Why you should stop doing Kegels…

and start squatting instead.

I came across this information a few months ago but have not had a chance to post it yet. I find the information to be logical, reasonable and make much more sense than an exercise that does not come naturally or have any applicable relation to real life. Squatting on the other hand used to be (and still is in much of the world) a common and daily practice. I am now trying to squat when I fold my laundry and try to squat as often as I think of it. Join me in squatting won’t you?

I will post the articles on my blog and link to the original source.

Original article here: Mama Sweat

Pelvic Floor Party: Kegels are NOT invited.

You now have permission to pee in the shower.

Recently I met a woman who told me she used to be a runner. Naturally, I asked: Why don’t you still run? The answer: “Because 60 hours of labor with my first child and a forceps delivery ruined my desire to run anymore.”
To sum up for those who still may not infer the problem: She pees her pants when she picks up the pace.
My friends and I joke about sneeze pee, jumping jack pee, trampoline pee, and other bladder challenges. But full blown incontinence is no laughing matter. I’m a firm believer that a strong pelvic floor is the answer to incontinence (although pharmaceutical companies and surgeons often try to persuade people with other remedies). A strong pelvic floor, I’ve learned, not only makes the difference between wet and dry running shorts, but also keeps me running pain-free: I no longer suffer from the back and hip problems that used to plague me.
So today I bring you an interview with Katy Bowman. I have had the opportunity to interview Katy for magazine articles. Since becoming a freelance writer 13 years ago I have interviewed scores of sources. Very few I remember. Katy made an impression. She is a biomechanical scientist who applies her knowledge on the human body. Among other things, she has her own DVD program, “Aligned and Well,” and is the director of the Restorative Exercise Institute. Her blog, Katy Says, is amazing (and she’s as funny as she is smart). I like that combination so I asked her to chime in about the pelvic floor. I had no idea she would rock my pelvic floor world. Even if you’ve never peed in your running shorts even a little bit, you should still read what she has to say about pelvic floor strength.

Mama Sweat: First, a lot of women just assume it’s childbirth that causes incontinence, but I’ve read that pregnancy itself puts a strain on the bladder (so a c-section won’t necessarily save you) and that most women, as they get older–whether they’ve had children or not–will likely experience problems with incontinence. And even men aren’t immune. All this suggests that a weak pelvic floor doesn’t discriminate.

Katy Bowman: Nulliparous women (that’s women who’ve never had a baby) and men are equally affected with PFD (pelvic floor disorder) so while child birth may accelerate PF weakening, it is not a primary cause of PFD. PFD is first caused by slack in the pelvic floor due to the fact that the sacrum is moving anterior, into the bowl of the pelvis. Because the PF muscles attach from the coccyx to the pubic bone, the closer these bony attachments get, the more slack in the PF (the PF becomes a hammock).

MS: So rather than a hammock, you’d rather your PF be more like a stretcher–more firm and able to hold up weight without buckling?

KB: I like to think of the PF like a trampoline–the material is supple, but taut…the perfect muscle length.

MS: And kegels. Everyone on my blog has heard me preach about kegels. I want to make sure all my readers are doing them right. Suggestions?

KB: A kegel attempts to strengthen the PF, but it really only continues to pull the sacrum inward promoting even more weakness, and more PF gripping. The muscles that balance out the anterior pull on the sacrum are the glutes. A lack of glutes (having no butt) is what makes this group so much more susceptible to PFD. Zero lumbar curvature (missing the little curve at the small of the back) is the most telling sign that the PF is beginning to weaken. Deep, regular squats (pictured in hunter-gathering mama) create the posterior pull on the sacrum. Peeing like this in the shower is a great daily practice, as is relaxing the PF muscles to make sure that you’re not squeezing the bathroom muscle closers too tight. Just close them enough…An easier way to say this is: Weak glutes + too many Kegels = PFD.

MS: OK, I had to step away from my computer a moment to fully process this. First of all, you just said it’s OK to pee in the shower, but what really has my head spinning–did I catch this right?–you said: Too many Kegels can cause PFD? Did everyone hear that loud screeching noise? You realize this goes against everything I’ve ever heard or read; that kegels are the be all end all for pelvic floor strength.

