Kegels for Flat Abs: My Sure-Fire Secret

Doesn’t that headline sound like the start of an infomercial? I know … I know … but it’s true! I’ve been using kegels for years with my clients and I know they work.

What is a Kegel?

A kegel is the “stop your pee” move that you do with your sphincter muscles. Think of that muscle like a drawstring bag … the contents all come together to a center point where it closes off. Part one of a kegel is to squeeze the opening closed. Part two is to lift it up into your pelvis.

There are a couple of cues that I use to help my clients:

Gentle:  Pretend you’re going up an elevator and draw the sphincter up behind your belly button.
Harsh but effective:  Pretend you’re completely naked straddling a block of ice! (yep, that gets most people to understand)

Kegels for Flat Abs

I mostly teach Pilates, so maybe you think kegels are just a Pilates trick. But you can add a kegel to ANY abdominal exercise and get a benefit!

Whatever you’re doing … crunches on the floor, hanging upside and bring nose to knees, oblique twists … doesn’t matter. Whenever you engage the abdominals, add a kegel. You’ll see a difference within two weeks if you do three to four ab workouts a week.

For people with more advanced strength down there (yes, it’s a muscle, it’ll get stronger the more you use it), try to hold a kegel throughout the entire ab series you’re doing.  You’ll notice a change even sooner.

One caveat: the sphincter muscles are what’s called “slow twitch” muscle fibers.  That means they can’t contract quickly … you’ve got to give them a bit of time to get in place. Count it out … squeeze, 2, 3, 4 … and you should be there. Then start the exercise.

Benefits of Kegels

Kegels have so many benefits besides flatter abs. They will ward off incontinence (even during my pregnancy I never had a problem) and they will improve your sex life. The combination of better sex, not feeling old and feeble, and having flat abs seems like a pretty good one, no? And it doesn’t take any extra time, just add it to what you’re already doing. Easy peasy!

The secret of kegels is that they help to pull the abs into the pelvic cavity. This will help you “scoop” your abs in and that’s why they work so well to help flatten what you’ve already got. I always tell my clients “train with a scoop, get a scoop … train with a poof, get a poof.”

If you do crunches and ridge up your rectus abdominus (your six-pack muscles), then you’re training them to stick out a bit … who wants that?   Trust me, kegels for flat abs … you’ll be amazed!