An exercise you've never heard of for a muscle you can't pronounce;
the payoffs can be huge.
The Pubococcygeal (PC) muscle isn't one that most personal trainers
spend much time on; probably because it would take the better part of
an hour to get through the correct pronunciation. But that shouldn't
stop women who are interested in improving their sexual responsiveness
and urinary tract control from shaping and toning it with a series of
simple, private exercises.
In women, the PC muscle stretches across the pelvis, and plays a key
role in regulating the movement of the urethra and vagina. Dr. Arnold
Kegel, an obstetrician practicing in the 1940s, was the first to
figure out that it could be strengthened just like any other muscle.
It began when he noticed his post-partum patients had a recurring
problem; after childbirth, many new mothers reported urinary
incontinence. The cause, he found, was that the pelvic floor muscles
in the abdomen had started to weaken with pregnancy and age, and
needed to be exercised back into shape. Once the PC muscle was
strengthened, Kegel assumed his patients would regain greater control
over their incontinence.
He was right, but there was more to his techniques than he knew at
the time. Urinary incontinence problems among his patients improved
significantly. But the exercises became much more popular when sex
experts recognized that performing them routinely increased many
women's sexual pleasure during intercourse. The reason; the exercises
tone muscles in the vagina, leading it to become narrower and
creating a sensation of increased tightness during penetration.
Starting a Kegel routine doesn't require buying any videos or joining
any gyms. The first step is locating your PC muscle. To find it,
pretend you're urinating. Then try to stop and re-start the flow
of urine. The movement that occurs in your abdomen is your PC muscle
Once you have control of it, the rest is simple. Try contracting your
PC for one second and then relaxing it. Keep it up by repeating your
contractions up to five times per set and doing at least ten sets
per day. As you become more comfortable with the contractions, try
holding them for up to three to five seconds. When you can hold for
five seconds, keep going by contracting for up to ten seconds - or as
long as your body will allow.
You won't be able to see your PC muscle contracting during your
exercise, so neither will anyone else. You can do them at any time
of the day, and nearly anywhere; at home on the couch, at work at your
desk or standing in line at the supermarket. You can also do them with
your spouse; men have PC muscles as well, and research has shown that
for men with urinary continence problems, Kegel exercises can help them
regain control too.
Stick with your Kegel routine for three months and you'll see a
noticeable improvement in both your bladder control as well as your
sexual response. Especially for women who have recently had, or are
planning on having children, Kegel's can give you a workout you won't
get anywhere else.