Guide to Kegel Exercises for Men
Kegel exercises are basic simple clench-and-release exercises that helps to strengthen your pelvic floor. The pelvis is the region between your hips that houses your reproductive organs.
Pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that supports the bladder, controls the flow of urine, and controls ejaculation during intercourse. There are three pelvic muscles in men:
- The bladder. This is a balloon-shaped muscle that holds your urine.
- Sphincter muscles. These muscles help with closure and opening of the urethra. Urethra is the tube that drains urine from the bladder.
- Pelvic floor muscle. Another name for this muscle is pubococcygeus (pu-bo-kak-sije-us) also known as PC muscle. It supports the rectum and bladder and controls the flow of urine.
If your pelvic floor is weak, you will experience some issues, such as the inability to control your bladder or your bowels.
Once you learn and master your Kegel exercises, you will be able to do them anytime and anywhere, whether in the privacy of your home, or while queuing at the bank.
Why should you do Kegel exercises?
Every man has a gland known as prostate. The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut. It lies under the bladder encircling the upper part of the urethra. The urethra transports urine through the penis to the body’s exterior. The prostate gland is surrounded by many muscles. These muscles weaken as a person gets older, or during prostate cancer treatment. Weakness of the pelvic floor muscles may cause a person to have urine leakage – known clinically as incontinence. By strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, you will be able to control your bladder and urine flow. It is important to note that strengthening your pelvic floor muscles takes some time, just as building your biceps or any other muscle in your body.
How to locate the pelvic floor muscles in men
Most men find it hard to identify the right group of pelvic floor muscles. One way to properly locate your pelvic floor muscles is by inserting one finger into your rectum and attempt to squeeze it. This should be done in such a way that you do not tighten the muscles of the thighs, buttocks, or abdomen.
Another way to get this done is by tensing the muscles passing of gas. If it’s still giving you trouble, then practice stopping urine flow. Stopping urine flow is a good and reliable method of locating the pelvic floor muscles. But try not to make this a regular practice.
Men can also locate their pelvic floor muscles with the help of biofeedback. If you’re still finding it hard to locate your pelvic floor muscles on your own, then make an appointment with your healthcare provider.
4 Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor
Here’s the thing – the pelvic floor can be activated at any time, and anywhere. However, it is also important to incorporate specific exercises that target and strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor.
One way this is done is by categorizing the exercises for men with hypotonic pelvic floor muscles and those with hypertonic pelvic floor muscles.
Hypotonic means low tone pelvic floor issues with the need to strengthen and improve power and endurance.
1. Quick flick Kegels
This exercise requires quick contractions of the pelvic floor. This will activate ad strengthen your pelvic floor to stop leaks when you are coughing or sneezing.
- Start by lying on the floor. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. As you get more used to the exercise, try performing it in a standing or siting position.
- Locate your pelvic floor muscles using the tips described above.
- Breathe out, pull your navel to your spine, contract quickly and release the muscles of your pelvic floor. Contract for at least a second before releasing.
- Breathe steadily throughout.
- Do the quick flick 10 more times, then relax for 10 seconds. Try out 2 – 3 sets.
2. Heel slides
Heel slides enhances contractions of the pelvic floor although specifically targets the deep abdominal muscles. Here’s how to do it:
- Start by lying on the floor. Bend your knees while placing your pelvis in a neutral position.
- Inhale deeply into your rib cage. Thereafter, you exhale through your mouth, allowing your ribs to compress naturally.
- Draw up your pelvic floor, lock your core, and slide your right heel away from you. Go as far as you can, but only be sure that you do not lose the connection you have with your deep core.
- Locate the bottom position, inhale and return your leg to the starting position.
- Do 10 slides per side before switching to the other leg.
3. Toe taps (Marches)
Just like heel slides, toe tap builds your core stability and enhances the contractions of the pelvic floor.
- Start by lying on the floor. Bend your knees and place your pelvis in a neutral position.
- Breathe into your rib cage, and exhale through your mouth, allowing your ribs to compress naturally.
- Draw up your pelvic floor and lock your core
- Lift a leg slowly to tabletop position
- Lower this leg slowly to the starting position
- Repeat the movement while alternating legs. There should be no pain in your lower back. Ensure that you engage your core throughout the exercise.
- Alternate your legs a total of 10 – 20 times.
4. Happy baby pose
Hypertonic exercises may be relaxing and lengthening for a person who has a tight or short pelvic floor.
The goal of a hypertonic pelvic floor muscle exercise is to lengthen and release your hypertonic muscles such that the contractions are more effective and the muscles can work more efficiently.
Recommended exercises include:
- Start by lying on the floor, then bend your knees
- Bring your knees toward your abdomen at an angle of 90 degrees, while allowing your soles to face up.
- Grab and hold the inside or outside of your feet
- Open your knees until they widen a bit more than your torso. Thereafter, you pull your feet toward your armpits. Ensure that your ankles are over your knees.
- Flex your heels, then move your feet into your hands. You can maintain this position for several seconds or rock gently from side to side.
Edwin Madison is a freelance health writer and the founder of No More PE. He has worked with leading B2B and B2C companies in the health industry and his publications are featured on Yahoo News, E27, and other leading websites.