Your Pelvic Floor Health GuideDec 02, 2021
Did you know your pelvic floor plays several roles in your body? From providing stability to your lower back, to supporting your inner organs, to helping you orgasm!
Yes, a very overachieving team, the pelvic floor muscles.
But as awesome as these muscles are, factors like lifestyle, childbirth, and aging can affect the overall health of the pelvic floor.
This is what we call pelvic floor dysfunction, and it can cause a series of consequences for women – namely, urinary incontinence, prolapse, and pain during sex.
In the late 40’s, Dr. Arnold Kegel invented a first-line treatment to solve and prevent many of these issues: Kegel training.
These pelvic floor contractions can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, “lifting” the pelvic diaphragm and providing a better line of support for our organs.
In recent years, Kegel exercises have gained popularity not only for their health benefits, but for their sexual benefits as well.
And certainly – strengthening your pelvic floor will increase vaginal sensitivity, making the sexual experience much more pleasurable.
But – like many practices that gain mass popularity quickly – pelvic floor training is often recommended without proper medical guidance taken into account.
Many women today are overtraining their pelvic floors, worsening the situations they initially set out to solve.
In this guide, we’ve gathered the very best advice from pelvic floor physicians to ensure a safe practice.
We’ll be touching on the importance of breathing, stretching, resting, and much more.
So whether you’re doing some basic Kegels or decided to embark in our pleasure-ride at the Oh!lympus Program, use this as your playbook to keep a healthy pelvic floor.
- Overtraining the Pelvic Floor
- The 7 Principles of a Healthy Pompoir Practice
- #1: Proper Breathing
- #2: Building Your Strength
- #3: Importance of Posture
- #4: Pelvic Floor Stretching
- #5: Taking Breaks
- #6: Frequency of Training
- #7: Know When to Stop
- Bonus: Pelvic Floor-friendly Sex Toys
The Dangers of Pelvic Floor Hypertonia – Speak with your Physician!
You may be thinking, “this health stuff is great and all, but an overtrained pelvic floor isn’t my problem – I want my muscles there to get stronger”.
Well, if that’s the case, then you really want to pay attention to this guide.
Because if your goal is to have a vagina capable of orgasm-inducing skills like twisting, tilting, milking, gripping, and all of the 27+ Pompoir combinations – then overtraining your muscles will prevent you from achieving those goals (as well as, you know, being actually dangerous for you!).
First of all – you might be a person whose pelvic floor is chronically clenched already.
As sex expert Kiana Reeves puts it, the pelvic floor is like our jaw. Lots of people hold a lot of tension there.
This chronic tension can lead to issues like constipation, painful penetration, painful urination, and nerve impingement, as well as – to top it off – not actually allowing you to perform any of the Pompoir motions correctly.
This is called hypertonia. A condition where the muscle tone increases too much, causing stiffness and making the muscles very difficult to move effectively.
And it’s possible for you to have this even if you have never done any kegels before, and even if you’re dealing with issues like urinary incontinence, where the general advice is to clench more, not less.
That’s why we urge you to check with a pelvic floor specialist before you start kegeling or Pompoaring away.
It is quite possible for your muscles to be locked up and unable to perform the exercises effectively, and you may put yourself at serious risk of injury by clenching them even more.
Note that this doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you or that you’ll never be able to learn the glorious art of Pompoir – not at all.
But it is likely for your doctor to prescribe some correcting exercises to relax your muscles before you begin any sort of training.
And depending on the severity of the pelvic floor tension, a specialist might even need to perform some intravaginal massages on you to relieve the pressure.
The 7 Principles of a Healthy Pompoir Practice
Now that you’ve spoken with your physician to make sure there’s no tension down there and that Pompoir training is right for you, let’s lay down the principles of a healthy pelvic floor training practice.
#1 Connect with your breathing
Our pelvic floor muscles don’t work in isolation. They coordinate with the diaphragm every time you take a breath.
Dr. Laura Glazebrook explains that with every inhale, the expansion of the diaphragm causes an increase of pressure in the intra-abdominal cavity, so the pelvic floor goes down. Then, during exhalation, when the diaphragm relaxes, the pelvic floor recovers its resting position.
