These moves strengthen the external muscles involved in pelvic floor health, helping you get more from your Kegels.

Ever since you heard that Kegels—pelvic floor strengthening exercises named after the doc who created them—can improve bladder control and orgasms, you’ve been doing them every day. But the thing is, you haven’t noticed a difference. So what’s going on, exactly? Does it mean you’re not doing them correctly?

According to Karly Treacy, a yoga teacher and pelvic floor specialist, the issue is likely that you’re focusing too much on the muscles inside your pelvis—and neglecting the ones outside.

“When you look at the pelvic floor, it’s a matrix of muscles connecting your two sit bones, as well as your pubic bone and tailbone,” says Treacy. “Over time—and due to things like pregnancy, sitting too much and obesity—those muscles stretch out and lose their tone.” What’s more, the joints on either side of your spine, which are held together by connective tissue, get lax, which can actually widen the space between your sit bones by up to an inch. This makes it challenging to tone the pelvic floor muscles even if you’re a Kegel devotee, says Treacy.

To minimise the space between your sit bones and strengthen the surrounding muscles, Kegels simply aren’t enough. You’ll also need to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and an outer hip muscle called the tensor fascia latae, Treacy explains. “Since these muscles provide structural support to the pelvis, they’re just as important for your pelvic floor health as the internal muscles that Kegels target."

Here are five yoga poses Treacy suggests doing each week (in addition to Kegels) to help strengthen all of the muscles involved in optimal pelvic floor health: