"Better Than Kegels" Pelvic Floor Workout DVD Review

How the Magic Circle Can Improve Your Pelvic Floor

Woman sitting on a mat, using a Pilates circle
Elisabeth LHOMELET / Getty Images

Let's get something clear right away: Both men and women have pelvic floor muscles, and many could benefit from knowing some pelvic floor exercises. Women often times have more dramatic pelvic floor issues than men because of pregnancy and childbirth, but the importance of a toned pelvic floor cannot be overstated for either gender. Men also need a strong pelvic floor, and the principles of Kegels work for both men and women.

As Marie Monahan points out in her DVD "Beyond Kegels" and its follow-up, "Better Than Kegels," pelvic floor exercises can help you get a tighter tummy (especially the lower abs), control incontinence and even improve your sex life. The pelvic floor is also an integral part of the Pilates powerhouse. That means it works in concert with a host of other muscles including the abdominals, butt and back muscles to create strong, efficient movement.

Pilates Goes Beyond Kegels for the Pelvic Floor

Kegel exercises have been the standard for pelvic floor strengthening exercises for many years, but why should we stop there? Kegels do work. They are wonderful for helping people tune into their pelvic floor, maybe for the first time.

But Kegels are an isolation exercise. They don't help you feel the integration of the action of the pelvic floor with other kinds of movement. Frankly, some of us find Kegels alone a little boring as well. What if you could tone your pelvic floor and some other muscles like your abs, glutes and inner thighs at the same time?

Marie Monahan's Pelvic Floor Exercises

In "Beyond Kegels" and "Better Than Kegels," Marie Monahan has assembled a series of Pilates exercises that, with the added resistance of the Pilates magic circle, activate the pelvic floor. Of course, activating the pelvic floor has as much to do with attention and intention as anything else, but Monahan has chosen Pilates exercises that are well suited to helping you feel the activation of the pelvic floor and how that supports the rest of the exercise.

Both DVDs include an introduction, warm-up, and 10 exercises. The exercises are all fairly simple, and Monahan is an excellent instructor, so I don't hesitate to recommend this DVD to anyone who's ready to devote a little time and attention to strengthening their pelvic floor.

Do watch the introduction because it offers valuable tips on how to activate the pelvic floor. The exercises progress from easy to challenging levels, and it only takes about 17 minutes to do them all - once you build up to that.

All of the pelvic floor exercises in these DVDs use the Pilates magic circle, also referred to as an exercise ring, a wonderfully versatile piece of Pilates equipment that can add a new dimension to your workout. You can find a variety of magic rings on Amazon.

"Beyond Kegels" has been discontinued, but the updated version, "Better Than Kegels," is available on DVD and Amazon Instant Video.

By Marguerite Ogle MS, RYT
Marguerite Ogle is a freelance writer and experienced natural wellness and life coach, who has been teaching Pilates for more than 35 years.