It is so funny that most women think that Kegel exercises are only for men while men think it is for women. Let me begin with the fact that Kegel exercises are beneficial for both men and women!
But, how are Kegel exercises different from other exercises we normally perform like walking, lifting weights, swimming, and so on?
The difference may not be much because, just like any other exercise, Kegel exercises are also meant to work out the muscles in your body to make them stronger. But, what sets it apart is Kegel exercises work out a specific group of muscles that are linked to your urinary and sexual functions.
Let us have a look at why men should perform Kegel exercise regularly and how it would help them have better control over their urinary and sexual functions. We will also discuss the right way to perform Kegel exercises so that you can gain optimum benefits.
Shall we begin?
What Are Kegel Exercises?
Kegel exercises are a form a workout designed to strengthen the muscles in your pelvic floor, particularly the Pubococcygeus and Levator Ani muscles.
What makes Kegel exercises special is they can be performed at any time and at any place. It does not require any equipment, forget even a membership to any gym.
Yet, it offers several unique benefits by specifically working out the muscles in your pelvic region. Also, you need to spend just a few minutes, maybe 5 to 10 minutes a day, to perform these exercises.
These muscles support the bowel and bladder contractions and also play a role in sexual functions. This means, with one simple exercise, you can achieve three goals!
If this information has already got you excited, let us move further to learn how Kegel exercises work and how to perform them the right way.
Why Should Men Perform Kegel Exercises?
Several factors can weaken the muscles in your pelvic floor, including diabetes, general weakness, surgical removal of the prostate, and an overactive bladder.
Research studies have suggested that Kegel exercises can strengthen these muscles and thus, provide relief from the symptoms such as:
- Involuntary passage of urine
- Fecal incontinence
- Dribbling after urination
- Sexual dysfunctions such as erectile difficulties and premature ejaculation
If you have realized why you need to perform Kegel exercises, let’s not waste any more time and learn how to perform it the right way.
What Is The Best Way To Perform Kegel Exercises?
Step 1: Identify Pelvic Floor Muscles
The pelvic floor muscles help to control the flow of urine. Hence, the best way to locate them is to hold the urine flow.
And you can do so by stopping the flow of urine while urinating. You need to attempt to stop and restart the urine stream at least 3 to 4 times during urination. The muscles you would use or contract while doing so are your pelvic floor muscles.
It is these muscles you will have to target during Kegel exercises!
Alternatively, you can squeeze your anal muscles the way you normally do to avoid passing gas or hold the bowel movements. Contract and release these muscles alternatively. You know you are contracting the pelvic floor muscles correctly when you experience a pulling or lifting sensation at the anus. These are the same muscles that contract when you try to stop the urine flow.
But this is not exactly your Kegel exercise. It is only the first step you will need to follow to identify the pelvic floor muscles. It is definitely not advisable to stop and start the urine flow as a regular practice as it may increase the risk of urinary tract infections.
Once you have located the pelvic floor muscles, you can move to the next step of actually performing the Kegel exercises.
Step 2: Work Out Pelvic Floor Muscles
Now, you already know, which muscles you need to contract to perform Kegel exercises. To perform the exercise correctly, you have to contract these muscles or tighten them and hold the contraction for about 5 seconds.
Then, release the contraction and relax for about three seconds. Repeat the cycle 5 times by contracting and releasing the muscles alternatively. Repeat the set 2 times a day.
Initially, you may find it easier to perform Kegel exercises in a lying down position.
Once you master the technique and as your muscles get stronger with regular practice, you can perform them while sitting, standing, or even walking.
While tightening the muscles, focus on contracting your pelvic floor muscles only. Make sure you do not contract the muscles in your thighs, abdomen, or buttocks.
Also, avoid holding your breath during the phase of contraction. Instead, try to breathe normally.
Step 3: Confirm One More Time
The third step is as important as the first two steps of Kegel exercises as it would ensure you are indeed focusing on the pelvic floor muscles.
Sometimes, men are not able to identify and hold the right muscles. They end up exercising the wrong group of muscles due to which the results evade them.
A simple mirror is what you will need at this step.
Stand in front of a mirror and lift your penis up while keeping your abdominal, thigh, and buttock muscles still. Now contract the muscles that you have identified as pelvic floor muscles.
Look into the mirror to detect the contractions of any muscles. If you notice tightening of the thigh or abdominal muscles or your buttocks, then, you are working out the wrong muscles!
Because the contractions of pelvic floor muscles are generally not visible externally.
You need to now begin from step one to again try to identify the correct group of muscles you need to exercise.
It may need a bit of practice and some trial and error from your side to identify the pelvic muscles correctly. Once you are able to do it the right way, you can try variations of the same in different positions as explained beneath:
How To Perform Kegel Exercises In Different Positions?
Kegel exercises while lying down
This is the best position for performing Kegel exercises for beginners.
- Begin with lying down on your bed or a mat.
- Lift yourself up from the buttocks while keeping the hands touching the floor to contract the muscles. Hold the contraction for 5 seconds without contracting your abdomen, buttocks, or thigh muscles.
- Next, relax the muscles for 3 seconds and repeat the same 5 times.
Kegel exercises while sitting or standing
- Stand in front of a mirror or sit on a chair.
- Contract and hold the pelvic floor muscles for 5 seconds as you always do during Kegel exercises.
- Then, relax the muscles for 3 seconds. Repeat the cycle 5 times.
Kegel exercises during routine tasks
The beauty of Kegel exercise is you can perform it at any time even while working in the office, walking, watching TV, shaving, or brushing your teeth. The steps would be the same as you do it while sitting or lying down.
I am sure you must be having a few quarries and concerns regarding Kegel exercises. Let us move ahead to find answers to common questions.
How can I improve the results with Kegel exercises?
It is simple. Just like other exercises such as jogging, Pilates or push-ups, you can increase the duration and difficulty level of Kegel exercises to improve the results.
You can start with 5 reps when you are a beginner. Repeat the sets two times a day. Once you are confident you are doing it the correct way, increase the number of repetitions to 7 and 10 gradually.
Increase the number of sets to 3 per day.
Your end goal should be 20 reps per set, four sets a day. Most men are able to achieve this target within just a month.
You can perform each set in a different position like one while lying down, one while sitting, one while standing, and so on.
How long does it take for the results to be noticeable?
Usually, men who perform Kegel exercises regularly are able to have better control over their urinary and sexual functions within a few weeks.
Some men take a longer time to notice the improvement in these functions. The key to deriving faster and better results is to perform Kegel exercises regularly and increase the reps and sets gradually.
What are the benefits I would be able to achieve?
- Kegel exercise can strengthen and build the urinary bladder sphincter thereby inhibiting involuntary urine leakage.
- Clinical research has revealed that Kegel exercises can make the pelvic muscle stronger and well-toned thus allowing you to retain your sexual functions.
- Prevents anal incontinence by strengthening the tone of the anal sphincters and surrounding muscles.
- Research studies have shown that Kegel exercises are beneficial for men who have undergone prostate surgery or are suffering from postvoid dribbling, overactive bladder, and pelvic pain due to the spasms of the Levator muscle.
Kegel exercises offer a safe and effective way to avoid symptoms caused due to the weakness of the pelvic floor muscles. You can practice it regularly to avoid urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence as well as erectile difficulties and premature ejaculation.
It just needs you to spend a few minutes every day without actually setting aside your important work. Isn’t that amazing?