Want to give your sex life an added boost? It's as simple as hitting the gym. Exercise increases energy, tones your muscles, burns fat and improves your mood and self-image. But for more reasons than you may know, exercise can also improve your sex life.
Want to give your sex life a boost? Hit the gym! Exercise increases energy, tones your muscles, burns fat and improves your mood and self-image. And what's more, 2004 research from the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality says that if you burn as little as 200 additional calories a day, you can lower your risk of erectile dysfunction.
In addition to cardio (for endurance) and strength training (for those on-top positions), stretching is also important to loosen you up, enabling you to experiment with different positions. So even if you already have a pretty great sex life, try incorporating these 13 best exercises for sex into your workout routine.
Kegels are hands down one of the best exercises for sex. They improve endurance and control by toning and strengthening the PC and perineal muscles (the muscles that support erectile rigidity and provide the power behind ejaculation), which can help with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, says Andrew L. Siegel, M.D., co-creator of the Private Gym pelvic floor muscle-training program for men.
HOW TO DO IT: Start by interrupting the flow of urine when going to the bathroom to get familiar with the PC muscles. Once you're familiar with them, your goal will be to progressively increase the squeeze duration, intensity and number of reps until you tire. But when you do them, don't hold your breath, push down or tighten your stomach, buttocks or thigh muscles. Work up to five-second squeezes, relaxing in between each contraction, for 10 to 20 reps.
2. Interval Training
Doing interval training will increase your stamina and endurance, making it a perfect exercise for sex. And you can do intervals just about anywhere — outside on a track, at the park or on a bike, elliptical, stair climber or treadmill.
HOW TO DO IT: After your warm-up for three to five minutes, start your intervals at full speed, going as hard and fast as you can. Push yourself for at least 30 seconds, and then back off for a minute or two. Repeat this several times. Add these to your workout a couple of times a week and soon you'll be ready to go longer or be ready whenever your partner wants to go again.
Read more: The 'Choose Your Own Adventure' HIIT Workout
3. Reclined Butterfly Pose
This stretch loosens up your inner thighs and your hips, the muscles that are constantly stretched and challenged in a variety of sexual positions. By adding the butterfly stretch to your workout, you'll be strong, loosened up and ready for action!
HOW TO DO IT: Lie down on your back and bend your legs in toward your chest, soles of the feet together and your tailbone down. Grab your feet and pull them in toward your chest as you use your elbows to press the knees out. Be careful not to let your head arch too far back. Keep your neck and spine relaxed. Hold this posture as you continue to press the knees outward for 15 to 30 seconds.
4. Lying Leg Raise
Lying leg raises are another great exercise for better sex, providing an intense core workout, which helps improve thrust, and initiating engagement in the quads and glutes, helping you last longer in upright positions.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you. Raise your straight legs up toward the ceiling and stop when your legs are perpendicular to your body. Then, slowly lower your legs back down until they are about an inch off the floor. Repeat 10 times then rest for 30 seconds. Modify by bending your legs at the knees and straightening at the top of the move.
Holding a plank is one most effective ways to increase your endurance and stamina at the gym and in the bedroom. Planks give your arms staying power for missionary or other on-top positions. They also strengthen your core, which helps to improve thrust and supports your back to prevent injury.
HOW TO DO IT: Start at the top of a push-up with your hands shoulder-width apart and hips level. Engage your abs, squeeze the inner thighs and glutes, tighten the quads and press the heels back so the feet are flexed. Hold for at least 20 seconds and work up to two minutes at a time. Modify by dropping to your knees. For an added challenge, place one foot heel to toe on top of the other and hold for 10 seconds, and then switch legs.
Read more: The Best Sex Positions for Any Kind of Lover
6. Stability-Ball Crunch
This crunch variation requires a lot more balance, stability and core strength than the standard version. And a stronger core means a stronger back, which can often be injured during sex, the ability to balance in a variety of sex positions and improved thrusting ability.
HOW TO DO IT: Place your middle to lower back on a large stability ball, with your feet about hip-distance apart, planted firmly on the floor. Place your fingertips behind the nape of your neck, roll the shoulders back and slowly, while lifting through the chest, raise your upper body until your abdominal muscles tighten. Take it as high as you can manage without compromising form. Slowly return to your starting position and repeat.
