Best Exercises for Better Sex: Guidelines for Guys
You know all the basic reasons for hitting the gym, right? Regular exercise is good for your heart, it helps prevent chronic disease and, of course, it can give you the ripped body of your dreams.
But if none of those reasons is motivation enough to get you off the couch, one other reason might just do the trick: Regular exercise can enhance your sex life, too.
Of course, the key phrase here is “regular exercise.” While a one-time session at the gym might lead to some extra fun at home, the real sex-related benefits of exercise come from an ongoing workout habit. Here’s what scientific research shows works best for men:
Get your cardio with HIIT
Technically, it really doesn’t matter what type of cardiovascular exercise you prefer, as long as you’re meeting the Department of Health & Human Services’ recommendations of racking up at least 150 minutes of cardio each week. Cardio as a whole, including walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, jumping rope or boxing (to name a few), is meant to improve blood and oxygen delivery throughout your body.
This improved blood flow can pay off in the bedroom, too.
You probably know your penis becomes erect when it’s engorged with blood, and as you experience improved blood flow with a regular cardio routine, you’re more likely to be able to get and maintain an erection. In fact, more vigorous cardio was associated with higher sexual scores in a questionnaire about sexual function published in 2020 in the journal The Aging Male.
One way to start adding vigorous cardio to your workout is to implement a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routine. Simply alternate between vigorous cardio (such as running or jumping rope) and lower-intensity cardio (like walking) for at least 15 to 30 minutes. If you’re new to HIIT, try a 1:2 or 1:3 work-to-rest ratio, so that for every period of intense activity, you give yourself double or triple the time to recover. With time, you can change your interval ratio to 1:1 or even 2:1 or 3:1 to really amp up your cardiovascular (and sexual) health.
Add strength training
Lifting weights or engaging in any type of resistance training—including squats, lunges, pushups and pullups—can help you build muscle mass and get stronger. But did you know that the metabolic changes your body undergoes when building muscle include boosting hormone production?
One of the major hormones involved in muscle growth, and also in sexual performance, is testosterone. And guess what: If your body increases its testosterone production, you’re likely to see improvements in sexual function.
The increases in testosterone can be seen after a single strength session, as well as a result of an ongoing program, according to a 2007 study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology. It also appears that these increases can be seen whether you’re using light resistance or moderate resistance.
One of the best ways to benefit from strength training is to follow a program that hits all of the major muscle groups, especially the legs, the largest muscle group in the body. As your body becomes stronger from this program, try lifting heavier weights and reducing the rest time between sets. This combination of factors can help spur greater muscle growth and lead to greater increases in testosterone over time.
While you’re at it, try adding exercises that naturally transfer to the bedroom, like pushups, hip thrusts and squats. It never hurts to have extra strength in your chest, glutes and quads when you’re getting intimate.
Try your hand at Kegels
Kegels, designed to strengthen the pelvic floor, are typically thought of as women’s exercise, because they’re often prescribed to women before and after childbirth. But if you want to work on your sexual stamina and control, it’s time to start doing your Kegels.
In fact, according to a review study published in the journal Urology, “pelvic floor muscles are vital to male genitourinary health.” The sex-related benefits of training these muscles include improving erectile dysfunction and reducing premature ejaculation.
The good news is Kegel exercises are easy to perform just about anywhere. You simply need to contract all the muscles of your pelvic floor, which are the muscles that help you stop urinating midstream. Doing so should give you a feeling of “drawing them upward.” Hold the squeeze for two to three seconds, then release slowly. Two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions every day can pay off in the long run.
Exercise can be a chore for a lot of men. But a consistent routine of exercise, including cardio work, strength training and Kegels, can invigorate your sex life.