What the heck are Kegels?

What the Heck is a Kegel?

 What is a Kegel?

A Kegel is the general name for doing a pelvic floor muscle exercise. The pelvic floor muscles are located in the base of the pelvis and are situated like a bowl or sling. There are three main muscle layers. Everyone has pelvic floor muscles and they play an important role in bowel, bladder, and sexual function. The pelvic floor must be able to contract, relax, and bear down for normal function.

When should I do Kegels?

This can vary depending on if any pelvic symptoms are present, like urinary leakage or pain. In the case of urinary leakage with coughing, sneezing, laughing, or standing from chair, you should do a kegel while this is happening to try and prevent the loss. If you want to practice kegels for general strengthening, I encourage them to be done while standing or doing activity and not just with sitting. Many times when I hear about patients leaking, it occurs with more functional tasks and less so at rest. In the case of pain, pelvic floor muscles are often tight or tense, which will make them difficult to activate more. Those individuals may need to address relaxing the muscles first, before worrying about strength.

Why should I do Kegels?

Kegel exercises can be beneficial to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. By doing these with functional tasks, you can help reduce urinary leakage, bowel leakage, and pelvic organ prolapse. These muscles are also part of the core and help be supportive during increased physical load or stress on the body.

How do I do a Kegel correctly?

A kegel can be properly performed by pretending to stop flow of urine and hold back from passing gas. (Please do not regularly practice stopping flowing of urine as this is a reflex system, but okay to test). This should be a very light activation that does not involve your butt muscles, abdominals, or chest moving. You should also be able to keep breathing while you perform them. The activation should be like a light squeeze and lift. Overall, it should feel isolated to the pelvis and have no movement from an outside perspective (someone at home shouldn’t be able to notice you are practicing).


If you have any concerns related to pelvic floor symptoms or dysfunction, I recommend you follow up with a pelvic health physical therapist. All you need is a referral from your doctor.

Erin Galarza, PT, DPT, OCS

Erin graduated with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Pacific University in 2013. She has over seven years’ experience as an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist treating general orthopedic conditions, aquatic therapy, and pelvic health. As a pelvic health physical therapist, she treats bowel, bladder, and pelvic pain conditions in both male and female clients, as well as female pelvic organ prolapse. In 2018 she became a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedics. She has been practicing as a physical therapist in Washington State prior to her move to Vermont in 2020. Erin enjoys traveling and taking in the outdoors. 

Staff Spotlight: Melissa Morrison

Staff Spotlight:

Melissa Morrison

Melissa is new addition to our office staff at the St. Johnsbury clinic.  She has hit the ground running in the office and has fit in perfectly.  Melissa is an insurance specialist who also ensures the front office runs smoothly.  After a 10 year break from the medical field, Melissa decided she missed it and returned and we are incredibly proud to have her on staff.

Melissa’s favorite food is fruit and coffee.  You can always see a large  bowl of grapes/raspberries/blueberries next to her desk when she is in the office. It is also important to note that Melissa not only keeps snacks for herself but she also is the stocker of the ‘Life Saver bowls’ that we all have grown to rely on. 

Melissa loves spending time with her grandkids, crafting and playing horseshoes and plans to do a lot of traveling in the near future.

Be sure to say hello to Melissa next time you’re in the St. Johnsbury clinic.

Cleaning up your Row Technique

Rowing is one of my foundational movements for almost all of my clients.  In order for it to be a staple it needs to be performed correctly.  There are a lot of things that can go wrong with the row motion. 

A common example includes: shrugging the shoulders and using the trapezius to perform the movement rather than the lats and rhomboids (among others).  Then there is the example I’m highlighting here; excessive extension of the arms through the end range of motion needed for good row technique (essentially pulling the arms too far back while performing the row). 


Excessive extension in the row motion causes a couple of things to happen: it causes unnecessary stress to the anterior capsule and biceps tendon of the shoulder and also redirects the work to other muscles in the back other than the lats and rhomboids.

Below is a video of a good row technique. Notice the upper arm stops just beyond the midline of the body. Any more than that and you risk what I mentioned above. To clean up your technique you may need to use video or a mirror to check your endpoint before you can get a real good feel for your form


Ben is the former owner of Fortitude Fitness Systems, INC (Bens Bootcamps) for 12 years. Ben graduated from the University of Maine at Presque Isle with a degree in Athletic Training in 2001. Expanding his Sports Medicine skill at Amherst College for 2 years working with 40 varsity athletic teams, Ben moved more into the strength and conditioning field but has always pulled on his athletic training background. He enjoys seeing his clients realize their potential and break through previously thought barriers in their movement and abilities.

Ben, originally from Maine, moved to Vermont in 2005 and lives in Lyndonville with his 4 children, and wife Nedah. In his free time Ben enjoys furniture refurbishing, spending time with his family, and tending to his chickens.

Staff Spotlight: Renee

Staff Spotlight:

Renee Ignjatovic, PTA

Welcome to our first of many staff spotlights of our amazing providers here at Dan Wyand PT and Associates.  Our first spotlight is on our Physical Therapy Assistant, Renee Ignjatovic out of our Lyndonville clinic.  We interviewed Renee to shed some light who she is beyond the office: 

What is your specialty at Dan Wyand PT?


My specialty is STM (Soft Tissue Mobilization), but I also enjoy working with ‘geriatric athletes’ and balance work.


What led you into coming to work at Dan Wyand PT?


Hmm, I couldn’t decide between nursing or PT. I went to nursing school first but kept thinking about PT/AT (physical therapy/athletic training). I decided to transfer to PTA school, and just loved it.


What is your favorite food?


I love to eat (I know it doesn’t look like it). I wouldn’t turn down a steak and potato dinner…but I also love spaghetti!


What are 3 hobbies?


My main hobby is gymnastics. I eat, sleep and breathe it! I have been that way since I can remember. I coach 4-5 times days per week. I also really enjoy hiking and started getting into bouldering with my daughter! It is so fun to climb, I enjoy the challenge. I also love to garden. I find it therapeutic.



What is one thing you hope to do in your life that you haven’t done yet?


I’d love to travel and explore other countries.