You’ve got your at-home workout equipment, signed up for a wellness app, and maybe even a meal kit—but what have you done for your vag lately? The best Kegel weights, as well as smart trainers and machines, exist to strengthen your pelvic floor. Unsure what the pelvic floor even is? Think of it as a hammock that supports some very important organs, like your uterus, bladder, and bowels—and keeps you from going number one or two when you have to go. The pelvic floor enables childbirth, but it’s also a major player in your sex life.
Dr. Carol Queen, sexologist at Good Vibrations, tells Glamour that the pelvic floor muscles “have many functions and their wellbeing can affect a person in various ways, but they are certainly central to sexual health because if they are too weak or too tight, this can have effects on our sexual functioning—especially those of us with vaginas, but really everyone.” When these muscles are considered too weak, the biggest issue people have is that this weakens the orgasm. “These muscles pulse when we come, and if they don’t pulse very hard, the contractions of orgasm aren’t very pronounced,” Queen says.
There are many reasons your pelvic floor muscles can be weakened. It could be something that’s happened over time, due to getting older. Or, you might be experiencing weaker Kegel muscles after giving birth. If you suspect your pelvic floor could use a boost, you’re not alone—according to a 2008 study from the NIH, 25 percent of women have experienced pelvic floor disorders.
How do Kegel exercises help strengthen your pelvic floor?
Kegel exercises, whether you choose to use a product or not, can help. These exercises involve a series of contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles to help strengthen them. “Doing a Kegel means you are performing an isolated contraction of your pelvic floor muscles by ‘closing the openings’ (my cue for women to gently close the anus, then vagina, then urethra),” pelvic floor physical therapist Heather Jeffcoat, DPT tells Glamour. However, it’s important to talk to a medical professional before you self-prescribe Kegel exercises since sometimes exercising your pelvic floor muscles can lead to more damage. “If these muscles are short or overactive, doing Kegels could actually make their incontinence, pain, or prolapse worse,” Jeffcoat says.
One effect that weak Kegel muscles can have is the condition called vaginismus, which is when the pelvic floor muscles spasm before or during penetrative sex, oftentimes making it very painful and uncomfortable. Some people even experience pain when inserting a tampon. In this case, Jeffcoat tells her patients to stop doing Kegel exercises, or even any core strength training (like pilates), as this could be exacerbating the condition.
There’s also no “right” way to exercise your pelvic floor muscles. Some people prefer to do Kegel exercises on their own, and some need a physical toolkit. It totally depends on your personal preference and needs. Licensed Physical Therapist who specializes in pelvic floor therapy, Angela Fishman, tells Glamour, “Research shows that using vaginal weights does indeed strengthen our pelvic floor muscles; however, research also shows that using vaginal weights is not any more effective than doing other pelvic floor muscle exercises, such as Kegels. So the lesson is, just do something! If the idea of lifting weights with your vagina appeals to you, go for it. If the idea turns your stomach, then Kegel away.”
If you’re looking for tools to help with exercising your pelvic floor muscles, keep scrolling for the best Kegel weights that have the expert seal of approval.