KB: I know, I feel like I’m running around saying The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling. The misunderstanding of pelvic floor issues is so widely spread, I’m a Team of One right now. But, I’ve got all of the science backing it up and it makes sense, the kegel is just such a huge part of our inherited culture information, no one bothered to fully examine it. Anyhow, your PF is underneath the weight of your organs, and the strength your PF needs is equal to this weight (you don’t need SUPER STRONG PF muscles, just enough to keep everything closed). When you run, the extra G forces (2-3) actually increase the “weight” while running, but the PF should be adapting, just like all your muscles. One of the biggest misnomers is that tight muscles are “strong” and loose muscles are “weak.” In actuality, the strongest muscle is one that is the perfect length – you need Pelvic Floor Goldilocks – it’s juuuuuust right. The Kegel keeps making the PF tighter and tighter (and weaker and weaker). The short term benefits are masking the long term detriments. Ditch the kegels and add two to three squat sessions throughout the day (anywhere). The glutes strengthen and as a result, they pull the sacrum back, stretching the PF from a hammock to a trampoline. Viola! You can still practice opening and closing your PF in real-time situations, but you don’t have to approach it like a weight-lifting session or anything. It doesn’t need to be on the To Do list :)

MS: I am ALL for scratching items off my to-do list! Before we get too carried away with our newfound freedom from Kegels, I want to get back to the role of our glutes. What you’re saying–and I love this–is that there’s a much better reason, besides aesthetics, to avoid the flat butt syndrome found in most older women (further exacerbated in “mom jeans”). Having a booty–as in strong glutes–will not only do wonders for your view from the backside but prevent you from peeing just a little (or a lot) when you sneeze. This is revolutionary. I love what I’m hearing.

KB: Ok, I’m yelling this: YOU REQUIRE YOUR BUTT MUSCLES! There aren’t any extraneous parts on the body! Every muscle is really a pulley that is holding your skeleton just so. When you let your glutes go, you allow the bones of the pelvis to collpase into themselves. The squat is the most effective and natural glute strengthener–using the full range of motion and your body weight. It is entirely more effective than any gym machine or contrived exercise. The hunter-gathering folks squat multiple times a day (or at least once in the morning), so they had a nice routine down over a lifetime. Doing this four to five times a day, every day of your pregnancy will improve the delivery as well!

MS: I’ve also read that squatting during pregnancy helps prevent the posterior position during delivery (when babies emerge face up, rather than face down), which causes excruciating back labor and with it more interventions, more cesarean deliveries. In America, where we tend to sit back and put our feet up rather than squat and sit forward, the posterior position is more common than in countries where squat sitting is the norm. I was a squatter during my pregnancies, but now I will continue: when I’m playing with The Boy, picking weeds in the yard, pulling laundry out of the dryer or getting a pot from the cupboard. Lots of opportunities to squat!

I know you’ve brought up posture as a culprit too. How does posture play a roll and how do we keep good pelvic posture?

KB: You can only have optimal PF function when the pelvis is in a particular position. The two bony points on the front of the pelvis (where you put your hands on your hips) should be vertically stacked over your pubic bone. Most women have become “tuckers” based on their mom or gram telling them to not stick their butt out. Athletes tend to be super-tight through the quads and psoas, which also keeps the pelvis tucked under. Wearing high heels requires women to reposition their joints to deal with the torque at the ankle, and many women will post-tilt the pelvis there as well. For optimal pelvic health, one needs to make sure the posterior muscles (glutes, hams, and calves) aren’t pulling the pelvis under and keep the psoas and groin loose as well.

MS: So, this requires that we stretch out the muscles in front and strengthen the muscles in back?

KB: The muscles are weak because they are tight. More “strength” or tension-increasing exercises are going to make it worse. Instead, muscle lengthening exercises–especially stretching the calves, hamstrings, groin (adductors)–are the best prescription. Also, you need to learn how to hold your pelvis correctly to optimize strength!

MS: Which brings me to your DVD with the awesome title: “Down There.”

KB: The DVD is designed to get the pelvis in the correct position so the PF can work optimally. Typical PF treatment is trying to strengthen the PF muscles with the pelvis itself is in the wrong position, which means the treatments don’t work very well. That’s why once you have surgery, the statistics say you will have to have a 2nd, 3rd, and even a 4th in your lifetime! It is not a permanent fix, so it’s better to not even go down that road. The DVD will teach you to stretch and relax the muscles that are pulling the pelvis out of alignment–and let the correct muscle tone of the PF re-establish itself.

MS: Should we watch it in the bedroom with the shades drawn or is this something we can do with the kiddies around?

KB: Yes! You can keep the lights on and even the front door open. The exercises are mostly inner thigh and back-of-the-leg stretching, so if you don’t tell anyone what it’s for then they’d never know. And it’s also a great program for kids to follow–especially if they are having problems wetting the bed–the muscle tension pattern is the same in the kids as they are in incontinent moms.

MS: OMG! If you were sitting here in front of me I’d kiss you right now! I am forever washing bedsheets. I can’t wait to try it out.

