So, here’s what happened. Waaaay back in May, biomedical scientist Katy Bowman caused quite a ripple in the blogosphere when, during an interview about pelvic fitness on the blog Mama Sweat, she said, “Ditch the kegels.”
Bowman’s actual statement was this: “A kegel attempts to strengthen the PF, but it really only continues to pull the sacrum inward promoting even more weakness, and more PF gripping.”
“The muscles that balance out the anterior pull on the sacrum are the glutes. A lack of glutes (having no butt) is what makes this group so much more susceptible to PFD. Zero lumbar curvature (missing the little curve at the small of the back) is the most telling sign that the PF is beginning to weaken. Deep, regular squats (pictured in hunter-gathering mama) create the posterior pull on the sacrum. Peeing like this in the shower is a great daily practice, as is relaxing the PF muscles to make sure that you’re not squeezing the bathroom muscle closers too tight. Just close them enough… An easier way to say this is: Weak glutes + too many Kegels = PFD.”
It was a hugely popular post, drawing in over a hundred comments and questions and prompted a follow-up question where Bowman went into far more detail on her position. She posted about the story on her own blog and then even faced someone called the Kegel Queen, respectfully interviewing her majesty and sharing her position.
So, here is our own respectful response- if kegels are performed correctly and regularly, medical research shows that they do work!
Proper alignment is important in any exercise program; You’ve heard Diane Lee, world-class Canadian physiotherapist, lament on this blog the related alignment “no no” – “butt clenching”! Butt clenching sends that tailbone in the wrong direction (i.e. tucked under), which affects not only the pelvic floor, but the low back and entire pelvic alignment.
At WHF, we wish for all women to consider themselves “Kegel queens” (matter of fact, we want a crown too!) and that every woman have, at some point in her life, a “Kegel coach.” Why not? Why not ask someone to check your alignment, function, exercise routine, breathing – I mean, we do it every day at the gym with our bicep curls or chest presses. I know, I know, these muscles are tough to check out at the gym, but they AREN’T tough to check. You just need your coach.
We continue to beat the drum for pelvic floor physical therapists, pelvic floor friendly nurses and even that occasional, amazing doctor who actually works with women of all ages to identify, isolate and maintain the health and function of their pelvic floors. These are the coaches that really put the “personal” in personal training!
Our DVD walks you through a (SFW) pelvic floor workout, then puts this important muscle group together with other muscles in the Pelvic Pyramid – ’cause as we know for everyone in this field, everything needs to work together to keep us pain free, leak free, drop free and SEXY!
Thank you, ladies, for the chatter – as Coco Chanel said, “Even bad publicity is good publicity.” And our friendly pelvic floor muscles need all the PR they can get. Don’t forget them; remember it’s truly, “Move It or Lose It!” in our field.