Push-ups strengthen your upper body and core, providing increased all-around endurance and enabling you to rock those on-top positions during sex. If you commit to doing them regularly, you'll notice a difference in your staying power, your ability to maintain a strong thrust and your overall core and upper-body strength during sex.
HOW TO DO IT: Begin in a plank position, hands directly under the shoulders and feet hip-distance apart. Do not allow your pelvis to sag too low or lift too high. Lower your chest to the floor and slowly press back up. To modify, take your feet slightly wider apart or drop to your knees. For added intensity, bring your feet together and your hands in slightly.
8. Stability-Ball Bench Press
The bench press strengthens the pecs, deltoids, forearms, biceps, triceps, lats and abdominals. And being on the stability ball will provide the added core and balance workout — also great for enhancing your bedroom performance! That increased muscle mass and decrease in fat (though regular exercise and a healthy diet) not only makes you look and feel better, it'll also prepare your body for whatever you and your partner choose to do between the sheets.
HOW TO DO IT: Place your middle to lower back on a large stability ball with your feet planted firmly on the floor about hip- or shoulder-distance apart. From a goal-post position (as pictured above), push a pair of dumbbells straight up, directly over the chest.
While any type of strength exercise can increase testosterone levels, squats can also increase blood flow to the pelvic region, making orgasms more intense. They'll also strengthen your lower body for a more powerful thrust both while you're on top and while your partner is on top.
HOW TO DO IT: With a dumbbell in each hand held straight down at your sides, bend at the hips and knees to squat as low as you can while keeping your back straight. As you lower, slowly raise your arms straight out in front of you to shoulder height. Drive through the heels and you will naturally lean forward a bit in the upper body for balance. Slowly rise to standing as you lower your arms back down to your sides to complete one rep.
Read more: 12 Essential Squat Variations to Try
10. Stationary Lunge
In general, lunges are great for building strength, endurance, mobility, balance and core strength. But they also increase blood flow to your pelvic region, enhancing your action in the bedroom. They'll help out when you could use an extra dose of balance and hip flexor mobility or when you'd like to go a little longer.
HOW TO DO IT: Stand up straight and tall — holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides — then step one foot forward a few feet. Bend both knees to 90 degrees, stopping when your back knee is about an inch from the ground. Be sure to keep your front knee doesn't pass over your front toes. Drive through the front heel to stand back up. Do the same number of reps on each leg.
11. Upward-Facing Dog
Upward-facing dog is a yoga pose that stretches the core, psoas and hip flexors, increasing energy and blood flow to the pelvic area. This stretch also protects your lower back for any heavy lifting you do at the gym or bedroom.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your stomach with your legs extended out behind your. Bring your hands to the sides of your chest and lift your torso by pressing through your hands. Lifting all the way up, roll your shoulders back and down, lengthening through the crown of your head so you don't hunch the shoulders into the neck. Breathe regularly for 15 seconds or longer. If you are advanced, your thighs will lift off the ground.
12. Seated Straddle Stretch
If you sit at a desk or work at a computer for hours a day, it can constrict and stagnate the muscles below the waist. Doing a straddle stretch will loosen things up, bringing blood flow back to the pelvic and groin region. Increased blood flow means increased sensation, which means better orgasms. It's also an excellent inner-thigh stretch, which will enable you to introduce some adventurous positions in the sack.
HOW TO DO IT: Sit on the floor with your legs wide apart. Lengthen through the crown of the head and slowly lean as far forward as you can comfortably go while keeping your back straight. Reach for your calves, ankles or toes and breathe deeply. With each exhale, take your stretch a little deeper without curving or hunching your back. Hold the position for five to 10 long breaths.
13. Twisting Forward Bend
By now, you've likely realized that yoga and stretching have a ton of benefits for your sex life, and this stretch is no different. The twisting motion stretches and strengthens your core, and the reaching motion limbers up your hamstrings.
HOW TO DO IT: Sit on the floor, extend your left leg out straight and tuck the bottom of the right foot flat against the left inner thigh (right thigh flat on the floor). Twist your torso toward your right knee and wrap your right arm around your back, reaching your thigh if you can. Take your left hand and reach for your calf, ankle or toes. Breathe and hold for about 30 seconds. Modify by reaching both hands toward the outstretched leg.