Kegel exercises are basic clench-and-release exercises that help strengthen your pelvic floor. The pelvis is the area between your hips that houses your reproductive organs.
The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that support the bladder, control the flow of urine, and control ejaculate during intercourse. There are three pelvic muscles in men:
- Bladder. This is a balloon-shaped muscle that holds your urine in.
- sphincter muscles. These muscles help with the closure and opening of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that drains urine from the bladder.
- Pelvic floor muscles. Another name for this muscle is pubococcygeus (pu-bo-kak-sije-us) is also known as the PC muscle. It supports the rectum and bladder and controls urine flow.
If you have a weak pelvic floor, you may have a number of problems, such as an inability to control your bladder or bowels.
Once you learn and master Kegel exercises, you will have the ability to do them anytime and anywhere, whether in your own home, or while standing in line at the bank.
Why should you do Kegel exercises?
Every man has a gland known as the prostate. The prostate gland is the size of a walnut. It is located under the bladder surrounding the top of the urethra. The urethra transports urine through the penis to the outside of the body. The prostate gland is surrounded by many muscles. These muscles weaken as a person ages, or during treatment for prostate cancer. Pelvic floor muscle weakness can cause a person to leak urine – known clinically as incontinence. By strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, you’ll have the ability to control the flow of your bladder and urine. It’s important to note that strengthening your pelvic floor muscles takes time, just like building your biceps or any other muscle in your body.
How to find the pelvic floor muscles in men
Most men find it difficult to identify the right pelvic floor muscle group. One way to properly locate the pelvic floor muscles is to insert a finger into the rectum and try to squeeze it. This should be done in such a way that you do not strain your thigh, buttocks, or stomach muscles.
Another way to do this is to tense the muscles that release gas. If it is still supplying you with trouble, then practice stopping the flow of urine. Stopping the flow of urine is a good and reliable method of locating the pelvic floor muscles. But try not to make this a routine practice.
Men can even locate their pelvic floor muscles with the help of biofeedback. If you are still having trouble locating your pelvic floor muscles on your own, make an appointment with your healthcare provider.
4 Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor
Here’s the thing – the pelvic floor can be activated anytime, anywhere. However, it is also important to incorporate specific exercises that target and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
One way this is finished is by categorizing the exercises for men with hypotonic pelvic floor muscles and those with hypertonic pelvic floor muscles.
Hypotonic means low tone pelvic floor problems with a need to strengthen and increase strength and endurance.
1. Quick flick of Kegel
This exercise requires a fast contraction of the pelvic floor. This will activate ad strengthen your pelvic floor to stop leakage when you cough or sneeze.
- Start by lying on the ground. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground. As you get more used to this exercise, try doing it in a standing or sitting position.
- Locate your pelvic floor muscles using the tips described above.
- Exhale, pull your navel towards your spine, quickly contracting and releasing the pelvic floor muscles. Contract for at least one second before releasing.
- Breathe steadily.
- Do 10 more quick snaps, then relax for 10 seconds. Try 2-3 sets.
2. Heel slide
The heel slide increases pelvic floor contraction even though it particularly targets the deep abdominal muscles. Here’s how to do it:
- Start by lying on the ground. Bend your knees while placing your pelvis in a neutral position.
- Inhale deeply into your ribs. After that, you exhale through your mouth, letting your ribs compress naturally.
- Pull in your pelvic floor, lock your core, and slide your right heel away from you. Go as far as you can, but just be sure that you do not lose the connection you have with your innermost core.
- Find the bottom position, inhale and return your legs to the starting position.
- Do 10 slides per side before switching to the other leg.
3. Foot tapping (Marches)
Much like heel slides, toe taps build your core stability and increase pelvic floor contraction.
- Start by lying on the ground. Bend your knees and place your pelvis in a neutral position.
- Breathe into your rib cage, and exhale through your mouth, letting your ribs compress naturally.
- Pull in your pelvic floor and lock your core
- Raise your legs slowly to a tabletop position
- Lower this leg slowly to the starting position
- Repeat the movement while alternating legs. There should be no pain in your lower back. Make sure you engage your core throughout the exercise.
- Change your legs 10-20 times.
4. Happy baby pose
Hypertonic exercises may be relaxing and lengthening for people who have a tight or short pelvic floor.
The goal of hypertonic pelvic floor exercises is to prolong and release your hypertonic muscles so that they contract more effectively and the muscles can work more efficiently.
Recommended exercises include:
- Start by lying on the ground, then bend your knees
- Bring your knees towards your stomach at a 90 degree angle, keeping your feet facing up.
- Grab and grip the inside or outside of your foot
- Open your knees until they extend a little more than your torso. After that, you pull your legs towards your armpits. Make sure your ankles are over your knees.
- Flex your heels, then move your feet into your hands. You can maintain this position for a few seconds or rock slowly from side to side.
Edwin Madison is a freelance health writer and founder No More PE. He has worked with leading B2B and B2C companies in the healthcare industry and his publications are featured on Yahoo News, E27 and other leading websites.