The best results will be achieved by seeking help from a physiotherapist (with training in continence) who will design an individual training programme especially suited to you.
Where are my pelvic floor muscles?
The first step is to correctly identify the muscles.
- Sit or lie down on a comfortable surface like your bed.
- Relax your thighs, buttocks, and tummy/puku muscles. Breath normally, don’t hold your breath or change your breathing pattern.
- To get the correct contraction, imagine you trying to hold a fart in by squeezing your back passage closed. Hold this for 5 seconds and then relax your muscles. Alternatively imagine bringing your ‘nuts to guts’ or shortening your penis.
- If you aren't sure if you have found the correct muscles, stand in front of a mirror naked. Do the contraction and watch what happens to your penis and testicles – you should see a small dip above your penis and your testicles should lift up a little bit. You can also place two fingers just under your scrotum on the flat skin and feel for a tightening under your fingers when you do the contraction. If you see the lift or feel the tightening, you are doing the contraction correctly.
If you are unable to feel any definite squeeze and lift action in your pelvic floor muscles, it is important that you seek professional advice from a pelvic health physiotherapist or continence advisor. They can assess you to make sure you are doing the exercises correctly.Here is a directory of pelvic health physiotherapists(external link) in Aotearoa New Zealand.
How should I exercise them?
Do the contraction exercises daily for the best improvement possible. Long contractions of the muscle (up to 10 seconds) combined with short fast contractions (10 times for 1 second) work the best to get your pelvic floor strong with great control. At first you may need to perform these exercises while sitting or lying down. As the muscles strengthen, you can move on to exercising standing up. As with any muscle training activity, start with what you can achieve and progress from there. Over time, increase both how long you hold the contraction for, as well as how many times you repeat the exercise in a row.