3 Essential “Two-In-One” Core-Kegel Exercises You Can Do at Home
You may already know that your pelvic floor muscles (also known as your Kegel muscles) work like a sling to hold your bladder, bowel, and lady parts firmly in place. But did you also know that your pelvic floor is one of dozens of muscle groups that make up your core?
It’s true. Your core isn’t just your abdominal muscles—it also includes the obliques, the glutes (butt muscles), the muscles of the deep back, and even the diaphragm (plus lots of others).
The core is your body’s strength center, keeping you balanced and stable as you stand, walk, run, bend, reach, and stretch.
Here’s some good news: The many muscle groups of the core work with the pelvic floor. So, every time you do a core workout (like crunches, leg raises, and planks), you’re probably working in a bit of pelvic floor fitness, too.
But…Core exercises alone won’t cut it when it comes to exercising your pelvic floor muscles. Worse, overdoing it with crunches and sit-ups can put excessive pressure on the abdominal cavity. This can damage the pelvic floor and lead to bladder leaks from stress urinary incontinence.
The bottom line: Balance is the key when it comes to core and Kegel exercises.
Here are 3 essential at-home exercises to help you strengthen different core muscle groups—including the Kegel muscles—simultaneously. Who doesn’t like a two-for-one special?
- Bridge pose with Kegels
Incorporating Kegels into bridge pose is a great way to strengthen your glutes, abs, and pelvic floor muscles all at the same time. Specifically, bridge pose works the obliques, rectus abdominus (part of the “six-pack”), erector spinae (deep back muscles), and hamstrings. It’s also a great pose for stretching the chest, neck, spine, and hips.To get into the pose, lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Pressing the feet into the floor, slowly lift the hips off the ground. Once you’re in the pose, hold it, and do one set of 10 Kegel squeezes. Bring your hips down to the ground, relax for 10 seconds, and repeat. Tip: To improve stability in the pose, try squeezing your shoulder blades together a bit before bringing your hips off the floor.
Not sure how to properly do Kegels? You’re not alone. Check out our quick guide on how to do them right.
- The Kegel-Clamshell
With an isolated Kegel added to the mix, the clamshell is great for strengthening different muscles, many of which are activated during sex; over time, this can help heighten sexual pleasure and intensify orgasms. To do the clamshell, lay on your side with your head propped up on one arm and your knees bent. While raising your outer leg, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and hold for 5 seconds, then release while bringing your leg down to rest on top of the other. Aim for 2 sets of 10 reps.
- Thigh Squeeze + Kegels
Suitable for people of almost every age and ability, thigh squeezes with Kegels are also great for the glutes (which, remember, are part of your core!). To do them, sit at the edge of a sturdy chair, place a resistance band around your thighs, and bring the feet together flat on the floor (if you don’t have a resistance band, we highly recommend investing in one—so versatile!). Bring your knees apart, feeling the resistance of the bands, and then bring them back together while contracting your inner thigh and glute muscles. Relax for 10 seconds and repeat. Aim for 2 to 3 sets of 20 reps.
Don’t Forget Targeted Kegels
These moves are a great way to incorporate Kegels into everyday exercises. But, there’s no substitute for doing focused Kegels.
This is where PeriCoach can be a huge help. At least half of women don’t correctly squeeze their pelvic floor muscles with written instructions. PeriCoach is a vaginally-insertable Kegel device that guides you through the exercises and displays your progress on your smartphone—in real time! Two out of three women using PeriCoach are able to improve their ‘kegel technique’ and they also have a program, , that will guide you to optimal progress. Nearly 80% of women improving their pelvic floor strength and 88% of participants reporting reduction in bladder leaks.
Learn more about how PeriCoach works and get started with targeted fitness for the pelvic floor today.