Let’s get back to peeing in the shower. Now that you’ve legitimized it for us (I don’t advise this practice at the gym, however), let me ask this: Why do I feel the urge to pee a little (or, OK, I’ll say it, sometimes a lot) when I hit a warm shower? Wasn’t this covered in a Seinfeld episode? Seriously, what is it about the warm water that makes me want to let go?

KB: When the PF is weak, women start to use the glutes and adductors to keep the bladder closed (instead of the sphincter muscle of the bladder itself). When you hit the shower, those external muscles relax and HELLO! you realize that you don’t have actual control of the deeper, internal muscles of the PF.

MS: OK. I thought my PF was strong, but I see I have more work to do. I suppose it’s like any muscle, strengthening must be an on-going practice. But for someone who is suffering from incontinence, or this friend of mine who is afraid to run, how soon should they expect to notice a difference once they start a “training program”? And at what point should a woman consider pharmaceutical or surgical options? Ever?

KB: I don’t think a surgical option is ever a good idea, as the problem isn’t coming from one time damage, but the accumulation of 1) bearing down a lot and 2) from squeezing the PF all the time. Working on relaxing the PF and keeping it closed “just enough,” stretching the backs of the legs to free up the pelvis, doing regular, daily squats to strengthen the glutes, and ditching the heels (except in special occasions) are things you can do all the time for all-the-time improvement. Also, doing tons of crunches where you are bearing down on the PF will only make PF health worse. It’s better to do transverse abdominal stabilizing exercises – like the plank – that will decrease any bearing down that sprains pelvic organ ligaments. Once you get yourself out of the weak and overcompensating PF tension cycle, you should feel like you have better bladder control within a few weeks. If you are already experiencing organ prolapse (it is way more common that people realize) you need to skip the run and switch to long, endurance walks (minimize G forces), and do your pelvic-aligning exercises every day–maybe even twice.

MS: Wow. This is revolutionary. And it makes sense. I can hardly believe I’m just. now. learning. this. I can’t be the only one who’s feeling a little cheated. Women (and men) need to know all this. Thank you, Katy, for answering my questions and sharing your knowledge. I know this information will change a lot of lives. And if I can stop buying nighttime pull-ups for my girls, the benefits are more far reaching than I thought!

Do you want your own copy of the “Down There” DVD? I have one to give away! Katy was kind enough to send one to me. I just got a look-see and what I love most is that it’s short and sweet, my kids were able to follow along too, and most were multitasking exercises I could do while waiting for the school bus or in line at the grocery store. Efficient!

Leave me a comment–if nothing else admit that you, too, sometimes pee in the shower. Next week I’ll draw a name and announce the winner!

****Due to the popularity of this post (where are all you people coming from?!) I did a follow up interview with Katy Bowman. Check out Pelvic Floor Encore.

Here is her second interview on the subject:

Pelvic Floor Encore

Well, well, well.

By the look of my stat counter it appears I’ve struck a hot topic with Monday’s post: Pelvic Floor Party: Kegels are NOT invited. The comments have been flying and Katy Bowman has been along with us to answer questions. Katy even posted on the topic on her own blog, Katy Says (and the post has cool graphics, so you must check it out). As the conversation ensued in the comment section I had one more question for her–one I thought deserved its own post. Here–thanks to your standing ovation–is an encore question and answer.
And here’s another question for Katy on the Kegels. I don’t think you’re saying we write Kegels completely out of the books, are you? Would Kegels be useful, say during pregnancy and, especially immediately after childbirth when the PF has been directly traumatized? But the difference is we should not go overboard and we still have to build up the other muscles surrounding the PF. Post birth we can go from the Kegel being something we do as an exercise (a few times throughout the day versus 200 times like people have been saying) to something we do in “real time” situations (to hold back urine when we sneeze/laugh/cough/etc.)

Katy, what say you?

I can’t believe how popular this blog has become. Do you know I have friends from elementary school emailing me saying they read this posted on Facebook by people I don’t even know? And I think it is striking such a cord because 80 percent of women are facing this problem, many times silently, and are now really confused. That isn’t what we want either, is it Kara?!

So now you may be wondering “who to trust.” Why would you listen to me? Why am I saying something soooo different than other “experts”? These are all good questions, and questions you should be asking. First off, let me fill you in on the Kegel exercise. Dr. Kegel, an OBGYN, had a device that he invented that he thought would help many of his (caucasian) patients recover from the birthing process.

