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What is a Reverse Kegel, Know the Benefits and Precautions

What is a Reverse Kegel?

A reverse Kegel is a type of simple stretching exercise that helps the pelvic floor muscles relax. (1, 2) Practicing reverse Kegel helps relieve pelvic pain and tension while also increasing flexibility. Reverse Kegels are the exact opposite of traditional Kegels. The focus of reverse Kegels is on releasing and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, while traditional Kegels focus on the contraction and release of the pelvic region. Both types of Kegels help increase the balance of your pelvic floor.(3, 4, 5)

What are the Benefits of Reverse Kegels?

Both reverse and traditional Kegels are known for their potential positive impact on your sex life. These exercises are believed to also increase libido and allow people to experience stronger orgasms. Reverse Kegels, especially, are said to help make sex more enjoyable for women who have dyspareunia, a medical term used to describe painful intercourse.(6, 7)

Reverse Kegels are also said to be beneficial for women during childbirth. This is because the exercise teaches women how to let go of the pelvic floor, which is helpful during childbirth.

Reverse Kegels can help men as well. In men, reverse Kegels can help increase stamina, strength, and control in the muscles of the penis. This exercise may help improve the symptoms of erectile dysfunction and also help in the prevention of premature ejaculation. (8)

Reverse Kegels can help elongate the pelvic muscles and also improve muscle control in both men and women. This can help alleviate many conditions that are related to pelvic tension, such as constipation and muscular imbalance. It can also help enhance lower back strength, bladder control and give better hip stability.(9, 10)

How Do You Know The Right Muscles In Reverse Kegels?

Many people get confused about which muscles they need to target while doing any type of Kegels. It is important to locate and identify the right muscles before you try out a reverse Kegel. For most people, dropping the pelvic floor is likely to feel similar to the release you feel when you have a bowel movement, or urinate. Due to this, it is very important that you empty your bowels and bladder before you attempt the reverse Kegel. This will let you practice this exercise without the fear of having an accident.(11)

When you are ready, focus on releasing the same muscles while you inhale. As you take in oxygen, your diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles will lower.

How To Do A Reverse Kegel?

Even though men and women practice the exercise differently, the main foundation of reverse Kegel remains the same for both genders. The purpose is to lengthen the muscles between the tailbone and pubic bone.

Women

Women can do a reverse Kegel while standing, sitting, or lying down on their back. Keep your knees bent. Once you are in position, take a deep breath in and bring your awareness to your pelvic floor. Relax the pelvic muscles first and then drop down as you inhale.

You can also use a mirror to check the movement of the exercise. You will find that your anus will release as the space between the vagina and the anus moves down. At the same time, you should feel the space between the tailbone and the pubic bone expanding.

Hold this reverse Kegel for five seconds and then release it again for the same amount of time. You can do two to three sets of ten reverse Kegels throughout the day.

Once you have mastered the process, you can move on to holding and releasing the pelvic floor for longer periods of time.(12)

The important thing here is to ensure that you keep breathing while doing these exercises. It is necessary to breathe all the way into your stomach while inhaling. Do not only breathe into the chest. If you are having a difficult time doing this, try to keep your belly relaxed. It will help.

Men

Men can practice doing reverse Kegels while standing, sitting, or while lying down on their back with their knees bent. Once in this position, contract the muscles as though you are trying to pee faster or just urinate. This will relax the perineal muscle and move the pressure away from the prostate.

As you release the muscles of the anus, feel the perineal body move downward. Now lift up your testicles and panic a little bit while contracting the front penile muscles. You should feel more space being made between your tailbone and pubic bone.

Men should hold the reverse Kegel for five seconds and release it for the same time. Continue to do two to three sets of ten reverse Kegels during the day. After mastering the technique, you can increase the time of holding and releasing the muscles.

As with women, it is important for men also to keep breathing while doing these reverse Kegel exercises. Breathe all the way into the stomach while inhaling instead of breathing into the chest.

Conclusion: What Precautions to Take While Doing Reverse Kegels?

It is important to remember that you should only practice reverse Kegels when you have an empty bladder. Do not overdo the exercise and overwork your muscles, especially when you are starting out. Also, make sure you are not straining or pushing. Never attempt these exercises while practicing other core exercises.

Immediately stop doing reverse Kegels if they cause any type of pain or discomfort. This is usually a sign that you are not doing the exercise properly.

You should never forget to keep breathing properly. If you are not breathing and instead hold your breath, it will end up creating more tension in the body. It is always helpful to speak with your doctor or a fitness instructor about how to learn and master this technique before you go ahead with it.

References:

  1. Towner, A., Pelvic floor release exercises with vaginismus.
  2. Flo.health – #1 mobile product for women’s health. 2021. The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Reverse Kegel Exercises. [online] Available at: <https://flo.health/menstrual-cycle/lifestyle/fitness-and-exercise/reverse-kegel> [Accessed 16 November 2021].
  3. Huang, Y.C. and Chang, K.V., 2020. Kegel Exercises. StatPearls [Internet].
  4. Kolcaba, K., Dowd, T., Winslow, E.H. and Jacobson, A.F., 2000. Kegel exercises. AJN The American Journal of Nursing, 100(11), p.59.
  5. Huang, Y.C. and Chang, K.V., 2020. Kegel Exercises. StatPearls [Internet].
  6. Cacchioni, T. and Wolkowitz, C., 2011. Treating women’s sexual difficulties: The body work of sexual therapy. Sociology of health & illness, 33(2), pp.266-279.
  7. DeLancey, J.O., Sampselle, C.M. and Punch, M.R., 1993. Kegel dyspareunia: levator ani myalgia caused by overexertion. Obstetrics and gynecology, 82(4 Pt 2 Suppl), pp.658-659.
  8. Dorey, G., Speakman, M., Feneley, R., Swinkels, A., Dunn, C. and Ewings, P., 2004. Randomised controlled trial of pelvic floor muscle exercises and manometric biofeedback for erectile dysfunction. British Journal of General Practice, 54(508), pp.819-825.
  9. Cox, S., 1995. Kegel exercises. International Journal of Childbirth Education, 10(1), p.34.
  10. Urvaylıoğlu, A.E., Kutlutürkan, S. and Kılıç, D., 2021. Effect of Kegel exercises on the prevention of urinary and fecal incontinence in patients with prostate cancer undergoing radiotherapy. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 51, p.101913.
  11. Rodas, M.C. and García-Perdomo, H.A., 2018. From Kegel exercises to pelvic floor rehabilitation: A physiotherapeutic perspective. Revista mexicana de urología, 78(5), pp.402-411.
  12. Swart, A.M., Hagerty, J., Corstiaans, A. and Rane, A., 2002. Management of the very weak pelvic floor. Is there a point?. International urogynecology journal, 13(6), pp.346-348.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 18, 2021

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