I wrote a while back about why the squat is not the new kegel. Check out Part 1 HERE
I want to write on this again because I still get people asking me and each other "what should I do- Kegels or Squats?" Of course, I direct them to my previous post, but I figure I would expound on what I said there for further clarification.
Here's what I just posted on facebook last night, while thinking this over:
"Looking to strengthen/fix/optimize the function of your pelvic floor? The question should not be "should I squat or should I kegel?" Because there is not one exercise that will strengthen/fix/optimize the pelvic floor. It's a whole body problem and requires a whole body solution."
Squat vs. Kegel is NOT the question we should be asking. We must think of our body as a whole. There is not one exercise that will fix/heal/strength/optimize your pelvic floor because your pelvic floor responds and adapts (whether positively or negatively) to how you move all of your body all of the time. So a squat, or a kegel for that matter, is not going to really do what you hope for it to do if you're not walking and if you're sitting in a desk chair on your sacrum all day, for example.
Let me give you an analogy that may help make this clearer. The kegel vs. squats debate is like debating a high grains/low fat diet vs. a Paleo diet. Only, instead of learning all that goes into the Paleo diet you say that being Paleo means eating red meat all the time and pretty much only red meat. After all, you just read a couple of blog posts on the benefits of red meat, so that MUST be what being Paleo is all about, yeah? Not realizing that red meat is part of the Paleo diet, yes, but it's just one small piece of many different vital nutrients needed and even the red meat that is consumed is not just any old red meat, but a specific type of red meat (grassfed, for example). Eating a bunch of red meat does not make one a Paleo anymore than doing a bunch of squats makes someone have an awesome pelvic floor. Yet, of course squats are a fantastic part of a whole body movement program that optimizes the function of the pelvic floor and the stability of mobility of the pelvis.
Or maybe this one resonates with you more. You know kale is healthy. So you just eat kale, and only kale. All day, every day. And nothing else. Would you really be healthy? Or maybe you eat Snickers bars for the rest of the day and then gorge yourself on kale at night. WOULD YOU REALLY BE HEALTHY? No. You need the nutrients in kale, of course, but you also need a whole spectrum of nutrients throughout the day too.
So let's stop debating squatting vs. kegels and let's start:
Check out some "alignment snacks" HERE for just $5 for a nice way to learn some of these stretches that will in turn help strengthen your pelvic floor (and.... the rest of your body too! The great thing about it being an all body problem is that the all body solution fixes a whole bunch of other crap too!). A few that I suggest:
~Walk this way, stand this way
~All Around the Thighs We Go
~All fo' the pelvic floor
~Leg goes forward, leg goes back
~Stretch the standing muscles
Mama Aligned is Lindsay McCoy.