During Pompoir or Kegel training, we perform a series of contractions of the pelvic floor musculature. A contraction is a vertical motion, a lifting of the internal organs, and a tightening of the vaginal canal.
Thus, contractions and breathing need mindful coordination.
The proper technique is to contract during exhalation to follow the natural movement of our bodies. To contract during inhalation can add extra and unnecessary pressure on the abdominal cavity, causing tightness.
Dr. Amanda Olson warns that too much tightness in the area can provoke a hernia.
But what about longer Pompoir movements that require us to hold a squeeze or a contraction?
This is where we want to practice a natural breathing pace.
Perform the first Kegel or Pompoir movement as you exhale, and then continue your natural, soft breathing throughout the entire movement. Don’t purse your lips, don’t force the flow of air – simply allow a natural, shallow movement of air through your nose.
Breathing while kegeling or pompoaring should be gentle. Your belly should rise and fall, and you should avoid raising your chest or shoulders.
The Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy department of Loma Linda University Health advises that Kegel breathing should be quiet and gentle – as it smelling a rose.
Most importantly, you want to avoid holding in your breath as you perform these pelvic floor.
Dr. April Dominck points out that holding our breaths while exercising causes intra-abdominal constraints. A tight core might make us feel like we’re exercising our vaginal muscles, when in reality, we’re just adding extra pressure to other areas of the body.
Connecting with your breathing and coordinating it with contractions requires practice, so be patient.
Practicing diaphragmatic breathing is one way to increase your overall set of skills.
Lie down on a flat surface. Place both of your hands on top of your rib cage. Inhale slowly through your nose and draw the air toward your stomach. Feel how your ribs expand sideways. Exhale gently, again through your nose, letting the stomach fall down.
Avoid moving your chest throughout this exercise.
#2 Build your Strength
Our Pompoir program is designed in pillars, to follow the student’s natural learning pace.
Because of this, the first Pillar of The Oh!lympus Program focuses on building a foundation of strength in the pelvic floor throughout exercises like the long and short contractions, and the Milking technique.
These movements are much more intuitive than those of more advanced pillars – this is by design.
If goddesses don’t have a foundation of strength and muscle endurance in their pelvic floor, they won’t be able to perform or even feel more complex movements that involve isolating specific walls of the vaginal canal, such as The Lock, The Whip or the Pulsing & Sucking techniques.
Overload and specificity are the two main principles of strength training.
Increasing a Pompoir session’s time and difficulty as you progress through the pillars covers the overload principle.
And performing movements that target specific regions of your pelvic and vaginal muscles covers specificity.
At first, short and long contractions will help you gain awareness of these muscles, and will help you build and maintain your strength as you progress in your Pompoir journey.
But even as you master more complex dimensions of Pompoir, such as isolating front and back walls and fast pulsing rhythms, you’ll still be training the more intuitive motions from the first pillar.
This way, you’ll always keep a healthy level of strength and endurance in your pelvic floor muscles.
Dr. Lacey Forsyth, a pelvic floor PT expert, explains that diversifying your training is crucial for your pelvic floor. We have to expose our muscles to different positions, speeds, intensities, and loads. As a result, our pelvic floor will support all functional movement.
Building your strength won’t happen overnight, so you want to stay consistent with your training.
You might feel your muscles are a bit weak as you first begin training – that’s totally okay!
Focus on just working with your vagina, and relaxing your thighs, buttocks, and abdominal region.
Do not overexert your muscles – pay attention to how you feel, and only do as much as your body allows.
We promise, you’ll get stronger as you keep practicing.
With time, you’ll develop the mind-muscle connections you need to gain insights on how to move your vagina.
This is why the program is designed with three training pillars in mind:
- The Aphrodite Pillar
- The Artemis Pillar
- The Athena’s Pillar.
Each one has its own level of difficulty, and you’ll go through a ramp-up period where you add a more complex exercise each week.
If you don’t master the basics in Aphrodite, you won’t be able to isolate your muscles for the Artemis exercises. And if you don’t give yourself time to learn the Artemis techniques, you won’t understand the advanced motions of Athena’s pillar.
