movement 10 to 15 times to complete a set of basic clench and hold Kegel exercise. 

While doing this exercise, Ddon't hold your breath or tighten your stomach, buttock or thigh muscles at the same time. Focus on engaging only the Kegel muscles themselves.  

When you know how to do the exercise in a correct way, aim to squeeze and hold for 5 seconds (or as long as you are able to physically squeeze really hard) – then relax the muscles for 5 seconds.  

Aim to do these exercises 3 to 4 times a day. Start with laying or sitting, and as you get stronger you can then do the exercises standing. 

After a few months, you should start to notice the results. You should carry on doing the exercises, even when you notice them starting to work, for continued results. 

If you want to learn more about specific types of exercises, check out our pages on pelvic floor exercises for women, pelvic floor exercises for men and pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy. You can track your pelvic progress with the TENA Pelvic Floor Fitness app. 

What is a Kegel Trainer?

If you’re looking for more ways to supplement or improve your pelvic floor exercise, a Kegel trainer may be exactly what you need.  

While the exercises mentioned above are great, using a Kegel trainer is a way to see even faster progress in combating . 

Check out TENA’s new incontinence trainer, EMY, for more information on how it works and the benefits it can provide. 

What to do if you’re still having difficulties

If you’re struggling with Kegel exercises, it is possible to see advice from your doctor. They will be able to offer advice on how to perform the exercises correctly, as well as address any issues you may be having while performing these exercises. 

When to expect improvements?

Results can vary depending on various factors such as age or how often you perform Kegel exercises, but you can expect to see results, such as less frequent or leakage, from anywhere between a few weeks to several months. Its important to note that continuing to perform these exercises is the best way to see ongoing benefits and prevent leakage long term. 

If you’re struggling with urine leakage and need protection in the meantime, we have products fit to handle every leak, for both Women and Men.