Before I go any further: It is well documented that Western, modern-living women have much more difficult births than their less-modernized counterparts. During these times (mid 1800’s to the 1930’s) pelvic floor damage and baby-head smashing was a problem for “civilized women,” but not the “Tinkers” (Irish gypsies) or tribal-living women. The only differences in these groups turned out to be the size of their birthing space. The size of the birthing space (the obstetrical conjugate) is created by the bony surfaces of the pelvis. The sacrum (the base of the tailbone) makes up the back side of this birthing space. The cool thing is, the sacrum is not attached to the pelvis, but floating against it. Less-civilized women (like their male counterparts) have squatted to “bathroom” their entire lives. This squatting increased their birthing space by activating the glutes (pulling the sacrum back to open the birthing space). This extra space meant less pressure on their PFs during birth (less tearing of the muscles and tendons) and required less damage to the ligaments in between the bones.

Another way to say this is the life-long habit of squatting is what prevented the PF from being damaged in the first place. The balance between the perfect amount of glute contraction and the perfect amount of PF tone give you what you want. Good pelvic (and abdominal) organ support. [Kara’s Note: read Katy’s post about the Hunter Gathering Mama for more about squatting for birth preparation.]

Back to Dr. Kegel. Now he had all these women who were noticing weakness and invented the Kegelizer, or something like that. It was equivalent to the Kegel-exercisers you see now. Just insert and squeeze. The squeeze improved the lost mental connection between a damaged PF and one that was firing correctly. Firing correctly meant that when the PF was done contracting, the muscles could restore to their optimal length. This part of Dr. Kegel’s research protocol has been left out and the only part that has been passed on is the contracting part.

Science Note: The muscle tissue in your PF is the same as the muscle tissue in your biceps. When you’re done realllly working your biceps, you’d like your arm to go back to its original length, right? What if, when you were done doing your curls, your elbows stayed as bent as they were when your muscles were the TIGHTEST? If you equate strong with tight, then you’d have “strong,” contracted arms with bent elbows all the time. Tight muscles. Unusable arms.

That’s not what TONE is. Tone is having the MOST strength and the MOST length.

Doing Kegels all the time will get you a TIGHT, unusable pelvic floor. This is why people’s ORGANS ARE FALLING OUT OF THEIR BODY.

Probably the worst time to be doing Kegels in the way we think “Kegels” is during pregnancy. If you looked at the research for birthing mechanics it is clear that women (especially Western women) are allowing their pelvic girdle to collapse based on our lack of glute (and calf and hamstring tension). The research shows that PFD isn’t a problem in other parts of the world.

So, all you Hot Mamas-To-Be out there HAVE TO SQUAT THREE TIMES A DAY until these joint motions come naturally. That’s how you tend to your PF before delivery. To all of you Hot Mamas out there with your birthing days behind you: Don’t let your PF gripping become stronger than your glutes.

I came up with the perfect solution, Kara. Gently tense and fully release (shy of urinating) your PF 10 times while you are in a squatting position. That way you know you are keeping all the pelvic muscles balanced.


  1. Suzie · July 27, 2016

    My left knee is messed up from an injury and I really can’t just squat down and hold it. Any suggestions???

  2. TravisCit · April 30, 2016

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  5. Jo Ann · November 3, 2014

    Katy, you’re so right! I have a question about wearing a pessary for pelvic organ prolapse. I have a grade 2 cystocele and and rectocele. I was fitted with a ring with support pessary, which helps with the cystocele bulge, which is right at the opening; not protruding outside of the vaginal opening.
    My question is, does a pessary weaken the muscles? I have read that a pessary will help strenghten, that it doesn’t make it worse but I have also read that a pessary can worsen prolapse. What is your advise on this?

  6. sveta · October 9, 2014

    I have noticed that when i do plie squats my muscles become more tighter and stronger.. kegels i stopped doing a lot… and can see the difference now that i am 33 weeis pregnant. Squats really make a difference. I do oike 50 squats in morning and 50 in evening to tone tuose glutes and pelvic muscles…

  7. Emily · March 27, 2014

    OMG! I’m so happy this. See, a while back my friend told me to do kegals since I don’t get much exercise “down there”, and weak muscles can cause serious problems. I tried them(only like 5 times for one or two days spread out), and then I started peeing really frequently. In fact, I just came back from the doctors thinking I had a UTI, when the results came back negative. I’m not a super unhealthy person. But, I remember it started when I accidentally did kegals again. (It’s like, don’t think about them, because you think they might give you problems like in the past, and then I think and accidentally do them. Oi veh. -_-) Heck, just doing them for one afternoon has put me in this mess!

    Anyways, it’s great to see some info supporting what I had suspected. There’s info out there that says too many kegals can make it harder for you to let go and urinate, but this was quite the opposite.

    Anyways, thank you soooo much for posting this up. I’m going to do squats right now. (For anyone who is reading this, please make sure you are not doing your squats incorrectly – most people doesn’t realize there is such a thing. You can really damage your knees. Youtube is your friend.)

