If you think Kegel exercises are just meant to be for women? You need to push that thought away. Kegel exercises can significantly help men improve bladder control and perhaps improve sexual performance.
It's a known fact that keeping your muscles strong and fit leads to enhanced health, longevity, and body strength. While focusing on keeping the core, arms, and legs strong and fit, many men overlook the important muscles that also need strengthening: the pelvic floor.
Muscles that support the internal reproductive organs make up the pelvic floor. Kegel exercises are designed to strengthen these muscles to ward off pelvic floor disorders.
Possible reasons for pelvic floor muscle dysfunction (weakening) in men
The pelvic floor can be weakened by:
- Pressure of obesity
- Chronic constipation and pushing to poo
- Constant coughing
- Some surgery that requires cutting the muscles (including prostate cancer treatment)
Can men do kegel exercises?
Kegel is a popular prenatal exercise that helps pregnant women prepare their pelvic floor for the physiological strains of delivery. However, Kegel exercises are equally beneficial to men.
They were first designed for men who used Kegel exercises to treat urinary incontinence and postoperative incontinence.
Benefits of kegel exercises/ pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) exercises for men
The organs in your pelvic region are supported by your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles form a bow-shaped sling between your legs. Some of the functions of the pelvic floor include support for the bladder and rectum, helping you to control urine and bowel movements.
There are three muscles involved during kegel-
- Bulbocavernosus (BC)- It is used to squeeze urine and push semen out.
- Pubococcygeus (PC)- It helps you pee, poop, and experience contracts during orgasm.
- Iliococcygeus (IC)- It helps your anus come back to the original position after you poop.
Some fantastic benefits of Kegel exercises are:
- Aid in the treatment of stress incontinence in men following prostate surgery.
- Improved ejaculation control, climax experience, and sexual satisfaction.
- Improved bowel and bladder control.
- Reduced urine and stool leaks.
- Another muscle is the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle. This muscle is one that helps you pee and poop and contracts during orgasm. It supports your lower organs.
- The third muscle is the iliococcygeus muscle (IC), which supports your organs and is involved in moving your anus back into place after you poop.
Also check: Health checklist for men
How to find your pelvic floor muscles?
- Urethral – Imagine you are urinating and try pausing the flow all of a sudden. (do not do this while urinating)
- Anal – Imagine that you are trying to stop your fart and restrict the wind from passing by squeezing it tightly.
In both of the above cases, the muscles that allow you to release and restrict the flow are pelvic floor muscles.
Don't be embarrassed to ask for help if you can't locate them. It is quite possible that you have weak pelvic muscles.
Best kegel exercises for men
Here's a guide to doing Kegel exercises correctly:
Supta baddha konasna
Also known as reclining bound angle pose, this exercise will stretch your thighs, hips, and pelvic floor.
- Start by sitting calmly on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Sit on a bolster or blanket to keep your torso erect.
- Draw your heels in toward your pelvis by bending your knees. Allow your knees to open to both sides while pressing your feet' soles together.
- Place both your elbows on the ground and lean back. Then, lower your back.
- Shift your buttocks from side to side, altering your position such that your spine lengthens down the floor.
- With your hands facing up, gently draw your shoulder blades inside and relax your arms.
- Stay in the position for a few minutes.
The bridge is a great way to improve hip mobility and lower back strength. When you do a glute bridge with just your body weight, you activate and strengthen the muscles in your glutes, hips, and hamstrings.
- To perform a glute bridge, you need to lie on your back on the floor with bent knees and your feet flat on the ground.
- Keep a relaxed posture with your arms at your sides and palms resting downwards. Lift your hips off the ground to the point where your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line.
- Squeeze the glutes tight and keep your abs sucked in to avoid overextending your back.
The Garland Pose (Malasana) deeply stretches your hips and groin, hamstrings, back, and shoulders. It's a great counterpose to any poses that stretch your hamstrings.
- Get into a squat posture by bending your knees and dropping your buttocks to the floor.
- Bring your hands together in a prayer position by bringing your upper arms inside your knees and bending your elbows.
- Allow your thumbs to contact your sternum as if to help maintain the chest up in a prayer position with your hands to your heart center. Keep pressing your upper arms into your thighs and your thighs into your upper arms.
- Maintain a straight spine by pushing your buttocks toward the floor.
- Stay here for a few minutes and straighten your legs to come out of the position.
Figure 4 stretch
The figure 4 stretch improves hip, glute, and piriformis flexibility and mobility. The piriformis is a tiny muscle that may get inflamed when your hips are tight.
- Begin by lying down on your back, feet flat on the floor.
- Now, cross the right ankle over your left knee, keeping your right foot flexed.
- Raise your left knee to your sternum. With your right hand extending through your legs, merge your fingers slightly below your left knee.
- With your arms, pull your left knee toward your chest, halting once your glute and hip are stretched.
- Hold for a few minutes before releasing, and then switch sides.
How often and when should you do the Kegel exercise for visible results?
Like other exercises and habits, visible results and continued benefits result from consistent practice. Pelvic floor muscles exercises can be performed in sessions consisting of 10-15 relaxing and contracting exercises.
Variate your practice and get quicker results with quick contraction/release exercises and intense contractions held for a longer count.
Results can be expected within a few weeks to a few months.
If you have a urine leakage problem, try to do a Kegel exercise before these activities:
- When standing up
- Walking to the loo
- Sneezing or coughing
What precautions do you need to take while doing Kegel exercises?
One of the most basic things you need to keep in mind while doing a Kegel exercise is to keep the muscles in your sides, buttocks, back, and abdomen loose. Otherwise, you might end up with soreness or pain in your abdomen.
Don't Attempt Kegel Exercises If You Have Catheter
A catheter is a thin rubber tube that is placed inside the body to drain urine from the bladder through the penis. Do not do Kegel exercises if you have a catheter in your penis.
Kegel exercises are equally beneficial for men as they’re for women. So, you can perform Kegel exercises. However, make sure to always follow the steps or watch videos so as to prevent any unforeseen situation.
You may struggle at first with controlling your muscles and remembering to exercise, but you will see results if you dedicate yourself. Make your health a priority and take conscious care.