Kegel exercises for men
Kegel exercise isn’t just for women. Pelvic floor exercise for men, also known as kegel exercise, can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which affect sexual function. Regular kegel exercise for men can help prevent or improve erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, as well as help other symptoms like leaking and needing to go to the toilet a lot.
In this article we’re going to help you find your pelvic floor, learn about the specific kegel exercises you can and the benefits of doing regular pelvic floor exercise.
Where are your pelvic floor muscles?
Before you can exercise your pelvic floor muscles, need to know where they are! The pelvic floor muscles provide internal support for your bladder and rectum stopping any leakages. That's why kegel exercises can help men who are troubled by urinary or fecal incontinence. An added benefit is that strengthening your pelvic floor can also help improve sexual function.
How to locate your pelvic floor muscles:
Imagine you needed to stop yourself from breaking wind or having diarrhoea
Try to stop urination whilst you are in mid-flow
Try to pull your penis inside your stomach (making it shorter)
Those are the muscles groups you will need to strengthen. Initially it's easiest to do this whilst lying down, but you should be able to do the exercises pretty soon anytime, anywhere. And that's the beauty of it: you can exercise whilst waiting for a bus, sitting on the tube or making a phone call.
How to improve pelvic floor muscles
Now you have located your pelvic floor muscles, and practised the technique, you are ready to exercise. Pelvic floor exercise is commonly known as ‘kegel exercise.’ You should try slow kegels and fast kegels.
As with all exercises it's best to vary them a bit, you should do both 'slow' kegels and 'fast' kegels - sometimes known as 'quick twitch'. The different speeds train different muscle fibres. It's important to make sure you have isolated the correct muscle groups: if you are contracting your stomach muscles or you are clenching your buttocks, you haven't quite found the right muscles yet.
- Contract your pelvic floor muscles, hold for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds. Breathe normally while you do this.
- Repeat the contraction, then relax for another five seconds. Try and make each contraction slow and controlled.
- Do this exercise up to 10 times. Stop and rest if it feels uncomfortable.
- Gradually, try and hold the contraction for longer. So eight seconds, then 10 seconds. Always relax for the same amount of time as you contract.
- Exactly the same technique as slow kegels: contract, hold, relax.
- However the contractions are short and rapid. Hold the contraction for a second, then relax, then contract again straight away.
- Try and do ten fast kegels after a set of ten slow kegels.
- Over time, try and increase this number. So 15 fast kegels, 20 fast kegels and so on.
How often should I practice kegel exercise?
The short answer is: as often as you possibly can! The more often you do them the stronger those muscles get. Doing them 20 or even 50 times a day won't do you any harm.
But ideally you should practice your kegel exercises 3-5 times a day – however this is a minimum. If you wish to practice more then feel free. Aim for three sets of both slow and fast kegels. Sounds a lot but shouldn’t take more than five minutes, and even less when you’re starting out. Three sets of 10 fast kegels should barely take ten seconds each. Doing five 10-second kegels should take under two minutes.
Remembering to kegel exercise
Ideally find regular times to practice your kegel exercises so you don’t forget and fall into a routine. Good times to practice include:
- When you wake up in the morning
- After you go to the toilet
- Before you go to bed
You can even practice kegel exercises sitting at your desk at work. Perhaps when you arrive, before lunch, after lunch, and before you leave. Or, if you want to stretch yourself, practice them on the hour. Just make sure you have a fixed time so you don’t forget.
In addition to those regular times you can do them during your daily commute, whilst brushing your teeth or even during a meeting...
Benefits of kegel exercises for men
Quite a few men experience problems associated with a weak pelvic floor. Some of the causes of a week pelvic floor are: prostate or pelvic surgery, straining with constipation, being overweight or having a chronic cough.
So practicing kegels can help you reduce the symptoms linked to a weak pelvic floor. Benefits can include:
- Reducing leaking urine when you sneeze, cough or laugh
- Reducing need to go to the toilet all the time
- Reducing the need to urgently going to the toilet and leaking before you get there
- Reducing dribble after going for a pee
- Improving your ability to control wind
Sexual benefits of kegel exercise
As discussed above, there are lots of benefits of doing kegel exercises, and there are some sexual benefits too. There’s some evidence to suggest that working on your pelvic floor can help with erectile dysfunction (ED) and premature ejaculation (PE).
If you experience ED or PE then kegels can be used in combination with medical treatments such as Viagra. It should be noted that positive effects from kegel exercise won’t happen immediately, and for severe cases of ED or PE, you should certainly consider medication as well.
Kegel exercise for men and erectile dysfunction
Pelvic floor exercise can be an effective treatment for ED. Regular kegels help to strengthen the bulbocavernosus muscle. The bulbocavernosus muscle (sometimes referred to as BC) surrounds the urethra (urine pipe) at the base of the penis. When it contracts during an erection, it stops the blood from draining back out; keeping the erection firm. It also helps to 'pump put' the semen during ejaculation.
Kegel exercise for men and premature ejaculation
Pelvic floor exercise can also help treat premature ejaculation. Strong pelvic floor muscles can help you delay ejaculation; one study has shown that it can more than double your time to ejaculation. The muscles you need to learn to activate are the same ones that you use to stop your urine midflow.