Nothing ruins an evening quite like a lackluster bedroom experience. Maybe it didn’t last long enough, or maybe you had to take a breather after your arms almost gave out. Unfortunately, these are just a few of the many ways your performance can quickly go downhill. For starters, there’s the undeniable relationship between alcohol and sex. A few drinks might put you in the mood, but those same beverages could also make it nearly impossible to get busy. Studies, such as this 2008 one from the University of Washington, have shown alcohol consumption can make it significantly more difficult for men to achieve an erection. Even guys who manage to make it that far could still be in for a struggle. A 2004 study from The University of Missouri-St. Louis revealed 11% of folks who drank alcohol had difficulty reaching orgasm, including men.
Aside from alcohol, consider the way it challenges your strength. Most of the positions you’re assuming in the bedroom are completely different from the ones you use in your everyday life, so you’re forced to stress muscles that might not otherwise get much work. While cutting back on drinks might seem like a tough sell, this is one problem that’s pretty easy to solve. All you have to do is start working those body parts you’re neglecting. These five exercise moves will help give you the strength you need to take your sex life from good to great.
Sex is a lot more fun than hitting the gym, but it’s also a pretty good way to work up a sweat. For overall strength and stamina, focusing on your core is critical. One glance at this move shows exactly why. It forces you to support yourself with your arms while keeping your body aligned, similar to many positions where you’re on top. According to Livestrong, building strength in your midsection will also boost your ability to thrust and reduces the risk of throwing out your back.
To perform this move, get yourself into a push-up position on the floor. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle and position your shoulders directly above your elbows, resting your weight on your forearms. Keeping your core tight and your body in a straight line, hold the position for as long as possible. Men’s Fitness recommends a few variations to try once you’re able to hold the plank for more than two minutes.
2. Leg swings
It’s easy to get bored between the sheets if you’re always relying on the same two positions. Even if you have grand plans for creative ways to move, tight hips will keep you from exploring anything new. Sadly, everyone who works a desk job is basically guaranteed to have limited flexibility here. Men’s Health explains sitting in this position for extended periods of time prevents your hip flexors from enjoying a full range of motion and can actually shorten them.
The good news is you can undo that tightness with a simple move that doesn’t require any special equipment. There are two types of leg swings, but the motion is basically the same for both. To perform forward leg swings, use your right arm to help you balance against a wall or a chair. Slightly bend your right knee to raise your right leg off the ground. Swing your right leg forward as far as possible, then swiftly backwards as far as possible. New York Road Runners demonstrates the proper technique. After you finish the move with your right leg, switch to your left.
For side swings, you’ll position yourself to face the wall. This time, swing your leg in the same fluid motion out to the side, then in front of your body and out to the other side. You want to swing as far as possible, but don’t strain yourself. You may find it takes a few repetitions to reach your full range of motion, so be patient.
3. Bowing push-ups
No matter how daring you intend to be, it’s pretty likely you spend a fair amount of time in missionary position. Even if your partner likes the feel of having your weight on top, nobody wants to get completely squished. B.J. Gaddour, fitness advisor for Men’s Health, tells the publication, “You need strong arms and shoulders to hold yourself up the entire time.” One of the best ways to target both of these areas is a move Gaddour calls the bowing push-up.
To perform this move, get yourself into a push-up position. Keeping your elbows close to your body, lower yourself until your chest is just a few inches above the floor. In one motion, drop your hips toward the floor as your squeeze your glutes, and push your arms straight, lifting your head towards the ceiling. Sound vaguely familiar? It’s really just a variation of a standard yoga sequence.
You’ve probably heard of kegels, and you probably think they’re a women’s exercise. Surprisingly, this move is just as effective for men as it is for the ladies. Named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, this exercise is a great way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Why is that important for sexual performance? Everyday Health explains tightening these muscles prior to orgasm can help you last longer.
The easiest way to introduce yourself to kegels is actually in the restroom. The next time you go to the bathroom, try to stop and start the flow of urination a few times to become familiar with the muscles. Once you get the hang of it, you can perform this exercise anytime, anywhere. Lifehack suggests performing a few sets of 10 to 15 repetitions where you hold the contraction for five seconds.
5. Hip lifts
No matter what position you prefer, you need strong glutes and hamstrings to adequately lift and thrust. Even if you’re on the bottom, your partner shouldn’t have to do all the work. Make sure you’re doing your part by incorporating hip lifts into your workout. Start by lying on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold a weight securely against your lap. Keeping your core tight, push your hips up until your torso forms a straight line, then carefully lower yourself back to the starting position. AskMen recommends three sets of 15 repetitions, starting with a 10-pound weight. As you get better, you can reach for something heavier.
Men’s Health says inadequate strength in your glutes can lead to lower back problems and contribute to a posture that makes your gut appear larger, so this move is also practical. And because this muscle group is so large, strengthening it is a smart way to increase the overall number of calories you burn.