Since I wrote an article on Kegel Exercises and praised them to my readers, because they work for me very well, I’ve come across a couple of contradicting theories, maintaining that Kegel Exercises are “bad” for us and that we should stop doing them. I am a big fan of Kegels and most of the time I would recommend them, but it’s always good to look at the other side of the argument as well…maybe there is a point to it.
The Main Anti-Kegels Source
I know, I feel like I’m running around saying “The Sky Is Falling, The Sky Is Falling”. The misunderstanding of pelvic floor issues is so widespread, I’m a Team of One right now. But, I’ve got all of the science backing it up and it makes sense, the Kegel is just such a huge part of our inherited cultural information, no one bothered to fully examine it.
And she is right, Kegels are a huge part of our pelvic floor strengthening program. Most doctors will recommend Kegels to their patients who have pelvic floor issues. And she is also right, she is one of the few who are running around saying “Kegels are Bad”.
Bowman’s main point is that the cause of pelvic floor issues is the sacrum (see picture) moving into the pelvic “bowl.” And the consequence is the more inward the sacrum gets the weaker our pelvic floor gets. The pelvic floor is like a trampoline – when the sacrum moves inward the bounciness of the trampoline gets lost and the pelvic floor sags more.
And What has This to Do with Kegels?
A Kegel attempts to strengthen the pelvic floor, but it really only continues to pull the sacrum inward promoting even more weakness, and more pelvic floor gripping. The muscles that balance out the anterior pull on the sacrum are the glutes. A lack of glutes (having no butt) is what makes this group so much more susceptible to pelvic floor disorder. Zero lumbar curvature (missing the little curve at the small of the back) is the most telling sign that the pelvic floor is beginning to weaken. An easier way to say this is: Weak glutes + too many Kegels = Pelvic Floor Disorders.
I can see the point Bowman makes, that overdoing Kegels might make the situation worse, especially when the person already has a very tight pelvis. Also when she says that working on only one part of our pelvic floor brings an imbalance to this area. So what I am receptive to is the need to implement deep squats and lower core exercises into my pelvic floor training to make sure my gluteal (butt) muscles and lower core muscles are strong and neat.
However I cannot understand Bowman’s insistence on dropping the Kegels completely, because a great deal of research has been done showing the tremendous benefits of preparing our pelvic floor through Kegels for activities such as lifting, coughing, sneezing and holding a full bladder… What Bowman completely ignores is that Kegels bring great awareness to our most intimate body part and improve our sex life immensely – they keep my vagina healthy and make all flabbiness go away.
Kegels can be overdone, Kegels can be done completely incorrectly (check here out how to do them correctly) and Kegels should be practiced together with butt- and core-strengthening exercises.
So SQUEEZE and…
Any other ideas on this topic will be highly appreciated!
Pictures by: fixedgear, Flickr; sanchom, Flickr; Arya Ziai, Flickr.