For those of you already familiar with the elusive “kegel”, you may be asking yourself why there’s such a thing as kegel exercises for men. After all, aren’t they the same ones women do to strengthen their pelvic floor for better sex, or even bladder control?
And you’d be right, too: the benefits of kegel exercises in women have long been known. US-based gynecologist Arnold Kegel first published these exercises in 1948, after all. But kegels aren’t just for women – there are indeed benefits to be had by men who also wish to partake in the humble kegel exercise, some of which are different to the reward reaped by women who swear by them.
Kegel exercises aim to work the muscles of the pelvic floor. In women, this is extremely beneficial during pregnancy, helping to support the bladder and uterus, both of which are put under considerable stress while bearing a child and during childbirth.
The pelvic floor also controls continence in both men and women, but in men, it also controls ejaculation.
Enter stage right: the kegel exercise for men.
What is a kegel?
In short, it’s an exercise which uses repeated contraction and relaxation of the pelvic floor. This hammock-shaped muscle is known as the “pubococcygeus” in both men and women, and stretches from the pubic bone (the hard bit above your dick) to the coccyx (the hard bit above your arse).
While a kegel exercise does work other muscles in the region, (namely the “ischiocavernosus”, “bulbospongiosus”, and, for men, the “cremaster muscle” which covers the testis), the main benefits of a kegel exercise are a stronger pelvic floor.
The exercise itself doesn’t require any special equipment and can be done pretty much anywhere, at any time of day, making it one of the most versatile exercises one can perform.
Should men do kegel exercises?
We’re not here to hold your hand, but if you suffer from a weak bladder, premature ejaculation, or erectile dysfunction, then it surely can’t hurt to try.
And while a weak bladder might get filed in the “tomorrow’s problem” basket (for about four decades), premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction are hugely common conditions amongst younger men.
And though there are successful medications that can be prescribed for both of those conditions, there’s nothing wrong with having a little physical intervention on your side to assist with your sexual health.
When you consider how bloody easy it actually is to “do a kegel”, there isn’t much excuse not to.
How does one “do” a “kegel”?
The only requirement for performing a successful kegel exercise is to identify your pelvic floor muscles. If you’re not sure, this is easiest to do when you’re peeing: if you can stop your stream mid-pee (without using your hands), then you can do a kegel.
You’ve probably done hundreds of kegels in your life already, too: it’s essentially the same as holding in a fart.
To perform kegel exercises for the purposes of building strength down below (and not evacuating a meeting room), however, requires a little focus.
Once you’ve found your pelvic floor, contract and hold for three seconds.
Then relax for three seconds.
Now do that all again for a total of ten repetitions.
That’s literally it. Congratulations, you’re now a pro Kegeler. For best results, repeat this three times a day.
It may sound ridiculously simple, mostly because it is, but therein lies the beauty of the humble kegel. Seriously, name another exercise that can be done anywhere—in the bath, at your desk, in church— and that has as many benefits as the kegel, and for only 21 minutes of commitment a week.
So, that’s it?
Not quite. One thing that should be noted about kegel exercises is that they take time.
While a brutal series of gym sessions will start to deliver noticable results in a couple of weeks, kegels take about one to three months before the benefits are evident. And because you can’t see the results, it can be very easy to become complacent and forget about maintaining a routine.
One of the great motivators to get you in the gym each day is obviously the fact that your guns get bigger. Getting used to an exercise that’ll never have visible results can take some getting used to.
But if you’ve ever had any issues with your sexual performance, whether it's not being able to stay hard all the way to the finish line, or the finish line being way sooner than you (or your partner had hoped), it might be worth giving the trusty kegel a chance.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Amelia Hanigan