The Aquaflex Pelvic Floor Exercise System
and Kegel8 Vaginal Cones
are two of the leading manual pelvic floor exercisers, but which is better? We put them head to head to find out.
To put it bluntly, the colour, shape and thin removal cord of Aquaflex cones make them look very much like tampons. Although this familiarity could be appealing, it would be nice if they looked a little less clinical. After all, to get the best results you should use pelvic floor cones every day and if they look pretty it seems like less of a chore! However, the Aquaflex storage case is sleek and sophisticated in a gentle shade of green, and is small enough to carry around in your bag if you need to do your exercises away from home.
Kegel8 cones are in pretty shades of blue and lilac, and thankfully look nothing like sanitary wear! They're very feminine which is brilliant. Pelvic floor weakness can be an embarrassing thing to deal with and the clinical Aquaflex
cones seem to reinforce that. The bright, colourful and very girly Kegel8 cones instead celebrate pelvic floor exercising as a way of giving women back control and confidence. Plus, they come in a pretty gift box which is a lovely way to store them.
The Kegel8 cones are made from body-friendly silicone, which means they are kind to your intimate area, very easy to keep clean, and they feel soft and gentle to the touch. They're also very easy to grip so that you can insert and remove them without worry or discomfort.
Again, the Aquaflex cones feel very clinical. They're made from plastic which doesn't have the same high quality feel that the Kegel8 cones have, and the cord somewhat resembles fishing wire. This may not be an issue for many women, but for those new to the world of pelvic floor exercising the look and feel of the Aquaflex cones may not make them feel completely at ease.
Aquaflex cones include brief instructions on where to begin and how to gradually work your way up to heavier weights. These instructions state that your pelvic floor muscles should immediately contract around the cone and you don't have to actively exercise against it. This concerns us! Although passively wearing a cone can help to strengthen the pelvic floor, research has shown that resistance exercise, that is squeezing and lifting whilst wearing a cone, is far more beneficial as it gives the muscles something to push against. We think that Aquaflex's advice to simply let the cone sit there without doing your usual squeeze and lift routine will not let you get the best out of your pelvic floor.
The Kegel8 instructions encourage you to actively exercise whilst wearing the cones since that is the most effective way to get results. The cones come with a free 12-week exercise plan which gives you a detailed step-by-step guide on how to gradually improve your muscle strength. For women with severely weak pelvic floors it can be hard to find the right muscles to squeeze and to know how much and in what way they should exercise, so lots of support, help and advice is so important. The Kegel8 cones really deliver here.
With the Kegel8 cones you simply pop in a cone and start squeezing. There are three cones, each of different size and weight. The idea is that you start with the pale blue one which is the largest and lightest and as you exercise every day you build up enough strength to use the second cone which is smaller and heavier. Eventually you will be strong enough to use the smallest dark blue cone, which really works your muscles. Having three different cones means you can gradually work your way to stronger muscles, and easily switch between them if you need to during one exercise session.
There are two cones in the Aquaflex kit, one large and one small, which unscrew to allow you to put in weights. There are four weights: 1 x 5g, 1 x 10g and 2 x 20g. This means you can test your strength to begin with by wearing the largest cone without any weights, and gradually build up resistance by adding weights. The downside is that it can be a bit fiddly, especially to begin with when you must test your strength to see what size and weight your pelvic floor can handle, and it makes changing between different weights within one exercise session a little difficult. Since there are more individual parts you have to be quite thorough when cleaning the cones too which isn't the end of the world but certainly makes exercising more of a chore.
Another great feature with the Kegel8 cones is the clever indicator stem which moves down to tell you that you're squeezing correctly. If you don't exercise properly you can do your pelvic floor more harm than good, so a visual indicator is so helpful because it means you can tell with every single squeeze whether you are using the right muscles.
The only way to tell if you are using the Aquaflex cones correctly is to place your finger on the base of the cone when it is inserted, and feel whether the cone moves upwards or downwards. If it moves down you are contracting the wrong muscles. After a while you will begin to get used to the sensation of correct contractions, but if you're new to pelvic floor exercising you may find it difficult to 'find' the right muscles to begin with, and without a visual indicator it can be even harder.
A major thing that women worry about when using pelvic floor exercisers is how easy they are to remove, as there is nothing worse than the thought of getting something 'stuck'. The thin cord attached to the base of Aquaflex cones is very flimsy and doesn't fill us with confidence. There is a risk that such a fine string could snap when trying to remove the cone, leaving it stuck firmly inside the vagina.
To prevent this, Kegel 8 cones don't have the traditional cord, but instead a long stem which makes removal far easier. Just looking at the length and shape of this stem makes it clear that there is no chance of losing the cone, which immediately gives the user confidence that the exerciser they are using is perfectly safe.
Kegel8 or Aquaflex? The Verdict
So which is best? Online reviews suggest that both Aquaflex and Kegel8 cones can give great results. But we think that Kegel 8 cones are our winners. The overall look and feel of the Kegel8 cones is more feminine and appealing, and the in-depth exercise guide provides invaluable advice and reassurance.