Elvie Pelvic Floor Trainer Review

from Elvie
RRP £169
Elvive trainer
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by Maria Martin |

Your midwife or health visitor will almost certainly recommend that you do pelvic floor exercises after you’ve had your baby, but it’s pretty hard to exercise muscles you can’t see.

A recent study has shown that one in three women aren’t doing their pelvic-floor exercises correctly, and that’s where the Elvie comes in.

The Elvie Trainer at a glance:

This is a pelvic floor trainer, with 3-5 minute exercises. It works alongside an app to track progress and set reminders for workouts. With an end goal of improving incontinence, the Trainer and the app help record and visualise your pelvic floor exercises in real-time, using biofeedback. This patented technology also detects incorrect contractions to help improve and guide to a better, safer technique.

It’s made with medical-grade silicone and is 100 per cent waterproof. There is an optional cover that provides a better fit and in turn better workouts. The Elvie Trainer is safe to use with an IUD or coil. It is also safe to use during pregnancy, given there aren’t any complications, so have a chat with the GP if you’re unsure.

How did this product make your life easier?

This pelvic floor trainer has a premium ‘Apple’ product-like feel about it. I felt like I was unboxing a very plush item. Set up was easy, it’s pretty much a plug-n-play job. During set up mode there are options to tell the Trainer why you’re exercising, for Strength building, for Postpartum Recovery, to Maintain Fitness, or to Challenge Yourself.

There’s also the option to customise workouts into days and times that suit your schedule. I kept these at the recommended three times a week, which was enough for me. Any more and I just wouldn’t be able to fit it in. The goals the app has preset last for five months, two months or one month. I went in-between and did two months, this gave me a realistic end date and somewhere to measure my start-to-finish strength.

The Trainer is very much like one the latest craze of smartphone games which becomes addictive over several months. There is a crystal-like ball that bounces as you squeeze. The ball will move faster or slower, a farther or shorter distance, depending on the speed and strength of your session. The aim is to squeeze your pelvic floors to prompt the unit to keep the crystal either above a certain line, to hit targets, and reach pelvic LVs.

Exercises:

There are six exercises spread into four levels across the platform. The levels are Training, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.

The exercises are:

• Strength: to enhance fitness and see how much LV you can reach.

• Pulse: to improve agility and a lot of fun pulsing to hit small circular targets.

• Lift: to develop core strength and keep the ball above a line.

• Hold: to build endurance and stay in a circle as you squeeze for eight seconds on Training and Beginner levels. Then 12 seconds in Intermediate and 15 seconds in Advanced. It is a lot harder than it looks, but highly satisfying when reached.

• Speed: to increase pace - here the aim is to hit moving circles as they spin.

• Step: to learn control and learn to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles at different levels which measure strength.

Other features which make this a more interesting app than other run of the mill pelvic floor exercising apps, is as you progress through to Intermediate the crystal goes from the reddish pink to a blue. When it changed colour I was happy to see I had made progress.

Then, when you move to the final level ‘Advanced’ the crystal turns to orange. This gave the little tick box in my head the seal of approval for progression. I felt like I had accomplished something and it was very satisfying. Seeing the graphics change as I got stronger and better at playing the game…I mean…strengthening my pelvic floor, verified I was getting there. At one point I forgot what I was doing as I lay there each day attempting to beat my average score.

As you progress through to Intermediate there are some fun graphics, which keep you excited about having progressed onto the next level. Although most of the time you’re just too focussed on squeezing to really care about graphic changes.

Where the fun really kicks in is when practising Speed and pulsing through hitting targets. I imagine if I was at the gym, the ‘above the line’ exercise would be the equivalent of doing a plank (an exercise which is endured to build strength and is not fun, although rewarding). The ‘pulse’ exercise is a bit like punching pads and hitting targets every time.

After each exercise the gives a best and average score out of 100%, depending on previous exercises. And at the end of the workout, you get a report which measures on a graph defining the workout as ‘keep trying’, ‘great progress’, and ‘perfect’.

Would you recommend this to other women?

If you’re looking for an accurate way to track your pelvic floor exercises then this is definitely an option. The Trainer sits in the vagina, with 1cm of tail inside, leaving the rest out. It fits in very easy, but make sure it’s in a good position as the Trainer simply won’t let you begin an exercise. It’s extremely intuitive and the app has always worked perfectly for me. No glitches.

Although the Trainer did feel like it was falling out a good few times when I first started using it, once I got used to what position worked, the crystal started to move in sync again. It’s a bit like using a tampon for the first time.

There is also an Optional Cover for better workouts should you need it. Elvie recommends that everyone gives this cover a go, to have a comparison and see if one fit works better than the other.

When inactive, or if you jump out of the app, it reconnects easily; after 3 seconds of squeezing it reconnects. Very simple.

I would wear baggy clothes when using the Trainer as tight jeans or leggings can help keep the Trainer high up the vagina, seemingly working, but really cheating, as the jeans are helping create a better squeeze.

One impressive element is when a caution pop-up appeared to inform me that I was pushing downwards instead of upwards. In fact, the Trainer stopped working until I started pushing correctly again.

For such an intimate workout, I like that the unit is discreet and can be stored anywhere. It also comes in an easy travel case. I found it easier to do workouts in the evenings when both my kiddies were asleep. Although I’m sure you could pop it in during the day if the kids are napping. I wouldn’t take the Elvie to work to workout on a lunch break, this intimate workout is for a home environment. It’s also more hygienic to keep it home as it needs washing before and after use.

Would you choose this product above all others on the market?

Over other apps, for precision and a real way of tracking the strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles the Elvie Trainer is an elite bit of kit. It gets the job done and after around 6/7 weeks I started to see the effects of my efforts. After a vaginal birth with my second child, I suffered with incontinence and this shot my confidence. Now I’m able to do things like run again without the feeling of gushing from my vagina.

It’s at the higher price end than some of its competitors on the market, and most of the other Kegel trainers seem to be just as sleek and fun, they’re also around £70 cheaper. Or if you’re looking for something considerably cheaper, you can just download a Kegel trainer app from the App Store or Play Store. Although bear in mind, this won’t give you as accurate a measure of strength, and speed.

What changes would you make to this product?

The unit doesn’t charge with the Optional Cover attached and therefore there’s no case to keep the Optional Cover once you discard the box. So either the function for it to charge as one unit, or a case to put the Optional Cover into.

I’m not sure how Elvie could manage this, but while it’s been fun over the past two months playing the games on my phone and building my strength, I’d like to see a bit of an app update. It would be great if it allowed me some time away from my screen - perhaps some audio prompts instead - like one of those meditation apps with the soothing voices to give the next squeezing instruction.

Product specification:

• Four training levels

• Optional Cover for additional comfort and better fit

• Elvie app to track strength (this Kegel trainer can not be used without the app)

• Made of medical-grade silicone

• 100 per cent waterproof

• Patented technology used to track contractions strength and speed

• Six exercises

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