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  • Writer's pictureKen Schafer

Men's Health: The Power and Potential of Kegel Exercises

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Kegels for Pelvic Floor Strength


Introduction


Kegels are exercises that help you zero in on and strengthen public floor muscles. They are named after Arnold Kegel, the doctor who first developed them. Kegels are reported to increase sexual pleasure for both men and women, improving the strength and control of orgasmic contractions. Strong pelvic floor muscles are also reported to help with getting, and maintaining an Erection.



An illustration of the male pelvic floor
The Male Pelvic Floor


To get started:


Find the right muscles: To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream or tighten the muscles that keep you from passing gas. These maneuvers use your pelvic floor muscles. Once you've identified your pelvic floor muscles, you can do the exercises in any position, although you might find it easiest to do them lying down at first.


Perfect your technique: Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for a few seconds, and then relax for a few seconds. When your muscles get stronger, try Kegel exercises from several positions like lying down, sitting, standing, and any position you might use for sexual activity.


Maintain your focus: Focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles for best results. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs, or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.


Don't make a habit of using Kegel exercises to start and stop your urine stream, but this can be a useful technique to understand where your pelvic floor muscles are and what it feels like to contract them.


It might take several weeks to a few months to see a difference. Keep doing the exercises, but see your doctor or pelvic floor therapist if you're not noticing improvement.




Kegel Routines


There are many routines for doing Kegels. Below is an example of a progressive routine to improve pelvic floor strength. If you use this routine, remember to do them from different positions, as mentioned above. Alternate positions during your routine, or do a different position each day.


Remember, it's more beneficial to do Kegels correctly rather than do a lot of them improperly. So, concentrate on form and technique rather than quantity. Also, ensure you're breathing normally throughout your exercises, and avoid tensing your abdomen, thighs, or buttocks.



Kegel positions
Some additional Kegel positions


Level 1 - Learning the Basics:


1. Contract your pelvic floor muscles for 3-5 seconds.

2. Relax for 3-5 seconds.

3. Repeat this 10 times. This makes up one set.

4. Do this set 2-3 times a day.


Level 2 - Strengthening:


Once you're comfortable with level 1, you can increase the hold and relaxation periods.


1. Contract your pelvic floor muscles for 5-10 seconds.

2. Relax for 5-10 seconds.

3. Repeat this 10 times. This makes up one set.

4. Do this set 2-3 times a day.


Level 3 - Endurance Training:


When level 2 feels easy, you can move on to this level.


1. Contract your pelvic floor muscles for 10-15 seconds.

2. Relax for 10-15 seconds.

3. Repeat this 10 times. This makes up one set.

4. Do this set 2-3 times a day.


Level 4 - Advanced Training:


This is the highest level and should only be attempted when all the previous levels are comfortable.


1. Contract your pelvic floor muscles for 15-20 seconds.

2. Relax for 15-20 seconds.

3. Repeat this 10 times. This makes up one set.

4. Do this set 2-3 times a day.


In addition to these progressive routines, you can start incorporating Kegel exercises into your daily activities, such as while sitting at your desk, during your commute, or while you're standing in line. This can help you integrate these exercises into your lifestyle.


Always remember, if you start feeling discomfort or are unsure whether you're performing Kegels correctly, consult a pelvic floor therapist or a physical therapist. They can provide guidance and ensure you're doing these exercises safely and effectively.


Variations in Kegel Technique


Kegel routines can be adjusted and varied to suit your personal goals and progress. Here are a few additional routines you can try:


Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This method involves tensing and relaxing your pelvic muscles in progression. Start by holding the contraction for a few seconds, then relax. Gradually increase the length of time you're holding the contraction as you get stronger. For example, you could start with a five-second contraction and a five-second rest, and work your way up to 10-second contractions with 10 seconds of rest.


The Elevator Exercise: Imagine your pelvic muscles are an elevator that needs to move up multiple floors. Start by tensing your muscles a little (going up to the first floor), then a bit more (second floor), and finally, as hard as you can (third floor). Then, slowly ease off in reverse order. This method can help improve your control over your pelvic muscles.


Fast Flicks: This is the practice of quickly contracting and relaxing your pelvic muscles. It's a bit more advanced, so it's something to try after you're comfortable with the basic exercise.


Combination Exercises: These involve doing a set of slow Kegels (where you hold the contraction), followed by a set of quick flicks.


Conclusion


Kegels are the best method for strengthening the pelvic floor muscle, and the pelvic floor muscles are an important part of getting and maintaining an erection. Kegels can be an essential part of a program to address erectile dysfunction. If you would like more information on Kegels, I highly recommend this YouTube video series - Kegel Exercises for Men


References


1. Pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation for patients with lifelong premature ejaculation: a novel therapeutic approach by Pastore, A. L., Palleschi, G., Fuschi, A., Maggioni, C., Rago, R., Zucchi, A., Costantini, E., & Carbone, A. (2014). This study demonstrated that a 12-week course of pelvic floor muscle exercises helped men with lifelong premature ejaculation improve their ejaculation time, sexual life quality, and lower urinary tract symptoms.


2. Efficacy of Pelvic Floor Muscle Rehabilitation in Erectile Dysfunction: A Critical Review by Filocamo, M. T., Li Marzi, V., Del Popolo, G., Cecconi, F., Marzocco, M., Tosto, A., & Nicita, G. (2014). This review concluded that pelvic floor muscle exercises could be a beneficial treatment for erectile dysfunction.


3. Pelvic floor exercises for erectile dysfunction by Dorey, G., Speakman, M., Feneley, R., Swinkels, A., Dunn, C., & Ewings, P. (2005). This trial found that a three-month program of pelvic floor exercises combined with biofeedback and advice on lifestyle changes helped men with erectile dysfunction more than lifestyle changes alone.


4. The Role of Pelvic Floor Muscles in Male Sexual Dysfunction and Pelvic Pain by Van Kampen, M., De Weerdt, W., Claes, H., Feys, H., De Maeyer, M., & Van Poppel, H. (2016). This study showed a significant increase in the quality of erections in men who performed pelvic floor muscle exercises.


5. Randomised controlled trial of pelvic floor muscle exercises and manometric biofeedback for erectile dysfunction by Dorey, G., Speakman, M. J., Feneley, R. C., Swinkels, A., & Dunn, C. D. (2004). This study found that pelvic floor muscle exercises and biofeedback were effective for men with erectile dysfunction, particularly those with venous erectile dysfunction.


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