To perform kegel exercises, begin with an empty bladder and pretend you are stopping the flow of urine midstream, according to WebMD. Squeeze your pelvic muscles as if to pause urination for at least three seconds, then relax. Repeat the exercise 10 to 15 repetitions, up to three times each day.
It is important to perform kegels only after emptying the bladder, as attempting to perform them during actual urination can have a weakening affect on the muscles, notes the Mayo Clinic. Only the pelvic floor muscles should be tightened during a kegel exercise; focus on not flexing the muscles of the abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Breathe normally throughout the exercise.
Performing kegels regularly strengthens the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, rectum and urethra. Kegels were invented in the 1940s by gynecologist Arnold Kegel, who recommended the exercises to help his female patients strengthen their bladders after childbirth.
Kegel exercises help treat and prevent urinary incontinence, or the leaking of urine when laughing, coughing, exercising or sneezing. Kegels also help restore strength to the pelvic floor muscles after childbirth and prevent uterine prolapse and anal incontinence.
Kegels are best performed on a regular daily schedule, such as three sets of 10 repetitions per day. Women are advised to perform daily kegels both during and after pregnancy.