In 30 seconds…
Kegel exercises work the muscles in your pelvic floor. You may have heard of them for women, but they’re very useful for men, too.
Pelvic Floor Exercises have proven benefits for treating erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and incontinence.
Don’t be fooled into thinking these are ‘penis exercises’: it’s a different muscle, but strengthening it can definitely help your sex life — and more.
Don’t wait until there’s a problem before you start training your pelvic floor. Strengthening it now can help you avoid problems later on.
You’re probably more likely to associate Kegels, or pelvic floor exercises, with women’s health. However, Kegel exercises for men are also a very good idea.
Kegel exercises are thought to be useful in combating erectile dysfunction (ED), incontinence and premature ejaculation, and some even claim they improve the strength of your orgasms. Not a bad haul for an exercise that no one can see you doing.
But what actually are kegel exercises for men? Do they work? How do you do them right, and will they help you? We’ll answer all of those questions, and more, below so you’re armed with the facts.
What Are Kegels?
Kegels are the familiar name for pelvic floor muscle training exercises. These are exercises that work the pubococcygeal muscles, which are a group of muscles layered in the floor of your pelvis (i.e. the base of your torso) going from your pubic bone at the front to the bottom of your backbone. Both men and women have these muscles. In men, they have two openings – to your anus and urethra.
Pubococcygeal muscles support the organs in your pelvis – your bladder, bowel, penis and rectum. However, like any muscles, the pelvic floor can get weak without training; over time, the muscles can get out of shape, which can lead to problems. Additionally, factors such as surgery to remove the prostate after prostate cancer or a long history of constipation, and conditions like diabetes or overactive bladder can weaken your pelvic floor.
Problems caused by weak pelvic floor muscles – or pelvic floor dysfunction – in men include difficulty getting or keeping an erection, premature ejaculation, or not being able to effectively coordinate the muscles you need to urinate or have a bowel movement.
This is where Kegels come in. Kegel exercises for men strengthen these muscles, so you can get them back in shape and regain your pelvic function.
What Are the Benefits of Kegel Exercises?
We mentioned above that the benefits of Kegel exercises for men can help you regain strength and improve your erections, urination and bowel movements — but don’t just take it from us.
There is plenty of scientific support for a number of benefits of Kegel exercises for men.
Here are just a few examples:
- Kegels help to combat Erectile Dysfunction. One study found that after six months, Kegels improve erectile function in over 70% of men. If you’d like to be a bit more upright down there, these muscle exercises could help.
- Kegels help to prevent premature ejaculation. Another study found that after twelve weeks of Kegel exercises, over 80% of men with severe premature ejaculation significantly improved their performance. Great news for if you’d like to last longer.
- Kegels help to tackle urinary incontinence. Various studies have shown that Kegels help you keep more in control of your bladder – particularly in men who have undergone prostate surgery. If you’ve experienced dribbling after urination or a violent sneeze, it might be worth giving it a go.
- Pelvic Floor Exercises help bowel control. While purists will argue Kegel exercises refer specifically to the front of your pelvic floor, practising sphincter exercises has been shown as an effective method to restore faecal continence — i.e. regain control of your bowel movements. If that’s you, read on.
Unfortunately, the claim that Kegels can improve male orgasms finds itself on somewhat shakier ground.
Studies have only found “weak evidence” that orgasmic function improves after Kegel exercises in men — though no one has disproved it!
How Do You Perform Kegels? Strengthening the Male Pelvic Floor
Performing pelvic floor exercises is straightforward once you know what you’re doing. You can’t see the pelvic floor muscles flexing, so you’ll have to go by feel, but this also means that once you’ve nailed the technique, you can do them at any time and at any place, and no-one will notice.
There are three steps to mastering Kegels:
- First, find the right muscles. To do this, imagine you’re stopping urination midstream, or try holding in the muscles that prevent you from passing gas.
- Once you’ve identified the feeling of your pelvic floor muscles, it’s time to perfect the technique. Tighten them (i.e. the ‘holding in’ feeling) for three seconds, then relax for three seconds. Try it a few times in a row. It’s easiest to do this lying down first, but once you’re stronger you can try them while sitting, standing or walking.
- Refine and Repeat. For the best results, try to tighten only your pelvic floor – you shouldn’t have any movement in your thighs or abdomen, and avoid holding your breath. Make it part of your routine, aiming for three sets of 10 reps per day.
And that’s it.
As you get more comfortable with them, Kegels become an easy exercise to incorporate into your daily routine: while you’re brushing your teeth, making a cup of tea, trying not to fall asleep in a meeting… you get the picture. You may also find it helpful to do a set after you urinate to get rid of those last few drops, or before doing exercise that’ll put a strain on your abdomen, such as heavy lifting in the gym.
What If I’m Having Trouble?
If you’re experiencing any difficulty performing pelvic floor exercises or Kegels, it’s important to never be embarrassed about asking for help. Talking to your doctor or a healthcare provider can certainly help you identify and isolate your pelvic floor muscles so you can start training them. Additionally, if you’re in any pain you should seek medical advice.
In rare cases, your doctor could help you with biofeedback training. This is when the doctor or healthcare provider inserts a small probe into your rectum. You’ll start doing Kegels, and the activity will show on a monitor in order to identify what’s going on.
Kegel exercises for men are proven to work. If you’re experiencing ED, premature ejaculation, lost bowel control or wee when you laugh, Kegels are an easy exercise to try with scientific backing. As for other guys, there’s the alluring claim that it’ll improve your orgasms (it could certainly improve your erectile function!) but it’s also a good idea to get ahead with Kegels to prevent yourself from experiencing a weak pelvic floor – and all that comes with it – as you age.
Practising Kegels is quick, easy, discreet, and comes with benefits and no risk. They’re definitely worth adding to your exercise routine.
While we’ve ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, the information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.