  8. Derek Frazier · August 29, 2013

    Being a massage therapist and have told people to do kegels I found this information priceless..thank you and I will spead the word.

  9. Annie · July 4, 2013

    Hey lady! I found your blog while I was looking for a better oatmeal cookie recipe, and then happily stumbled across this post about kegels. Thank you! I love the idea of squatting. It feels very natural and easy to do, and also like a fool-proof, intuitive way to take care of your body; something women have done for centuries, instead of using a hard-to-perfect modern exercise. All the best to you! : )

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  13. Constance Michaels · January 21, 2013

    …so, when you squat, should you stick your but out then?

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  15. Jen · January 11, 2013

    Fantastic article and I will be upping my squat reps throughout this pregnancy! As a Licensed Massage Therapist and personal trainer, I need to note a correction in the anterior/posterior pelvic tilt corrective exercises suggested. For anterior pelvic tilt (“swayback”), you need to STRETCH the quadriceps & psoas, and strengthen the hamstrings. Imagine strengthening the hamstrings as pulling the butt back down and in (strengthening the glutes aids as well). The psoas muscle is a deep ab muscle that is difficult to stretch, but runner’s lunge (or warrior 1 pose in yoga) is a great one for this. I’m a big proponent of stretching the psoas, as I find it’s a very commonly tight muscle that gets tighter from sitting for long periods.

    In posterior pelvic tilt, which your Q&A discussed, the butt is tucked under – the pelvis is tilted posteriorly. Often due to hamstrings that are too tight, and quads that aren’t tight enough; the quads need to be strengthened and a lot of stretching/massage should be done on the hamstrings to loosen them.

    In any case, strengthening the glutes is always a good idea, especially since we are a ‘sitting society’! I’ve never put thought into the pelvic floor muscles other than my own kegels, so it’s good to learn that strong glutes also aid in pulling things taut “down there”!

  16. suzanne · November 14, 2012

    I am 61 yrs. old, gave birth to a 2# premature baby at age 38. Doc wanted to get that baby out quick so did do some cutting. I found during pregnancy and then continuing off and on for years I got and get to experience fecal leakage. I guess this is quite common. If I had only known about these PF exercises back then. I was told to do Kegels -didn’t help much. Can these same exercises for pregnancy and post-pregnancy help with the rectal muscles now at my age?? I do exercise regularly w/yoga, strength, cardio. A msg. to younger women – do whatever you can now to avoid this problem in the future.

  17. Kate · September 20, 2012

    Thanks so much for this post, I am fascinated! It kind of confirms my experience that suppleness and awareness of PF is as important as strength. There have been times when I have done kegels 5 times a day and while this helped, it was not a resounding success. I’ll be doing squatting and kegels and see what happens.
    Many thanks!

  18. Jamie · August 21, 2012

    I couldn’t find where to order the DVD on her site. Is it for sale anywhere?

  19. Amy creamer · April 26, 2012

    Amazing! I will be changing my childbirth class that surrounds this topic!

  20. Hi Fantastic someone else who agrees. Here is my article I wrote last year http://pregnancyexercise.co.nz/information/pregnancy/how-much-pelvic-floor-muscle-exercise
    Again after birth #3 full strength of pelvic floors 14 days post and no kegal exercises just tranverse abdominal actvation and squats!

  21. in the mousehole · March 16, 2012

    This is great for most and good information. There is an exclusion to this rule, and I felt I should emphasize it. I had/have Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) and for people with this condition, squatting can actually damage and further the pain. People with SPD must keep their legs together as much as possible before, during and after pregnancy. During labor, I was not physically capable of opening my legs or squatting; I was able to give birth on my knees. I had done kegels throughout pregnancy and was able to hold my pee hours after the birth and my vag healed very quickly (contrary to my first birth in which I did not use kegels–was incontinent for 11 months).

  22. in the mousehold · March 16, 2012

    This is great for most and good information. There is an exclusion to this rule, and I felt I should emphasize it. I had/have Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) and for people with this condition, squatting can actually damage and further the pain. People with SPD must keep their legs together as much as possible before, during and after pregnancy. During labor, I was not physically capable of opening my legs or squatting; I was able to give birth on my knees. I had done kegels throughout pregnancy and was able to hold my pee hours after the birth and my vag healed very quickly (contrary to my first birth in which I did not use kegels–was incontinent for 11 months).

  23. sarah · March 15, 2012

    This is very eye openning!! I am a doula studying to become a midwife, I knew square were better than kegals but I didn’t realize metals could accually be bad! This will really help me and I am excited to pass along the info.

