We ladies know kegels all too well, in fact, there’s a good chance you’re practicing your kegel exercises right now, as you read this. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is not only proven to help increase those mind-blowing orgasms, but help decrease bladder leakage that, as I learned in an interview with Brooke Burke, a whopping 1 in 3 women of every age have to deal with.
What I didn’t about kegel exercises, however, is that strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can actually help improve your fitness performance, especially if you’re a runner.
So, what does the pelvic floor have to do with running?
To be honest, I had no idea. Which is why an email that landed in my inbox yesterday, with a headline about ‘kegel-ing across the finish’ line, caught my attention right away. It also made me LOL and click it open rather than a quick delete. Full disclosure: the information below has been provided by the Elvie Trainer team, but I couldn’t help but think that this shit was just too good not to share, especially with marathon season coming up! Keep reading for more on what you need to know running and your kegels:
5 Pelvic Floor Exercises for Runners:
In relation to running, the pelvic muscle group also helps stabilize the core and prevent injury during exercise. As a high impact sport, running creates a lot of physical force in the body with each stride. When our feet make contact with the concrete, this impact travels up the legs and through the pelvic floor. This can lead to progressive weakening of the muscles and so stress incontinence is a relatively common complaint among runners (and other athletes too).
In fact, sports and urinary incontinence are more closely linked than you might have thought; pelvic floor dysfunction is widely experienced, with studies reporting over 50% of elite female athletes experience leakage during exercise, and yet only 3.3% have discussed it with their doctor, and only 4.6% had tried pelvic floor training.
As they say, prevention is better than a cure. To keep you fighting fit, here are five pelvic floor exercises to get these deep-core muscles in top condition, so you can take home the gold…
Work on building up your core strength and pelvic floor control with regular pelvic floor or Kegel training. Biofeedback devices, like Elvie Trainer, connect to an app that helps you visualize the exercises in real-time and can even guide you a fun, five-minute workout that exercises every aspect of your pelvic floor. It can be really tricky to know if you’re exercising correctly and to stay motivated, but Evie Trainer can detect the direction of your contractions and alert you if you’re exercising incorrectly. The app also tracks your workout history and progress over time so that you don’t get bored or give up!
Using exercises that isolate the pelvic floor is the first step in building core stability… which means fewer leaks! Once you’ve perfected the technique for Kegel exercises, it’s time to incorporate the pelvic floor into more dynamic movements.
Lie on your back with bent knees and make sure you have your neck well supported. Hold a small weight with both hands and hold them out above you. While you hold this position, take a deep breath, and relax your pelvic floor
As you breathe out, squeeze your pelvic floor, and continue to do so as you lift your hips. Push through your heels, and make sure your ribs are aligned with your hips. Continue to squeeze as you lower your arms to your hips
Breathe in again, relaxing your pelvic floor as you move back into the starting position. Repeat 8 times.
Stand placing your feet hip-width apart, then step backwards onto your right foot. Place the ball of the right foot onto the floor, keeping your shin straight and maintaining balance over your front foot
Take a deep breath as you bend your knees, lowering your body until your right knee is just above the ground. Maintain this position for few moments
Breathe out and squeeze your pelvic floor, continue to exhale and lift as you push through your left heel and rise to stand. Repeat this 8 times for each foot
Start by getting into a plank position, anchoring yourself on your elbows with your feet hip width apart. Breathe in as you relax your pelvic floor, drawing your right knee in towards your chest
Breathe out, squeezing your pelvic floor. As you do so, extend your right leg to “kick” yourself in the bum, keeping your knee bent. Inhale as you relax your muscles and draw your knee back to the starting position. Repeat 8 times, remembering to switch sides
Stand with your back against a wall, placing your feet hip width apart
Take a deep breath, relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. As you exhale, lower yourself into a 90 degree squat against the wall, squeezing your pelvic floor as you do so
Hold this position for 20 seconds, maintaining an engaged pelvic floor as you breathe. Return to a standing position and slowly relax your pelvic floor as you do so. Repeat 8 times
As you continue this exercise, gradually increase the amount of time you hold the sitting position, working your way up to a minute wall sit (we believe in you!)
Good luck on race day!