One of my New Year’s resolutions is to do more Kegels. I have never liked to do these exercises and I figured it was because I couldn’t really see the results. But I came across an article by physical therapist Tasha Mulligan, who explained another reason many women don’t like to do Kegels. She also gives us a tip on how to do them better. Hopefully others can benefit from reading this article as well! You can also check out Tasha’s excellent “Hab It” Blog!
By Tasha Mulligan
So many women have been told to “do your Kegels.” They may do hundreds each day with no results. Talk about frustration! What they need to recognize is the importance and key role of their transversus abdominus (TA) muscle in relieving symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction (including both prolapse and incontinence). This isn’t so much the fault of the women receiving the message but, rather, the fault of the health care provider giving this incomplete instruction.
Activating your TA muscle is a step beyond a simple Kegel, and will actually lift your pelvic floor. It will draw the muscles and the connective tissue of your entire pelvis to a higher, tighter position. To give you a clear visual of your TA muscle, you can simply place your hands on your hips, then slide your hands forward until your fingers touch. Your fingers from your thumbs down to your pinkies are the fibers of your TA muscle. They enclose the front of your pelvic cavity and encircle the soft tissue within your pelvis, attaching to the fascia of your spine in back. In order to engage or activate your TA muscle, you can focus on drawing your belly button “up and in.”
Engaging the co-contraction of your TA muscle and your pelvic floor muscles is the deepest contraction that offers stability to you lower lumbar spine, hips, and pelvis. Get to know these muscles. They are the root of your core! Stopping short and only contracting your pelvic floor leaves your spine, hips, and pelvis very vulnerable to dysfunction. We see evidence of this in the frustration so many women experience with “doing their Kegels.”