  24. Becky · March 15, 2012

    What if you have the opposite pelvic position issue? I have a large sway in my low back, and my butt tends to stick out posteriorly, causing my belly to stick out too. Would squats still be good for me? From what I’ve read in Pete Egoscue’s “The Egoscue Method of Healing Through Motion,” my pelvis tilts back, and I need to work on tilting it more forward. I wouldn’t want to do something that might increase my posterior tilt. Any thoughts?

  25. cyndy222 · March 14, 2012

    I learned squatting helped when I was going to physical therapy. They had me doing partial squats (not to floor) with a plastic gym ball or kids soccer between my knees. 20, 3x week for my knees. Well it made a tremendous difference in my incontinence.

  26. Amy · January 25, 2012

    Whole Woman believes that you should stop doing kegels too. Your posture also has a lot to do with preventing and treating prolapse. You have to let yourself have a lumbar curve so your organs rest on your pelvic bones, rather than giving them a straight line to fall out of your body like what happens when you tuck in your tailbone. There are exercises you can do as well.


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  28. nevrandil · December 4, 2011

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  29. Alithea · December 4, 2011

    Love this post!

  30. H · December 3, 2011

    Have you already given away the DVD? If not, pick me pick me pick me!!

  31. diana · December 1, 2011

    90 degree squats are just fine. Unless your talking first/forth/ and fifth postition plies and “primitive” squats. If your in a wide second with a natural turnout, you dont want to go to far beyond 90 degrees (your knee and ankle in alignment) or you can injure you knee at any age. When you do wide second or more common aerobics squats, just remember to keep your back straight with you head in alignment, and contract or tuck in your pelvis and engage your pelvic floor. If you do not want to do squats, there are wall sits which should not be done more than 90 degrees. Also, have you ever tried walking across the floor on your glutes? Belly dance is great for focusing on glute contractions if you like that better. If you would like to work on back flexibility too, try to find out if there is a Kathrine Dunham technique teacher in your area.

    • JeannineandMichael McCann · December 2, 2011

      Thanks for the info. I have been doing wall squats at the gym with my trainer. I really have a difficult time getting down onto the floor so I’ll opt out of walking across the floor on my clutes. I’ve also been doing step ups for balance and strengthen the clutes.

  32. JeannineandMichael McCann · November 29, 2011

    I am in my mid 60’s (yes a granmother). I had bilateral knee replacements 3 years ago and cannot do deep squats farther than about 90 degrees. What can I do to strengthen the PF?

  33. Rebeca · November 28, 2011

    This is very interesting! Thanks for posting.

  34. Bree · November 28, 2011

    This is exactly what my physio is working on with me now after chronic pain due to my pubis symphisis being out of whack following pregnancy/childbirth. We focus on my glutes and groin area, ie stability. The idea being to counteract the over tightness of the pelvic area.
    Worked really well after my first and just starting again after my second as the same problem has popped up.
    Gotta get my butt back into gear :-P

  35. Terry Vanderpham · November 28, 2011

    Wow! Would love to get a copy of “Down There”! I always thought I had very strong PF muscles but would pee whenever I coughed or sneezed after having a baby. Lasted for about 3 weeks after childbirth. Who knew?!? Well, I have to say, people in Asia must have known. They squat all the time. I have relatives who can squat all day every day. And they always squat when going to the toilet!

  36. Shannon · November 28, 2011

    As a massage therapist, I completely agree!!! It is awesome to read someone talking about the anterior/posterior pull of the sacrum. The importance of strong glutes not only helps with back pain, but it also helps to stabilize the core. If you have a strong core and strong glutes, you can avoid low back pain and incontinence!

  37. Gayle J · November 28, 2011

    wow! This is great. It makes perfect sense. Would love to win this DVD!

  38. Kirsten · November 28, 2011

    I’ve always been told that my Kegels are strong, but I never felt like I have reaped any benefits from the exercises, apart from compliments from doctors. This makes much more sense.

  39. Butler Barbara · November 28, 2011

    Wow, I can’t believe that I just read everything I had learned recently the hard way; I thought I was having a prolapsed uterus, but was reassured I was “nice and tight” so was referred to a urologist for Interstitial cystitis. The urologist referred me to a specialized physical therapist who told me to stop doing kegels because I was TOO tight. I found that hard to believe, but I have been trying to do as she has told me; stop crossing my legs, stop doing the kegels, pee and empty my bowels with my knees higher than my hips. I also have a lumbar pillow I travel with to try and get the curve back in my spine. It is reassuring to read your article and know that I am on the right track so I will start doing the squats too. Should be easy since I am in Africa now so I’ll just “join in”. I hope I win the DVD because I could use all the help I an get!

