If you are dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction or just want to find a way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, you probably have heard of Kegels exercise before. There are several reasons the method becomes so popular. However, as much as the doctors try to convince you that it is so simple, many women could not figure out how to do Kegels properly. If you are one of them, well, this article is for you!
It is embarrassing to say, but my first time trying Kegels was a disaster. Of course, there wasn’t any video tutorial nor anyone that could show me exactly how to do it. Despite finding out the correct muscles, my abdomen still suffered from pain. After a few days of trying, I gave up on the method.
“Didn’t you train your pelvic floor at all?”, you might ask. Fortunately, there are still many methods to strengthen pelvic floor muscles without Kegels. Today, let me reveal the six ways I have been using. They are not only safe but also effortless, and any lady can practice them at ease!
Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscles Without Kegels – Some Alternatives.
Some women’s health specialists have suggested three methods: The clamshell, sidestep, and child’s pose as alternatives for the Kegels exercises. These three exercises share a thing in common: They all cause a hip abduction. That’s the reason why scientists have proven them to be effective in treating pelvic floor dysfunction and dealing with urinary incontinence. It’s a good idea to get yourself a yoga mat or find a soft surface before trying these movements.
1. The Clamshell.
Perhaps this is the first time you have heard about this name. Among the countless exercises, the clamshell is not as popular as squats, lunge, leg press, etc. Still, you will be surprised at the positive effects it can bring to your body.
The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy has published a study showing clamshell’s effect in strengthening the hip. It’s also best for hip injury treatment and prevention. Hence, though not popular with people who work out, clamshell has been added into physical therapy to help with back pain and sciatica. The movements tackle pains by improving the core and lower back muscles.
Most importantly, the clamshell exercise can train the gluteus medius. It is a group of muscles located in the outer space of the pelvis and responsible for managing the pelvis’ stabilization. It also helps balance the muscular effort between your inner, outer thighs and the pelvic floor. Hence, you can lower the risk of pelvic floor muscles’ injury.
To perform the clamshell exercise, follow these five steps:
- Lie on your side, with legs stacked and knees bent at a 45-degree angle.
- Use your top arm to maintain the frame while resting your head on the lower arm. One of the most common mistakes while performing this exercise is to let the top hip rock backward. Please make sure that your hipbones are stacked on top of one another.
- Keep your belly button stick to the spine to engage your abdominals. It helps stabilize your spine and pelvis.
- Keep your feet touching and raise the upper knee as high as possible without shifting your hips or pelvis. Remember not to move your legs off the floor.
- Stop, then return your upper legs to the starting position on the ground. Repeat the movements 15 – 20 times on each side.
Yes, we do walk every day, but did you know that walking sideways requires a different set of muscles from walking straight ahead? Sidestepping can strengthen your abdominals, lower back, hips, and pelvis. What’s more, it also improves the balance between the pelvic floor and two legs, and flexibility and spatial awareness.
The sidestep exercise is added to physical therapy to treat lower-extremity injury. Scientifically, it is one of the most efficient and productive exercises that patients perform during treatment sessions. Therefore, it is safe for everyone to perform, even if you are pregnant or nursing. Moreover, this exercise doesn’t strain your joints. Suppose you are middle-aged and are dealing with joint problems such as arthritis; it will be a comfortable choice for you to strengthen pelvic floor muscles without Kegels.
The exercise consists of four simple steps:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Go into a squat.
- Step to the side with your right foot before bringing it back to the starting position.
- Repeating using your left foot. It is best to do 20 repetitions.
3. Child’s Pose.
The child’s pose requires you to stretch your lower back and muscles around your hip. What’s more, it also helps you relax your inner thigh. This movement is helpful for those dealing with an overactive pelvic floor and those with tight back or hip muscles. Although the first few practices can be intense, all of your lower muscles shall be relaxed as you get beyond that.
The exercise promotes flexibility and stress relief. It also supports circulation to the muscles, joints, and disks of the back.
In this pose, you need to:
- Kneel and sit on your knees.
- Lean forward, keep your button on your heels, and rest your forehead on the floor.
- Move your arms, so they are next to your legs, palm facing up.
- Inhale and exhale, slowly and deeply. Maintain the pose for at least eight breaths.
For some people, it might be challenging to keep their heads on the floor. In that case, you can try out this variation:
- Kneel and sit on your knees with your legs slightly apart.
- Lean forward, fold your arms in front of you on the floor, and rest your forehead on your arms.
- Inhale and exhale, slowly and deeply. Maintain the pose for at least eight breaths.
As mentioned above, this exercise can bring pain at first. Most of us have very tight hip muscles due to the predominance of sitting in our daily activities. Practice with a pillow can help you have a comfortable start, making it easier to relax your hip joints and pelvic floor muscles deeply while in the pose.
Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscles Without Kegels – Yoga Poses.
Some studies have indicated that yoga can help with the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction. That’s why aside from the three exercises above, I would like to introduce four yoga poses that you can perform effortlessly, both while standing and while laying down.
