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How (and why) to do kegels

Woman doing a kegel
I'm doing a kegel right now

“If you have a vagina and you’re old enough to vote, then you should be Kegeling every day.” That’s the mantra of Dr. Lauri Romanzi, the gynecologist-founder of PHIT, a Midtown medical practice devoted to vaginal fitness and rejuvenation. Romanzi’s probably the first American MD to seriously tout the benefits of bicept curls for your ladyparts, a topic that barely gets a mention in your OBGYN’s office. That’s a mistake, says Romanzi. “Kegels are the dental floss of the female pelvis.”

Why does Romanzi kvell for kegels? The pelvic-floor exercises strengthen bladder control, heighten orgasm, improve vaginal tone, and restore pelvic elasticity after childbirth. That’s a lot of benefit for simple exercise that can be done on the subway, during a meeting, or right now while you’re reading this with no one the wiser.

But there’s a lot of confusion about just how to do them. Hint: don’t practice by cutting off your pee midstream. So we consulted with Dr. Romanzi on the optimal vaginal crunch technique.

How do you do a kegel?

Dr. Lauri Romanzi, kegel crusader

I like to start with how not to kegel. Kegeling while peeing should be thrown out the window. It’s not fair to your body, self-esteem, or bladder. People often equate the two because being able to stop the flow of urine means you’ve isolated the right muscle group. But often people can’t stop the flow of urine and they’re still doing a correct kegel. Let your bladder do its job.

Okay, how do you kegel correctly, off the toilet?
[Warning: Dr. Romanzi’s instruction for beginner kegels recalls Our Bodies, Ourselves.] This is a contraction exercise of your pelvic muscles that you won’t learn at the gym. When you contract your pelvic floor, your perineum should literally pull into your body. Use a hand mirror and take a look. You may feel you labia pulling down. If you feel like your anus is part of this action that’s okay, but don’t pinch your buttocks. Closing or contracting your buttocks is about squeezing your gluteus muscles, whereas kegels are all about closing your anal sphincter muscle. You should feel a lifting, pulling in, and tightening.

As a personal trainer of sorts, what constitutes a good daily vaginal workout? How many sets and reps?
You should do 30 quick, fast twitch kegels, two or three times a day. You should also do sustained ones where you hold the contraction for five seconds and then slowly release it. Do ten reps of the slow ones two-three times a day.

PHIT (Pelvic Health Integrated Techniques), 133 East 58 Street, Suite 311,  877-652-6978,

Have you been kegeling correctly? C’mon, tell us, here!

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