  40. Laurie · November 28, 2011

    Great post! After I had kids, it seemed like Kegel exercises helped some, but also gave me more of an urge to pee when I shouldn’t. I started squatting this past year after reading “The Primal Blueprint”, and hadn’t thought about it, but thinking back I now realize that I have been having fewer incontinence issues. I love good science!

  41. Janine · November 28, 2011

    Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou! I have been suffering since having my kids, I can’t wait to see if this works so I can get my old life back!

  42. Julie Doula Larsen · November 28, 2011

    How do you order this DVD of exercises? I want more information on it. Thanks so much. :)

  43. Pingback: Strong Pelvic Floors and How to Get One « Puget Sound Family Source
  44. Jenny Schellhorn · November 27, 2011

    Hi I’m just wondering where you got the pregnancy squat picture from. I have a friend who drew us this picture a few years ago for us to use in our Pre Natal Yoga Classes – it may just be a coincidence but it is exactly the same and wonder if you have the same friend or where you come across this???
    Curious :)

  45. Conscious Home Birth Bermuda · November 27, 2011

    I have been teaching this for years in my Prenatal yoga class.

  46. Anna · November 27, 2011

    Im in the position of being 5 weeks post partum and left with fecal incontinence from PF damage. Great, huh? The consultant tells me there is no treatment but “time, and kegels”. Do you think the same would apply to squatting in this case?

  47. Willa Grant · November 27, 2011

    Wow- I am going into old age & I would love to find out more about this!

  48. nancy merrill · November 27, 2011

    very interesting..I would like to learn more….

  49. karen cagle · October 27, 2011

    notifuy me of new posts

  50. Pingback: Stop doing Kegels?? Yes, and learn to squat instead! | Lahela Fit Blog.com
  51. Pingback: To Kegal or Not to Kegal | Doula Trainings International
  52. Jenny bryl · September 19, 2011

    Just take care and be gentle with your knees. As we all get older our knees become more sensitive as a result of how we treated them when we were younge r

  53. YoMamma · September 16, 2011

    So, what if I cannot squat? Serious back and knee problems, plus replaced hips, and I don’t squat. At all. What can I do to help strengthen my pelvic floor?

    • Andrea · November 27, 2011

      Katy does have non-squat version on her blog.

  54. allie · September 15, 2011

    The thing this post/interview is missing is how to squat, for women totally unfamiliar with the movement. For strength/weight room/squat rack lovers like me- I get it. But a lot of women won’t get it…

  55. allie · September 15, 2011

    Brilliant, fabulous and logical.

  56. Tracie Horsley · September 14, 2011

    I love this article and have experienced exactly what you are talking about. For me, it’s a lot of sitting – not in the best position, you know in the more slouchy way – that cause my gluts to be weak, low back to be tight and surprisingly (not) PF to be tight/weak.

    When I squat a few minutes a day — it all feels a lot better. Thank you for the great article! –Tracie


  57. Alicia Willoughby · September 14, 2011

    I am a physical therapist that works with postpartum women and the vast majority of my clients have the opposite pelvic position stated above, they have anterior pelvic tilt with bellies hanging forward. They need pelvic floor to stabilize pelvis and pull their sacrum back in. The sacrum is not “floating” in the pelvis, there are very strong ligaments attached….and wearing high heels puts you in anterior pelvic tilt, not posterior. I agree with the info about the gluts.

    • Bridget Sheeran · March 25, 2013

      yeah, I’m a midwife and I understood that high heels, especially in younger women and teens tilts the pelvis in the anterior, that way in pregnancy and labour, the baby cannot get down easily. it makes sense about the squats and the strengthening of the legs and gluts – I also read that squatting in African women is easier because they have a longer achilles tendon – and most caucasian women do not, so squating for years would be necessary to lengthen this tendon – is that true?

  58. Tiff Downey · September 13, 2011

    I want the video if it’s not already gone. :)

  59. Valerie Wang · September 12, 2011

    I am sorry to disagree. As a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor rehabilitation there is a lot of science out there about correct recruitment of the pelvic floor. We use tools such as EMG biofeedback and real time ultrasound in studying muscles and function. We work with men and women with voiding dysfunctions (who don’t relax the pelvic floor when they urinate), with urinary frequency and urgency, and with stress and urge incontinence, as well as pelvic pain. Find a qualified professional with credentials by going to http://www.womenshealthapta.org. I think you’ll be impressed by the science and the art of physical therapy.

    • J. 'Kalidevi' Bensusan · April 13, 2013

      You disagree, but you don’t say why. Some people would rather milk people for money than give them a truth that would help them.