Aside from strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, they effectively lower stress, improve circulation by reducing pressure in the legs’ veins, and relieve lower back pain. Moreover, they also help to reduce menstrual cramps and promote better sleep.
1. Legs Up The Wall.
Legs up the wall (or Viparita Karani) is very approachable for those new to working out. Being a passive exercise, it doesn’t require much flexibility or strength. This restorative posture relaxes the lower back and pelvic floor muscles. Thus, it is very effective for those who are dealing with a hypertonic pelvic floor.
For your convenience, take a yoga mat or a towel and place it where the floor and wall meet. If you are lying on a hard surface, you can place a pillow underneath your head as well. The pose is exactly how it sounds:
- Sit on the yoga mat or towel, then lie down on the floor.
- Place your legs on the wall so that the back of your thighs are touching the wall and your heel parallel with the floor.
- Keep your tailbone sitting on top of the mat/towel while your buttocks remain a few inches from the wall.
- Relax your knees and let your legs touch the wall. At this point, you should feel a slight stretch.
- Maintain the position for 5 – 20 minutes.
2. Wishbone Stretch.
Just like legs up the wall, you can practice wishbone stretch while laying down. Although it is not as popular as the pose above, wishbone stretch also poses many benefits to the body. It helps to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, improve digestion, relieve low back tension, soothes swollen or cramped feet and legs.
There are six steps for you to follow:
- Extend your legs up to the sky.
- Cross your thighs, one over the other.
- Bend your knees, pick up your head and reach for your ankles.
- Lower your head back down (you have the option of resting your head on a pillow for more comfort).
- Squeeze your inner thighs together as you actively pull your feet away from each other.
- Hold and breathe for at least 30 seconds, focusing on inhaling.
- Repeat on the other side.
Though legs up the wall and wishbone stretch are effective methods to strengthen pelvic floor muscles without Kegels, they might not suit everyone like the first three. These poses can increase pressure around the heart and upper body. Therefore, they can be harmful to women who:
- Are pregnant.
- Have high blood pressure or heart disease.
- Have chronic leg swelling.
- Suffer from a neck or back injury.
3. Mountain pose.
If you prefer a standing pose, the mountain pose is perfect for you. It focuses on strengthening your inner thighs, your abdominals, and lower back, as well as your pelvic floor muscles. Even pregnant women can practice the mountain pose without any risk.
To perform this, you simply:
- Stand up with your feet apart and your hands resting at your sides.
- Place a yoga block or a thick book between your thighs.
- Engage your inner thighs and try to lift the block upward.
These are the exercises I practiced instead of the traditional Kegels exercise. They are much easier to perform and to get the techniques correctly. The most important thing is, aside from strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, they also tone inner thighs, strengthen hip muscles, and lower the risk of injury.
However, depending on your body type, the effect of these exercises might vary. To ensure the best result, one might require a more systematic approach.
Today, we would like to introduce a comprehensive solution,
The Pelvic Floor Strong Program By Alex Miller!
Alex is a women’s health specialist from Canada. After seeing how much her mother recovered by following the methods, she created the Pelvic Floor Strong program. Alex knew that many women were suffering from embarrassing bladder leakage and wanted to do something for them. What intrigued me the most was that she included a simple 3-step movement that guarantees to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. No equipment is needed, and it is 100% effortless!
It is undoubtedly the secret technique all busy women would crave to regain the flexibility of their pelvic floor.
Cindy, one of our loyal readers, experienced the program, applied the 3-step movement, and said it ultimately saved her life. When Cindy came to us, she suffered from bladder leakage, which dramatically affected her marriage life. The more she tried, the more she worried that her incontinence would ruin the moment with her husband. In the end, her marriage was on the brink of divorce. In her darkest days, she discovered Pelvic Floor Strong and asked Linkingo to look at the program.
After reading our detailed analysis on the Pelvic Floor Strong that we had spent many hours researching, Cindy decided to give Pelvic Floor Strong a try. “You can’t imagine how happy I was when I felt the change”, she said to us, “after 2 weeks, my leakage just stopped magically. That’s not the only thing. I felt happier, healthier, and more active. I often felt fatigued in the morning, but now that feeling is gone. Above all, the program has saved our marriage”.
The best thing is, you don’t have to spend too much time or effort to make this magic happen. It takes you only a few minutes a day to perform the 3-step movement to strengthen your pelvic floor and put an end to incontinence. It is 100% safe and effective.
Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscles Without Kegels – Final Verdict.
The Kegels exercise has long been a famous method to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. However, the techniques to perform it correctly are rather hard to grab. Worry not, though, because it is not the only way! All the exercises and poses we mention above (the clamshell, sidestep, child’s pose, legs up the wall, wishbone stretch, and mountain pose) are effective and effortless in improving your pelvic floor muscles. However, if you prefer a well-organized method, you should check out the Pelvic Floor Strong program to achieve better results.
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