Everything is set up this way for a reason, so remember to be kind to yourself and to give yourself time to learn all the techniques.
#3 Keep a good posture
We want to keep a neutral spine when performing Kegel and Pompoir exercises.
The sections of the spine, cervical thoracic, and lumbar need consistency. They support our bodies during physical activity.
Some benefits of good posture are reducing pain in your neck and shoulders, increasing lung capacity, improving circulation, and improving core strength.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, an optimal alignment decreases the wear and tear on supportive structures.
Here’s how you can improve your posture throughout each of these positions:
- Distribute your weight evenly between your sitting bones. Lengthen your spine. Keep the inward curve of your lower back.
- Lift the crown of your head towards the ceiling. Imagine a string is pulling you gently from the top.
- Keep your feet resting flat on the floor.
- Keep a slight separation between your feet, about hip distance apart. Bend your knees a little bit to avoid overextension.
- Balance your weight evenly on both feet.
- Keep your shoulders down. Let your arms fall down naturally. Try to keep your core engaged.
When lying down:
- Use firm support as a yoga mat. Lengthen your spine.
- Bend your knees at an angle. Keep them slightly apart.
- This position offers the least amount of resistance for your pelvic floor muscles and makes the contraction easier.
When sitting on the floor:
- Keep your back straight. Bend both knees. Place one foot over the opposite knee.
- Your weight should fall on your hips. You can use pillows underneath your knees.
Keeping a good posture will avoid putting your weight in the wrong places.
It will also help with your breathing, as the air will flow all around your body more naturally.
Practice posture checks as you perform your pelvic floor exercises. Self-awareness is key here.
#4 Don’t forget to stretch
Here is a rule to live by: Every contraction needs relaxation.
Stretching should be a fundamental part of your training. Not taking the time to release physical strain can cause a lot of pain, discomfort, and injuries in the long term.
There are many benefits related to stretching. Harvard Health Publishing emphasizes gaining flexibility and avoiding muscle weakness as the main two.
Stretching also helps improve heart function, as it brings the heart rate down to its normal rhythm. Even after relatively calm activities such as a Pompoir session, it’s essential to give your body time to cool down, before going on about your day.
Most importantly, skipping stretching time can lead to tightness and fatigue.
Over-exhausted muscles are not only painful – they’re unproductive if you’re looking to improve your performance.
Dr. Amanda Savage, says “If you work the muscles too hard, they’ll become tired and unable to fulfill their necessary functions. A tight muscle doesn’t equal a strong muscle”.
And we’re talking about an extremely sensitive muscle region here – pelvic floor strains can make penetration unbearable. That’s why we hammer on the importance of stretching after every Goh!ddess session.
Here are a series of techniques we recommend to stretch your pelvic floor after a workout.
If you’ve ever done yoga before, you know these stretches:
- Child’s Pose: Get on your hands and knees and spread your knees further than shoulder-width. Extend your arms forward and let your belly rest between your thighs. Then rest your forehead on the floor.
- Happy Baby: Lay on your back and bring your knees towards your chest. Flex your feet and point to the ceiling with the soles. Wrap your toes with your hands and pull lightly down.
- Yogi Squat: Stand with your feet apart, and then bend the knees until your butt nearly touches the floor. With your upper arms inside your knees, bring your palms together. Keep your spine straight. Relax your shoulders away from your ears.
- Sphinx Pose: Lie on your stomach. Place your elbow underneath your shoulder blades. Lift your upper body by pressing into the palms of your hands.
#5 Take a Break
Just like you wouldn’t do a thousand dumbbell curls for your biceps, you’re not going to perform a thousand contractions for your pelvic floor.
Any exercise program requires a combination of purposeful activity and proper rest to be effective. Both parts of the equation are equally important to build strength.
To understand the importance of resting, we need to talk about glycogen. This element is our body's way of storing carbohydrates. During exercise, our body taps into our glycogen stores for fuel.
The amount of glycogen required will depend on the intensity, duration, type, and frequency of the activity we’re performing. And at the end of the training session, our body needs to restore the supply of glycogen in order to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Additionally, rest gives time for our cells to repair muscle tissue. Every time we train, we create tears in our muscles, and every time we rest, our fibroblasts get a chance to build them back again, stronger.
