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Why I don’t teach kegels on their own any more?

By: Emma Bromley

I used to teach kegels as a stand alone exercise, but in my lifelong ‘research paper’ on the pelvic floor, I have learnt that the pelvic floor was never designed to function/move on its own. It was designed to move in tandem with the diaphragm and it actually behaves and functions infinitely better that way.

If the pelvic floor is the baby hammock (see previous post), the diaphragm is the Mommy hammock that attaches to the bottom of your ribcage and expands and contracts as you inhale and exhale. These two muscles are meant to move together which is why the breathing (pelvic floor training) I teach incorporates BOTH rather than squeezing the pelvic floor muscle (kegels).

The reason why this tandem movement of the two muscles moving as one is so important is because as you exhale, we want both the diaphragm AND the pelvic floor to lift. Now here’s the really important part… As you INHALE, we want both the diaphragm AND the pelvic floor to move down (i.e lengthen). Lengthening AND Strengthening. So as you exhale, you have this opportunity to strengthen the pelvic floor, and as you inhale you have an opportunity to stretch it. As with every other muscle in the body, we don’t just need them to be strong, we also need them to be FLEXIBLE. When we only strengthen a muscle without also stretching it, those muscles easily become very tight, and therefore can become painful and/or disfunctional. Cue pelvic floor dysfunction.

So when we do something like yoga breathing for example where we breathe into the belly, while that breathing technique is absolutely not wrong for the purposes of yoga, it’s not how you want to be breathing in general because it’s not how the body was ‘designed’ to breathe. It’s fine for a yoga class, but the issue becomes when we retrain the body to breathe ineffectively in general.

This type of breathing is the foundation of my 12 week course and we incorporate it into every abdominal exercise. If you’ve been doing all the core exercises and not getting the results you used to, it’s very likely that something is up with your breathing. You’d be surprised how many of us breathing inefficiently!

So the next time you go to do your kegels, try this Pelvic Floor Workout instead:

Free pelvic floor training:


Bio:Emma Bromley is a Pilates Instructor, Pelvic Floor Specialist and best-selling author of The Pelvic Floor. After struggling with a severe diastasis (abdominal separation) following the birth of her child, Emma refused to believe that surgery was the only option to heal. Having now fully healed through the power of intentional movement and the breath, she’s now passionate about sharing her knowledge with others so that you too can experience the freedom that comes with having a healthy pelvic floor (less leaking, less back pain, more functional workouts, more enjoyable sex etc).