You might be all about strengthening your legs, abs, and arms, but let's take a moment to talk about strengthening your pelvic floor. Yes, down there; doing ol' fashioned Kegels can seriously improve your sex life. Working this sling-like group of muscles that support your pelvic organs (like your uterus and bladder) increases sexual arousal and enjoyment for both men and women. Kegels don't sound so boring now, do they?
How to Find Your PF
The easiest way to find the somewhat elusive pelvic floor muscles (PF) is to break the flow of pee next time you're urinating, or similarly by holding in any gas that might be about to pass. But these muscles work in much more dynamic ways than simply clenching to prevent bodily fluids from escaping. And learning to work your PF dynamically is where increased sexual pleasure truly comes into play.
So let's get technical and talk a little anatomy, but trust me, this will help you find and activate all the layers of muscles you're looking to strengthen. The pelvic floor makes a kite-shaped sling, and starting front to back, it connects your pubic bone to your coccyx (aka tail bone at the end of your spine). And side to side, the muscles attach to the insides of your sit bones (ischial tuberosities in anatomy speak, but otherwise known as the bones on the bottom of your pelvis that you actually sit on). Rather than simply clenching these muscles, you want to pull them up, toward your belly button, and together — the sensation feels like your vagina is tightening. Imagine the bones at the bottom of your pelvis coming together, like pulling the four corners of the sheet together and the sheet billows up — the bones are the corners of the sheet and the PF is the sheet.
The pelvic floor stretches open as you squat — think about the positions of natural childbirth for a moment — and the bones at the bottom of the pelvis move apart. And when moving from squatting to standing, the bones move toward each other, engaging the muscles of the pelvic floor; this is where the sumo squats enter the picture.
Sumo Squats and Your PF
Here's how to work your PF as you squat:
- Start in a wide stance with the toes angled outward. Inhale as you bend your knees over your toes, and feel the bones at the bottom of your pelvis spread away from each other. The kite is widening — you are stretching your pelvic floor. Your butt should be relaxed as you squat; clenching your glutes locks the hips and prevents the hip joint from moving.
- Exhale and feel the four bones at the bottom of your pelvis coming together as you straighten your legs and the pelvic floor muscles pull in and up. Focus on your perineum (or mula bandha for all you yogis), initiating the movement as you come to standing. You should feel lifted through the center of your body as you stand.
So you are stretching and contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor as you bend and straighten your legs while toning your legs and butt too. Now that is some serious multitasking.