So if you want your muscles to become more effective at their respective tasks (like squeezing in a way that gives you mind-blowing orgasms!) you need to rest with purpose.
In our Pompoir program, we incorporate rest in two ways: long rest periods, and short rest periods.
Long rests periods
Long rests refer to the days you take off from training.
Our goal here is to avoid muscle fatigue.
Muscle fatigue is defined as the reduction in muscle performance over time caused by exhaustion, typically due to overtraining.
Pelvic floor overtraining has shown to be counterproductive, resulting in problems like prolapse and incontinence.
That’s right – training your V-muscles too much can cause them to get weaker!
This is why we keep our program’s sessions short (20 to 30 minutes plus stretching), and we don’t train on weekends.
Additionally, we take an entire week off from training every month, to give our PC muscles a chance to repair, and solidify all the knowledge we’ve been learning through our sessions.
If you’re currently in the program, you’ll notice that the week after your rest period you actually feel much stronger, and you typically start achieving more advanced techniques and having more “Eureka!” moments.
Short rests periods
Short rests refer to the resting periods between exercise repetitions.
The rule behind short rests is simple.
The duration of each resting period should equal the duration of each contraction.
For example, if you’ve contracted your pelvic floor for 5 seconds, take a 5 seconds break before performing a new contraction.
Try to respect this rule and apply it to every squeeze, pulse, grip, suck, isolation, and all our other amazing Pompoir motions.
Skipping adequate rest in between contractions can be especially damaging, because you run the risk of not relaxing your pelvic floor fully before putting it to work again, which can lead to strains and pelvic floor hypertonia.
#6 Make your training part of your everyday life
Ph.D. Andrea Marques points out that a proper muscle-training program should combine three principles: overload, specificity, and reversibility.
Sticking to these principles will promote the performance, skill, ability, and physical health of our muscles.
We’ve already covered overload and specificity in point #2 of this guide.
The third principle, reversibility, proposes that we’re at risk of losing our progress (both strength and skill) if we don’t keep a consistent routine over an extended period of time.
Essentially, we need to incorporate Pompoir or pelvic floor training into our daily activities to develop and sustain its benefits.
And just like any other habit we want to create, it’s discipline that will drive us forward rather than motivation.
Motivation is fleeting and outside our control. Discipline – a.k.a. showing up every day, even when we’re not feeling like it – it’s what gets us results.
Here are some tips to develop your Pompoir habit:
- Pick one time of day where you’ll perform your Pompoir routine and stick with it. Whether this means waking up 20 minutes earlier every morning or as a wind-down before bed, try to not change the times around, to develop mental cues for the practice.
- Set up a pleasant environment for training. Whether this means lighting up some vanilla-scented candles or making a smooth, jazzy playlist, create a calming and relaxing ambiance for your practice.
- Challenge yourself. The Oh!lympus Program has an entire module on Rites of Passage, which are tests you can perform in order to achieve the most complex Pompoir techniques.
Set yourself goals in regards to your training and work towards them. Once you’ve mastered them all, you can even make up your own and share them with our Goh!ddess community.
The key is to keep you training fun and to always be working towards a new skill.
#7 Ask for Professional Help
This guide has covered the risks of pelvic floor overtraining and muscle fatigue.
But you may experience some additional discomforts related to other underlying problems, and we want to briefly touch upon them so that they don’t come in the way of your Pompoir journey.
If you experience pain during sex, discomfort with menstrual cups or when wearing tampons, if you experience tailbone pain or pain when sitting, or if you have UTIs, we encourage you to seek professional help.
As the causes for these symptoms can vary, here’s a quick rundown of some common conditions.
Pelvic floor spasms are the presence of contracted, painful muscles on palpitation.
Pelvic floor myalgia, also known as pelvic floor dysfunction, is the presence of pain or heaviness in your lower abdomen or pelvis. The most common symptoms include pain during intercourse, difficulty urinating, and bloating or constipation.
