On this page, you’ll find out how exercise can tighten your pelvic floor muscles, including:
- what vaginal exercises are
- what pelvic floor muscles are
- how to exercise your vagina
- the connection between vagina tightening exercises and sexual intercourse
What are vaginal exercises?
The term ‘vaginal exercises’ is actually a misnomer. The vagina is made up of three different layers of tissue, none of which you can actively train to improve their strength and tightness.
When people talk about vaginal exercises, they’re actually referring to exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
What are pelvic floor muscles?
The pelvic floor muscles are a sling-shaped group of muscles that stretch from the tail bone at the base of your back, to the pubic bone at the front of your pelvis. Just like any other muscles, they need regular exercise to keep them toned and tight.
Pelvic floor muscles form part of a group of muscles known as ‘core muscles’. These include the tummy muscles, back muscles and diaphragm1.
What are the causes and symptoms of weak pelvic floor muscles?
There are several causes of a weak pelvic floor, including:
Symptoms of this condition include:
You can find out more about the causes and symtopms of weak pelvic floor muscles here.
How to exercise your vagina
Again, when we talk about exercising your vagina, we actually mean toning up the pelvic floor muscles.
If you’re experiencing severe symptoms or haven’t exercised for a while, you may want to speak to your GP or a physiotherapist specialising in women’s health. You can read more about the causes and symptoms of a weak pelvic floor muscle here.
What are Kegel exercises?
If you’ve had children, you’re likely to know what a Kegel exercise is. Medical practitioners recommend women do regular sets of Kegels (also known as pelvic floor exercises) during pregnancy and after childbirth to help tighten their pelvic floor muscles.
However, Kegels are beneficial to all women and can be done at any stage of life to help tone the pelvic floor muscles and reduce the risk of problems such as:
- stress urinary incontinence
- painful sex
- pelvic pain2
What are the benefits of Kegel exercises?
Doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles can help prevent all of the symptoms associated with a weak pelvic floor, including:
- painful sexual intercourse
- a lack of sensation during sex
- pelvic organ prolapse
- stress urinary incontinence
How to find your pelvic floor muscles
Before you can start to exercise your pelvic floor muscles, you’ll need to find them!
- Get into a comfortable position.
- Imagine you’re trying to hold in urine and wind at the same time—this should feel like the muscles from the front to the back of your pelvic are tightening and lifting. These are your pelvic floor muscles.
- If you want to check you’re exercising the right muscles, insert your thumb or a finger into your vagina and tighten your pelvic floor muscles. You should be able to feel the muscles tightening around your finger.
Simple Kegel exercises you can do anywhere
You can do these simple exercises anywhere, at any time, to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. When you do them, try to focus only on your pelvic floor muscles, rather than tightening your stomach or buttocks as well.
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, release them and let them relax
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold them for as long as you can
- Release and relax
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles then immediately let them go
- Quickly tighten them again and repeat as many times as you can—it will feel as though you’re ‘pulsing’ the muscle
Over time, you should be able to build up how long you can hold your muscles for and the number of pelvic floor exercises you can do. Ideally, you should aim to do at least 10 of each exercise three times a day3.
How to exercise your pelvic floor muscles with a device
Once you’ve mastered the above exercises, you could consider moving on to using a pelvic floor device to give your muscles a workout.
There are a number of devices designed to make Kegel exercises easier to do, and to remember to do. These include the following:
- Kegel balls
You insert these small, circular, weighted balls (also known as Kegel weights) into your vagina to help strength the pelvic floor muscles. When you insert the Kegel balls, the vaginal wall naturally tightens to keep them in place.
- Vaginal cones
These serve the same purpose as Kegel balls but tend to be narrower and more difficult to keep in place.
- Devices linked to apps
Some Kegel devices are linked to apps that allow you to monitor your progress and remind you to do your exercises regularly.
Vaginal tightening exercises you can do at the gym
The pelvic floor muscles are just one set of muscles that make up your ‘core’. By exercising other core muscles as well as the pelvic floor, you can strengthen the whole of your core.
Small exercise ball
- Lie on your back on the floor, bend your legs and place an exercise ball between your knees (choose a ball about the same size as a football)
- Lift your pelvis upwards
- Hold for a few seconds
- Slowly release
This is particularly useful if you’re just getting back into exercising after having a baby and aren’t ready for a high-impact workout yet.
Large exercise ball
- Sit on a Pilates ball and lean forward so your pelvic floor muscles are in contact with the surface of the ball
- Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as you would doing regular Kegel exercises
- Try to lift your pelvic floor muscles away from the Kegel ball as you do your exercises
Not only do these exercises help to strengthen your pelvic muscles but stabilising yourself on the ball will help to engage your back and tummy muscles, and also your bottom.
Strong buttock muscles (or glutes) can provide additional support to the pelvic floor, and squats are one of the best ways to tone all of these muscles. The National Association for Incontinence has detailed instructions for how to do squats to improve you pelvic floor health here.
Will exercising my pelvic floor muscles make my vagina tighter?
Exercising your pelvic floor muscles won’t increase the tightness of your vagina. Vaginal tissue changes and stretches in relation to fluctuations in hormone levels—such as when we age, during pregnancy, or during and after childbirth.
It’s likely you won’t notice these changes. However, if you have weak pelvic floor muscles, you might experience symptoms such as poor bladder control or a lack of sensation during sex.
What’s the connection between vagina tightening exercises and sexual intercourse?
The idea of a vagina becoming looser after childbirth, or after having a lot of sex, is a myth. The layers of tissue that make up the vagina have the ability to stretch wide enough to accommodate a baby, and then return to their usual size.
The only thing that affects the structure of the vaginal canal is vaginal atrophy, a thinning of the vaginal wall that some women experience during or after the menopause. Vaginal atrophy can cause the vaginal tissue to become thinner, which in some cases can make the vagina feel looser.
Although there are often stories in the media about how vagina tightening exercises can improve your sex life, this isn’t strictly true. The muscles in the vaginal walls can’t be trained, and no amount of exercise can increase their tightness.
However, pelvic floor exercises can help the vagina feel tighter, as the pelvic floor is responsible for the feeling of ‘tightness’ during sex. During arousal, the pelvic floor muscles relax, which may make your vagina feels ‘looser’.
If you have weak pelvic floor muscles, you may feel looser than you’d prefer to during sex and this could lessen any sensation. Having a strong pelvic floor can actually make sex more enjoyable4.
Having toned pelvic floor muscles can help to avoid issues such as:
- stress urinary incontinence (SUI)
- pelvic prolapse—where the pelvic organs (such as the bladder, uterus and rectum) start to drop into the vagina from their usual position in the pelvis
Are there any side effects to vagina tightening exercises?
As long as you do Kegel exercises correctly, there should be no negative side effects. If you experience any pain in your back or tummy muscles, this is a sign that you aren’t employing the proper technique.
However, if you do Kegel exercises when you have a full bladder or when you’re passing urine, this could increase the risk of you suffering a urinary tract infection5.
If you’re concerned that doing pelvic floor exercises might make your vagina too tight, don’t worry—these exercises don’t actually tighten your vaginal wall muscles. Instead, they strengthen the pelvic floor, the sling-shaped muscles that stretch from the front of your pubic bone to the bottom of your back.
We have a section of our Advice Centre dedicated to laser vaginal tightening—you can find out more about Femilift vaginal tightening laser treatment here.