The TRUTH about kegels, perineal healing, and bladder control issues - friend or foe to your body?
Expert Biomechanist Katy Bowman, M.S. reveals the REAL exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and change your life.
By Mavi Gupta, M.D., C. C.Ht.
Co-creator - The Birth Relaxation Kit™
Kegel exercises tone the pubococcygeal (PC) muscle. This is the muscle you use to stop and start the flow of urine. Kegels involve isolating, tightening and releasing the PC muscles.
Women who do Kegel exercises during pregnancy often have an easier birth. Many women note that Kegels also minimize bladder control issues and hemorrhoids, promote stronger pelvic floor muscles, and aid in perineal healing.
However, new information shows that while Kegel exercises attempt to strengthen the pelvic floor, they really continue to pull the sacrum inward which promotes more weakness. Overdoing Kegels actually weakens your pelvic floor.
Katy Bowmen, M.S. brings us some revolutionary information about how your gluteus muscles are the most important in promoting stronger pelvic floor muscles. A lack of glutes (having no butt) is what makes you more susceptible to bladder issues and hemorrhoids.
Squats...And Don’t Overdo The Kegels
One common misconception is that tight muscles are strong and loose muscles are weak. Excessive Kegel exercises actually make the pelvic floor tighter and tighter, which weaken those muscles. (Most people think "tight muscle" = "strong muscle," when in this case, it is actually "tight muscle" = "weak muscle").
Instead of tightening the pelvic floor muscles, you need to lengthen them. That's where the strength comes from. How do you do that? Strengthen your gluteus muscles. One of the reasons pelvic floor disorders are so common is because we live such a sedentary life. Many of us sit on our butts all day.
Sitting on your butt all day = weak glutes
Deep, regular squats are the best way to strengthen your gluteus muscles, and therefore the best exercise for your pelvic floor. That is not to say that you shouldn't do Kegel exercises. You just don't want to do them excessively.
In fact, says Katy Bowmen, “Weak glutes + too many Kegels = Pelvic Floor Disorder.”
This misconception about Kegel exercises is so widely spread--in medical literature, books about pregnancy and birth, blogs and passed on by obstetricians, midwives and doulas. This is why Katie Bowman's information is so revolutionary. For one, it works. Two, Katie has the science to back up her findings.
She explains in this excellent video:
Don't misunderstand. Kegels are not bad. They work in the short term. While there are short term benefits of Kegels, there are longer term detriments that outweigh those benefits. If you are doing Kegels and still experiencing pelvic floor disorders--hemorrhoids, incontinence, etc.--then you need to turn your attention to your backside.
The right amount of Kegels + Squats = Strong Pelvic Floor.
My tip: do two or three squat sessions throughout the day. You can do these just about anywhere. Do Kegels, but don't overdo it.
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"Down There" For Women
No fewer than 80 percent of women will suffer pelvic floor disorders in their lifetime, yet most women have no idea that pelvic alignment is essential for pelvic floor function. Biomechanist Katy Bowman has developed a easy-to-follow protocol for stretching and strengthening the muscles that keep the pelvis aligned, allowing the pelvic floor to operate less like a "hammock" and more like a "trampoline."
Get the revolutionary DVD here.