When we think about kegels –– not that we think about kegels on a regular basis, but when we do –– we tend to think of women who are looking to improve their pelvic floors. Rarely do we think of the pelvic exercises in the context of men doing them. And since we never think about it, that can only mean one thing, right? That men don’t need to do kegels? Yes?
In fact, while kegels are most commonly thought of as exclusive to women, the reality is that the pelvic-strengthening exercises can be majorly beneficial to guys, too. This is because, just like women, it’s not uncommon for men’s pelvic muscles to weaken naturally with age. And also like women, there are a number of additional factors beyond just aging that could take a toll on pelvic muscles over time. So while for women those factors may include sex-specific things like pregnancy and childbirth, men might find their muscles weakened by more general factors like surgery or injury.
The result? As the pelvic muscles weaken, men may start to find themselves dealing with such consequences as bladder or bowel incontinence (i.e. there might be a little leakage from time to time), erectile dysfunction, and pain during sex (or following ejaculation). Yikes.
The good news is that dealing with a weak pelvic floor doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s no point of return. Like any other muscle in the body, the pelvic floor muscles can be trained back into good shape over time –– and that’s where the kegels come in.
How do men perform kegel exercises?
Kegel exercises are pretty simple, and there are a few ways to go about them. But no matter how you’re working out your pelvic floor muscles, the best place to start is to think about the muscles that you use to stop the flow of urine when you’re peeing. Any kegel exercise should essentially focus on working those same muscles that you engage when you actively stop your urine flow.
With that in mind, here’s a simple kegel routine to try for yourself:
- Contract your pelvic floor muscles for a slow count of five. As you tighten and hold the muscles, you should feel a pulling sensation. Make sure not to hold your breath or engage other muscles in the process. (When you’re just starting out, it might make sense to try doing kegels while looking in the mirror. As you engage the pelvic floor muscles, you should actually see a lift in your penis or testicles as a result of the contraction.)
- Release your pelvic floor muscles for a slow count of five. Again, remain mindful of your breathing and muscles as you focus specifically on your pelvic floor muscle group.
- Complete this 10-second kegel exercise 10-20 times to finish a full routine. Aim to complete a full routine about three to four times a day to get the most out of your kegels.