Hypertonia is another common issue related to overtraining. It refers to an overly tight pelvic floor tone and lack of flexibility. It can be uncomfortable when engaging in daily activities, and it can lead to urinary incontinence.
The term dyspareunia refers to painful intercourse, typically felt through the entrance of the vaginal canal. It can also be related to vaginismus, where the pelvic floor experiences involuntary contractions making penetration impossible.
Finally, pelvic floor fatigue due to excessive training can lead to stress urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapses, and fecal incontinence.
What happens in this specific case is that the muscles are so overworked during training (and lacking stretching and proper rest) that they’re not able to perform their regular tasks in supporting the organs of the lower abdomen.
Physical therapists should analyze all the different elements that cause pelvic floor weakness or dysfunction. To treat any of these underlying issues, professionals will design a personal recovery program with clear instructions.
BONUS: Pelvic floor-friendly Sex Toys
It would be a shame if you followed the advice in this guide and then discovered your sex toys were working against your pelvic floor, which is why we compiled this bonus section of pelvic floor-friendly sex toys.
MysteryVibe’s Crescendo is more than a high-tech sex toy (though it’s that too).
Crescendo is an FDA II medical device designed to help women suffering from pain-related sexual health issues – Genito-pelvic pain disorder being one of them. And it gives you an orgasmic experience.
Sound too good to be true? MysteryVibe’s claim was substantiated in their recent clinical study using Crescendo as a therapy system for pelvic dysfunction. Crescendo was trialed by the Institute of Sexology (ISM) and The Comprehensive Center for Gynecology and Obstetrics (CIAGO), and the findings presented at SMSNA’s 22nd Annual Fall Scientific Meeting.
The results showed that Crescendo improves genito-pelvic pain & penetration disorder by an unprecedented 480%.
Yes, that's 480%. As in an almost 5 times-improvement.
A total of 21 women diagnosed with lifelong GPPPD, between 20 and 59 years of age in heterosexual relationships, used Crescendo over 12 weeks.
Over the trial period, they performed seven different pelvic exercises with Crescendo and attended an online educational session (similar to this course).
The research concluded that Crescendo was an effective treatment option for women with GPPPD with no adverse effects related to the treatment.
Why is Crescendo effective in reducing pain? Targeted vibrations.
Crescendo is designed to deliver powerful vibrations throughout its six motors with sixteen different patterns and levels.
When vibrations are precisely delivered to the area of pain, they increase blood flow and encourage muscle relaxation, resulting in pain relief.
Crescendo’s uniqueness comes from its revolutionary adaptable design. The
device can be bent to take different shapes and work with all body shapes and sizes.
Crescendo is also endorsed by Urologist and Sexual Medicine Specialist Dr. Rachel Rubin as well as acclaimed menopause specialist Dr. Shahzadi Harper for helping reduce menopausal symptoms such as vaginal atrophy and arousal disorder.
Welcome to the 21st century, where vibrators are smart and sexy!
Crescendo definitely has Goh!ddess endorsement, too.
Use our unique link to get it at a special discount.
- Never hold your breath when performing a pelvic floor exercise. Aim to contract or squeeze as you exhale, and then keep breathing normally and gently through your nose.
- Building strength can take some time. Follow your training schedule and be patient with yourself. In order to perform advanced techniques, you have to master the basics.
- Keep a good posture when sitting, lying, or standing. A proper alignment will help you improve the benefits from your training and will keep you from developing unnecessary pain.
- Never skip your stretching sessions. If your muscles are too tight, they’ll be unable to gain any further strength, and you’ll run the risk of developing serious pelvic floor issues.
- Follow the program’s recovery recommendations, such as skipping the weekends and taking one week off per month. This will allow your muscles to get stronger over time and stay flexible and healthy.
- Stick to your training routine. Create a calming environment for yourself and don’t rely on motivation. What you don’t use, you lose.
- Pompoir training should never, ever be painful. If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop immediately and seek medical help. A good physician will find a personalized strategy to alleviate your specific symptoms.
Keep this guide handy as you continue on your Pompoir journey. And remember you have an entire community of goddesses doing this training alongside you if you need help.
Any new skill requires time, so be patient with yourself. You are on a learning path to become a masterful pompoirista.
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