Updated: Apr 26
Hi friends! When we want to get stronger in muscles like our biceps or hamstrings, we often use weights to help us. But your pelvic floor muscles can’t reach down and pick the weight up, so how do we get them stronger? In 1985, Plevnik invented the vaginal weight (or vaginal cone) to help with pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) (Bo, 2015). These weights are essentially a dumbbell, but for your pelvic floor.
Who Should Use Vaginal Weights?
Let’s start with those who should not use a vaginal weight. If you are having pelvic pain, vaginal weights are not a good treatment option for you as this could actually make your symptoms worse. If you are experiencing pelvic pain, a pelvic floor physical therapist can be a great resource. Similarly, if you have an overactive pelvic floor, vaginal weights are not a good exercise. The pelvic floor muscles need to be able to completely relax before they are ready to use weights. And you guessed it, a pelvic floor physical therapist can help with this, too!
Vaginal weights can help increase pelvic floor muscle tone, endurance, and coordination which can help with a variety of symptoms. Vaginal weights can help with all of the following:
Stress and mixed (stress plus urge) incontinence (Bo, 2015)
Poop or gas incontinence
Pelvic organ prolapse
Pleasure and sexy time for more or stronger orgasms
Some individuals have difficulty with finding their pelvic floor muscles to contract them. Vaginal weights can help give your brain feedback of where the weight is to help it coordinate a pelvic floor muscle contraction. Our brains can use the sensation of the weight slipping out to help contract the pelvic floor muscles (Bo, 2015).
How to Use a Vaginal Weight
There are a few different ways to use vaginal weights. Just like other exercise programs, there is not one right answer. The “right way” for you depends on your goals and the current ability of your pelvic floor muscles.
When talking about strengthening any muscle in the body, we need to apply to overload principle. To put it simply, we need to challenge a muscle to see changes in it. This can be done several ways including increasing the number of repetitions performed or increasing the resistance (e.g. a vaginal weight).
Regardless of the way you choose to use your vaginal weights, it’s important to breathe normally (Bo, 2015). Avoid holding your breathing and clenching your core to hold the weight in. If you aren’t able to keep the weight in and breathe freely, you may need to start with a lighter weight.
To start, wash your hands and then place the weight in your vagina like a tampon.
You can use vaginal weights the same way you would a dumbbell and perform pelvic floor muscle contractions (Kegels) using the weight as resistance. When training the pelvic floor muscles, it’s important to focus on both quick contractions and endurances holds (up to 10 seconds). After contracting the pelvic floor, be sure to let it fully relax before performing the next contraction.
If your vaginal weights come with a string on the end, you can use this string to pull on the weight as if you were playing “tug of war”. As you pull the string with your fingers, contract your pelvic floor muscles to hold the weight in (Bo, 2015).
If you don’t want to do Kegel repetitions, you can put the weight in while doing functional activities like taking a shower or doing housework. Start with a weight you can hold in the vagina for 1 minute while standing (Bo, 2015). Use it up to 20 minutes at a time while upright (Bo, 2015). You wouldn’t hold weights in your arms or legs all day long, so don’t do it to your pelvic floor muscles either.
If you have pelvic organ prolapse, you might initially find it difficult to keep the weight in when you are standing. Start by using the weights lying down or sitting and progress to standing as your pelvic floor muscles get stronger.
After using your vaginal weights, it’s important to clean them in between uses to avoid infections. Follow the directions that come with your weights to properly wash them.
There are different brands of vaginal weights, but one of our favorites is Intimate Rose. You can find them on our Amazon page here or head to IntimateRose.com and use the code MYPFM for $5 off!
If you are having a hard time using the vaginal weights or experience any pain, it is a good idea to see a pelvic floor physical therapist. They can help you to make sure you are contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles properly as well as helping you to manage any other symptoms you might be having!
Whether you have vaginal weights or not, start training your pelvic floor muscles with this 5 minute pelvic floor workout with Jeanice!
Here are some great resources to learn more about training your pelvic floor:
Sign up for our FREE 6 Part PFMT Series (Live on Zoom) here
Ask your healthcare provider for a referral to a pelvic therapist.
Find a pelvic therapist on your own at myPFM.com. We have links to 4 free searchable databases under Find a PT.
Watch our YouTube playlist on Pelvic Floor Muscle Training
Learn more about the pelvic floor muscles with our book: My Pelvic Floor Muscles The Basics
Sign up for our email newsletter!
Watch a quick video to learn about your pelvic floor.
For providers, check our online courses to help your clients experiencing pelvic floor weakness and incoordination. Consider joining our Ambassador Program and most of our courses are included with your membership!
Vaginal Weights: Evidence-Based Research Review with Dr. Amanda Olson PT, DPT, PRPC
Urinary Incontinence and Urogynecology with Dr. Tessa Krantz, MD
Check out our FREE YouTube playlist for health providers here.
What experiences or tips do you have that can help others? We’d love to hear them. Please join the conversation in the comments section below.
Written by Emily Reul, PT, DPT
1. Bo K, Berghmans B, Morkved S, Van Kampen M. Evidenced-based physical therapy for the pelvic floor bridging science and clinical practice. 2nd edition. 2015.