      If you’re going to refute something, don’t you think you should say why you disagree, explain further what is wrong, what do you disagree with?

  60. Carbca · September 11, 2011

    This, in my opinion, is amazing news. However, I have bad knees (chondromalacin pattellae, some wierd dislocating thing that ive been trying to get diagnosed for over a decade, and a family history of various cartilage issues and severe osteoarthritis). Squatting for me, not only can cause pain, but weeks of lingering pain. Is there a back-up technique (other than kegels) that I can be doing?

    • Andrea · November 27, 2011

      Go to Katie’s blog. She has a non-squat version.

  61. Catherine · September 10, 2011

    Just have questions about squatting – might have missed it in the article, too.

    When in pregnancy should a mama start?

    Is there a propensity for deep transverse arrest if baby is not engaged in the pelvis?

    Thank you.


  62. Pingback: Simple Goals for September | CML - A Blog for Moms
  63. Stacy Rinehart · August 29, 2011

    What if you cant get down far enough?? what if you cant do it all?? Is there a guide that someone can go by???

    • journeytocrunchville · August 29, 2011

      I am not an expert on squatting. What I would do is start by squatting against a wall, so that you have the balance support. Go down as far as you can and hold for as long as you can. Do this a few times each day. Then gradually as each day passes you should be able to go down further and hold longer. Yoga will also help to stretch and strengthen those muscles.

  64. Joy · August 27, 2011

    What an “eye”opener! Here’s to the butt muscle!!

  65. Charisma · August 25, 2011

    I’m currently pregnant nearly full term #2, and have forgotten my kegels this entire pregnancy…But, I LOVE peeing in the shower! The best pee of my day!

  66. Pingback: Walk Proud | Esali Birth Blog
  67. Dee Johnson · August 25, 2011

    I admit it, I always pee in the shower. Now I just have to squat when I do it. ;) I am due any day now, and would love the DVD. Thanks!

  68. Shelby · August 25, 2011

    I want that DVD! Lol… I’m pregnant with my second, and looking for good – reasonable – exercises to do to prepare my body to birth this baby.

  69. Desperate for relief · August 24, 2011

    The article indicates that the exercises are more effective in resolving issues than surgery. What if the bladder has actually fallen? I have been advised to have surgery to repair that. I don’t see how the squatting will put the bladder back in place.

  70. Sarah Gielow · August 24, 2011

    THANK YOU!!! I could kiss BOTH of you! :-D

  71. Karyn Dunavant · August 24, 2011

    LOL… and my Bradley instructor laughs at me! I told her I do kegels while I’m squatting (both are recommended by the Bradley method), and she’s like “wow, multitasker!” I’m like well…I can’t even feel if I’m doing it right if I don’t squat, and it gets me to squat longer! (And yes, I work out 3x/wk so I do butt work at least once a week) It’s very interesting to find out that I’m doing the right thing but didn’t know it! I’m due in 4 1/2 weeks and have been squatting 4x a day (for about 5 minutes each) for the last 14 or so weeks…since I started my Bradley classes. I guess I’m doing right by my PC muscle!

    • Karyn Dunavant · August 24, 2011

      I’m also having a home birth, hoping to do it in the tub while squatting! Looking forward to seeing if all my squatting pays off–I’d love to birth in a squatting position.

      • Sarah · August 25, 2011

        Good luck, Karyn. I had three home births, and they were fantastic. I hope everything turns out well for you and your family.

  72. LaLasha Murphy · August 24, 2011

    super interesting and I will revisit the squat

  73. Pingback: Why You Should Stop Doing Kegels - Pregnancy - Third Trimester Forum
    • Sarah Issersohn · November 28, 2011

      This is interesting, but I think everyone is different – I am extremely tuned in to my body, and I did really well with MODERATE use of kegels, in conjunction with squatting. I had to work during my pregnancy and peeing my pants at work was not okay with me, so I did moderate amounts of kegels and they were GREAT for me. I have always done moderate amounts of kegels, which ARE a natural excercize – most women do them whenever they have sex! I also squat though. Squatting is excellent as well. I just think it’s a shame to say, “You know, if you do this thousands of times a day, it could hurt you, so you shouldn’t do it at all”, because, without kegels, there’s no way I could have gotten through my pregnancy without peeing all over the place every time I coughed, chuckled, or hiccuped.

      • KW · March 14, 2012

        This is just what I was thinking! I do squats and some kegels. Without kegels, my husband would lose much of his pleasure–especially around ovulation. I spent a lot of time during each of my pregnancies in deep squat. I also pushed my babies out quickly with no stitches required. Definitely a balanced work-out is called for here.

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