5 Kegel Mistakes You're Making & How To Do Them Right

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

From stronger orgasms to reduced back pain, the benefits of kegels — exercises for toning the pelvic floor muscles — are surprisingly varied and numerous. But many people who do kegels aren't getting these benefits, because they're not doing them correctly. Like most exercises, kegels require proper technique and practice to get the maximum benefit from them.

So, how exactly do you do kegels? Generally, you should tighten your PC muscles — the ones that help you hold in pee or gas and contract when you orgasm — hold them for a certain number of seconds (this will vary from person to person), relax, and repeat.

But even with this knowledge, it can be hard to get the technique down. "Research shows that most women do not do kegels correctly, and around 85 percent reported that verbal instruction alone did not help them properly perform a kegel," Rachel Gelman, DPT, PT, a pelvic floor physical therapist in San Francisco, tells Bustle. "So, if anyone thinks they should be doing kegels or feels like they need help, they should consult a pelvic floor specialist to determine if they need to be doing them and to make sure they are doing them correctly."

Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when they do kegels — and what you should be dong instead.