Whether we want to admit or not, exercise and sex are inextricably linked. We exercise to look better and feel better about ourselves (among other reasons, of course) in hopes of it translating to more sex. But you can also exercise to have better sex. With that in mind, here are a few exercises that will help you get more out of your bedroom time.
Pictures: Anita Robicheau, Erin Costa
In order to determine the best exercises for sex, we contacted a handful of trusted fitness experts. These are experts that I've been following over the years, because they're evidence-based and bullshit-free. Some of these exercises will benefit certain positions more than others, or certain "roles" (like giving or receiving), but all of them should be fairly useful.
The Rocking Plank
Writer, trainer, and fitness entrepreneur John Romaniello points out that this variation on the standard plank pretty obviously carries over to romance. To quote the man himself: "Slow motion air humping or awesome core exercise? You decide."
The important thing here is the muscles involved. A rocking plank challenges your core muscles in terms of movement and stability. Stronger core muscles can lead to better control over your movements, not to mention stronger orgasms:
Something to remember is that the physiological behaviour during an orgasm involved the deeper pelvic muscles; the muscles that actually contract during orgasm. For some, stimulating these muscles independently through exercise teaches your body how to activate them more easily. Over time, this serves as "practice" and can lead to greater ease with achieving orgasm.
You'll notice that a lot of these exercises strengthen your core, and with good reason -- you use it a lot.
Submitted by Hannah Penfield, a writer at Bars and Stripes fitness, this exercise strengthens your core, your Trapezius (the muscle that connects your neck to your shoulders), and your grip.
According to Hannah's expertise:
A strong core is necessary for comfort, ease, and power in all positions. Big traps are damn sexy and give your partner something to grab. Good grip translates to finger strength (wink wink). Plus, built forearms are hot.
She primarily recommends this exercise for men, but obviously it's something anyone can do and benefit from.
Rack Pulls are great. They make you feel superhuman because you can do multiple loads (pun intended) of a regular barbell deadlift.
According to Leigh Peele, the fitness author and trainer:
A strong lower back means more stamina and less back pain in bed. Spinal motion is in full force (or should be) during sex. It's one thing if a standing doggy style is your favourite, but it's another if it's the only one you can perform without pain. Rack Pulls are a good way to start loading the bar heavy even if you're a new to lifting heavy or returning after a while off from training. If you don't have a power or squat rack there is nothing wrong with a good ole conventional deadlift.
Exercise injuries are rough. But an injury that keeps you out of the bedroom for a couple weeks? Talk about a nightmare.
According to fitness coach Jen Chipperfield, front squats improve your hip strength and flexibility, as well as your hamstring flexibility. The overall combination trains all the necessary components needed to switch sexual positions often, or hold a particularly good one for a long time. She explains:
Deep squatting (on top) requires local muscular endurance in the quads and glutes and hip mobility. Standing bent over position (from behind) etc. requires good hamstring flexibility and glute strength...you get the picture.
Again, she recommends this primarily for women, but men on the receiving end would find this useful as well -- or just men who need some extra leg strength for those standing (or more creative) positions.
Arm-Supported Reverse Crunch
Fitness sextraordinaire John Romaniello recommends the arm-supported reverse crunch for anyone in the bottom position. If you watch the video, you can kind of see why. As he puts it:
In addition to working your core -- which allows you to generate more force and perform more aggressively during sex -- the Arm-Supported Reverse Crunch can be effective in making it easier to achieve orgasms.
Deep Barbell Back Squats
I've spent a good bit of time in the fitness world. One of the first times I really understood the intersection of sex and fitness came during a seminar by prolific coach Bret Contreras, who explained how he had seen women orgasm during various exercises that he's coached. Naturally, I had to reach out to him. He says:
Just like the case for barbell hip thrusts for men, the deep squat will also improve a woman or man's bedroom performance in two primary manners. First, it will shape the backside, which will improve self-confidence when naked. And second, it will improve endurance in the deep squat position, which is paramount for the tantalising frogger and reverse frogger positions. Mark my words -- these manoeuvres are sure to spice things up in the bedroom, especially if you have the booty power to rock them.
Barbell Hip Thrusts
This one doesn't need much explanation, if you watch the video. You're literally humping a barbell. But let's pretend you're super innocent. Prolific fitness coach Leigh Peele explains the benefits:
The importance of pelvic floor and glute strength for women's sex isn't exactly underrated. A strong pelvic floor can lead to more intense and longer orgasms [Ed. note: These are the muscles that contract during orgasm, so stronger ones will result in, as Peele notes, stronger orgasms], not to mention less fatigue during sex. Barbell loaded Hip Thrusts are a great exercise to increase glute and pelvic floor strength. Lastly, don't be afraid to go heavy on an exercise like this because extra muscles in the glutes is hardly a look to shy away from.
Honestly, this may be the king of all exercises. Bret Contreras, who almost single-handedly breathed life into the barbell hip thrust as a between-the-sheets exercise explains his efficacy for men as well:
The barbell hip thrust will improve a man's bedroom performance in two primary ways. First, it will build glute mass, which will automatically increase self-confidence when waltzing around naked. And second, it will increase thrusting power, which is pretty much self-explanatory with regards to transfer of training to sexual performance.
Kegels and Common Sense
The last person I asked is prolific fitness pro, author, and all-around good guy Alan Aragon. Alan's a no-nonsense, BS-free type of dude, so I wasn't surprised with his tow recommendations.
The first is the Kegel. In case you haven't heard of them, these are pretty much the closest you'll get to strengthening an orgasm outright. Kegels directly train the pelvic floor muscles -- the same muscles that contract during climax.
Finding your pelvic floor muscles, however, is decidedly less sexy. As most advise, try to stop urinating mid-stream when you're in the bathroom. That same contraction is what you're aiming for when you do a Kegel. Once you've figured that out, try tightening them for five seconds (not while urinating), then allow five seconds rest. Repeat this four or five times. Doing this regularly can improve orgasm in both men and women, as well as improve erections and avoid premature ejaculation in men.
And lastly, Alan suggested else entirely:
I would say that the best exercise for sex would be to practice getting your partner to relax and get into the "zone." This can be done by letting him/her talk while you listen. Good listening skills involve eye contact, remaining still (not fidgeting and shifting your attention around), and being responsive. Allowing them to unload their day onto you while you listen intently will pave the way for your moves toward kicking up the intensity of the evening. I know that this is a weird tip, but learning how to sit still for an extended period and listen to them (whether she needs to vent, rant, rave, or get your opinion) is the most effective "exercise" that comes to my mind.
There's no YouTube video for this, obviously (and in fact, this may be harder for some people than any exercise). But at the end of the day, being connected and in the moment makes as big a difference as anything else, so don't neglect the mental for the physical. The best sex comes when you've exercised both.