Vaginal weight training combined with Kegel Exercise is a great way to train and strengthen your pelvic floor.
Active strengthening using vaginal weight training involves lifting and lowering a vaginal weight using the pelvic floor muscles – just as you would use weights in the gym. Active weighted Kegel exercise is a more effective method of pelvic floor strengthening when compared with the common advice to insert the vaginal weight and expect reflex pelvic floor contraction. Many women lose reflex pelvic floor contraction after childbirth.
Read on to learn about:
- Benefits of different vaginal weights
- Vaginal weight training guidelines
- Vaginal weight training FAQ
What is Vaginal Weight Training?
Vaginal weight training devices are small weights especially designed to fit within the vagina. Ideally they should sit just above the pelvic floor muscles within the vagina so that when the pelvic floor muscles contract and lift they provide additional resistance.
Vaginal weights include:
Vaginal balls are usually weighted balls that are readily combined with Kegel exercises. Ideally start with a single vaginal ball and progress to the double for increased resistance and strengthening.
Types of Vaginal Balls:
Benefits of Vaginal Balls:
- Usually well retained in the vagina for women who have pelvic floor weakness or stretched vaginal walls from vaginal birth
- Readily felt within the vagina during Kegel exercises
- Better awareness of correct Kegel action
- Progressive weights in some systems for progression (e.g. Luna Beads)
- Used readily for standing Kegel exercises
- Some of the two ball exercisers can be quite large for smaller sized women. These women are should commence with smaller diameter balls e.g. Luna Beads Mini
Vaginal weight and cone exercisers are suited to women seeking a progressive Kegel exercise system. The Aquaflex Pelvic Floor Exercise System is a weighted cone exerciser. The system consists of a cone which acts as housing for the small pelvic weights. The weights are stacked inside the cone and the cone is then inserted to sit above the pelvic floor muscles.
Benefits of Vaginal Cones:
- Progressive weights in one system for progressive strengthening
- Two sizes of cones (small, medium)
- Small cone suited to smaller sized women
- Cone size can be an issue for larger women who may find the small cone slips when standing. These women should commence with the larger cone contained in the set or instead commence with a Kegel ball exerciser.
Vaginal Weight Training Guidelines
These vaginal weight training exercises are adapted from the widely accepted muscle strength training guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine.¹
Use the most appropriate vaginal weight to start with and position the weight (vaginal ball or cone) above your pelvic floor muscles. Inserting your Kegel exerciser is similar to inserting a tampon to sit with the lowest margin approximately 2-3 cm. The best vaginal weight to start with is that weight you can comfortably lift and lower using your pelvic floor muscles.
Lift and squeeze your vaginal weight inside your body using your pelvic floor muscles. Maintain this exercise for 3-10 seconds, then lower the weight back to resting position and relax.
Rest your pelvic floor muscles until they are fully recovered from your effort. This may take 30-45 seconds and this is important to avoid over fatiguing your pelvic floor.
Repeat this action of squeezing, lifting and fully relaxing your pelvic floor muscles up to 8-12 times in a row if you can for one full set of exercises.
Repeat up to 3 sets of exercises on your vaginal weight training day.
Use vaginal weights on alternate training days for 2-3 days per week. A rest day will help your pelvic floor muscles recover and maximise the effectiveness of your next training session.
Gradually increase the amount weight you lift as your pelvic floor muscles become stronger. This will help you progressively challenge your pelvic floor muscles to work harder and strengthen more.
Vaginal Weight Training FAQ
My vaginal weight moves out of position when I do my Kegel exercises
Ensure that you are using the correct action of lifting and squeezing your pelvic floor muscles not bulging down through your pelvic floor. Check the size of your exerciser – you may need to choose a larger vaginal weight to start with before progressing to the smaller size as your strength improves.
I can only do a few weighted Kegel exercises in a row
Strengthening with vaginal weights takes time, up to 5-6 months for some women. Start with the number of Kegel exercises you can comfortably perform and gradually progress the number of exercises you can do over time.
Can I use a vaginal weight during pregnancy?
No, avoid using a vaginal weight during pregnancy and after the birth of your baby until you have your gynaecologist’s approval to use tampons and recommence sexual intercourse. Some women will need to wait a number of months following childbirth before doing weighted pelvic exercise and should instead commence pelvic floor training without weights.
I have a history of pelvic floor spasm, should I use a vaginal weight?
No, avoid doing vaginal weight training unless under the supervision of a qualified Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist. It is very important you know how to relax your pelvic floor muscles before commencing Kegel exercises.
¹American College of Sports Medicine (1998) Position Stand. The recommended quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and flexibility in healthy adults. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise 30: 975-991.
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