breathing techniques

Proper Kegel Breathing Techniques for Kegel Exercises


I'm Amanda Olson from, and I'm a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor rehabilitation.

A very common concern that we see at Intimate Rose, and that I actually see in the clinic, is that folks are having a hard time maintaining the weight in.

Or they are doing a Kegel while they’re inhaling. Or they find themselves holding their breath.

You'll notice in the exercises on that we instruct you to do a Kegel by inhaling and relaxing.

So you're going to keep your entire body relaxed, and then on the exhale, you do the Kegel.

On the exhale, you're gently blowing out through your mouth, as if you were going to very gently blow out one birthday candle. And at the same time, you're doing a Kegel.

That motion is meant to complement what the body does mechanically.

The reason for this is that the thorax — the area between the pelvic floor, at the bottom, and the diaphragm, at the base of the rib cage — is like a high-pressured soda can.

If you hold your breath, that pressure remains in the thorax, and all of the pressure goes down into the pelvic floor. So it goes through the intestines, over the organs, and down into the pelvic floor.

If you're trying to do a Kegel against that, the best-case scenario is it's like a salmon trying to swim upstream. And the worst-case scenario is you can get a hernia.

So the reason for the breath pattern is very specific, and it uses the body as a tool, to offer the path of least resistance.

So if you're inhaling and doing a Kegel, when you inhale, the diaphragm is filling the lungs with oxygen, and that does create downward pressure.

So we don't want to be doing the Kegel during the inhale; we want to wait until the exhale.

The funny thing about breathing is we do it all day, every day. But as soon as you’re drawing your attention to it, all of a sudden, it becomes this very challenging thing.

Then you add a Kegel on top of that, and it's a coordinated movement that a lot of people have never had to do.

It's a bit like learning to drive a manual transmission in a car. So don't be frustrated; it's very common to struggle with it initially.

Just like a clutch, it can be very difficult to control at first, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. It just takes practice.

So if this is something that's particularly challenging for you, one of the ways to get better at it is to just practice that breath pattern.

And notice what's actually happening in the pelvic floor, without doing the contraction.

So to do that, you'll lie down flat on your back, and you're going to inhale. And when you inhale, you're going to allow your belly to rise up gently towards the ceiling; so you're just going to fill your abdomen with air, gently inhaling.

And then you'll exhale gently, out of your mouth, and your abdomen is going come back down. You're not going to force it out; you're just going let gravity do its job.

So while you're lying there, breathe that way for a few minutes.

Then start noticing what's happening in your pelvic floor while you're breathing that way.

What you'll notice is that on the inhale, there's a slight downward pressure on the pelvic floor, and on the exhale, it gently lifts up.

This is a very small movement. It's not going to feel earth-shattering; it's very slight.

So start noticing that movement.

Then you can start capitalizing on that, by contracting into the Kegel with the exhale.

Practice the Kegel in that position first, and then you can add the weight, and it will feel more coordinated, and it should feel a lot easier.

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