Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, strengthen the pubococcygeus muscles and were originally designed in 1948 by California gynecologist Dr. Arnold Kegel for women experiencing urinary incontinence. Research published in the Journal of Urology has shown that men also get benefits from pelvic floor exercises after a prostate cancer surgery or radiation. Grace Dorey recommends Kegel exercises to treat erectile dysfunction and to increase men’s sexual performance.
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Locating the Muscles
The easiest way to locate your pelvic floor muscles is to stop the urine flow next time you go to the bathroom. Once you find them, feel accurately where they are located, because it is easy to compensate for the weak pelvic floor muscles using the thighs, glutes and abdominals. These must stay relaxed during the exercises. For best results, perform the Kegel exercises daily in different positions, such as lying, seated or standing.
Focus on a high quality of each contraction. Tighten the muscles around the anus and the urethra and “lift” them up. Contract them fully and hold the maximum contraction for at least 10 seconds or as long as you can. Relax for one minute and repeat. Work yourself up to one-minute contractions. Do this exercise three to four times a day to increase the endurance of the muscles.
In this exercise, you practice control. Perform a sequence of fast and strong contractions--one quick maximum contraction followed by an immediate relaxation. Keep contracting until you lose control over the muscles. In the beginning, you may be able to contract and relax for only five to 10 seconds. With regular practice at least three to four times a day, you will be able to work yourself up to one minute of rapid powerful contractions.
Contract the muscles powerfully and hold the contraction for three to five seconds and then relax completely for two to three seconds. Keep contracting and relaxing rhythmically for three to five minutes. With regular practice, you will be able to do this exercise for up to 20 minutes and you will improve strength, endurance and control of the muscles.
Listen to something that has rhythm, such as music. Perform a sequence of rapid contractions for one rhythmic segment and then do endurance contractions for another segment. The length of the segments does not matter. The goal is to vary the style of contractions. This exercise is difficult, and you don't need to do it daily. Do it three times per week for the maximum possible time that you can.