Being fit and healthy impacts every facet of your life. It plays a role in sleep quality, energy levels, metabolic functioning, and even your sex life. "If it’s good for your body, it’s good for sex,“ says Timaree Schmit, Ph.D., sexuality educator, and certified fitness instructor. Think about it, even when you aren't doing something overly acrobatic or creative, sex can be a real workout. The more strength and endurance you have, the better your sex will be!
Schmit, who offers a workshop on sexual fitness, wants you to have the best sex imaginable. Here are her top picks for exercises that will boost your performance in the sack:
Start in a basic plank -- it is up to you whether or not you are on your hands or elbows. Bend your right leg until your knee lightly taps the floor. Then straighten your leg back to plank and repeat with the left leg. Do this for one minute. During this exercise, try to keep the rest of your body as still as possible. "These are very small, isolated movements that require a lot of core, much like during sex,” says Schmit. Other good plank variations include bringing your knee to your chest and planks where you touch your hand to your shoulder, extend it out in front of you and then return to start position.
Push-ups are great for working the arm and core muscles you use during missionary-type positions or positions that require you to support your body weight. Start in a push-up position with your hands under your shoulders. Move your feet forward so that your body makes a "V" shape. Bend your elbows and lower toward the floor. Once your chin is near the ground, swoop your hips down and your torso up until your hips are close to touching the floor. Reverse the move and repeat. Do as many as you can (with good form) for 30 seconds.
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Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width with your toes pointed slightly outward. Look straight ahead with your arms out and parallel to the ground. Make sure your back remains neutral -- not rounded or arched. Squat by sending your hips backward and bending at the knee, keeping your knees in line with your feet. Try to get your hips parallel to or lower than your knees. Return to your start position. Do 2 or 3 sets with 15-20 reps each. This may seem like a lot of reps but your aim should be to actually mimic the extent to which you use these muscles during sex. “What tends to happen is people get very fatigued,” says Schmit. “They work out for these two-minute intervals but they’re not in a sexual position for that brief. Train for what you’re actually going to be doing.”
Kegels are a classic sexercise and can be beneficial to both men and women. To figure out how to work your pelvic floor muscles, try squeezing the muscles you would use to stop the flow of urine. Schmit says you should not actually try this while
you are peeing and that if your anus is moving, you are not being specific enough. Try to do 3 sets of Kegels, 10 reps a set.
“Cardio in general is going to be useful for endurance,” says Schmit. Both long-distance and sprint workouts can improve your sex life. If you find yourself fatigued from going up a few flights of stairs or running a 20-minute mile, consult your doctor to ensure that you are healthy enough for sexual activity.
Cardio and strength training are important for sexual performance but don't forget flexibility. “Everybody as they age gets less and less flexible,” says Schmit, “so you have to actively work on not only maintaining that but certainly improving that.” The frogger is an exercise that can help you open your hips. Start on your hands and knees, then slowly slide your knees out to the side. Flex your feet and stop when you feel a stretch (but not pain). Walk your hands out and get on your elbows. Use your hands to press your hips back. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your head lifted. Recover from this stretch in Child's Pose. Schmit suggests holding all stretches for a minimum of 20 seconds and a maximum of 30 seconds.
Pectoral Wall Stretch
Stand so your shoulder is facing the wall. Place your hand on the wall, extending your arm straight behind you. Rotate your trunk away from your arm to stretch. Hold for 20-30 seconds and then switch sides. This stretch will help release your pectoralis major muscle. If you don't find this to be a deep enough stretch, you can try the reverse prayer stretch. Press your palms together between your shoulder blades. If you lower your head while in this position, you will get an additional stretch that reaches all the way down to your legs.
You don't need to be able to do the splits but the more flexibility you have in your lower body, the more experimentation you can do with positions. Have one foot forward with your knee bent and the other leg behind you with your shin on the floor. Press your weight forward through your hips with your arms at your side or your hands resting on your knee. Keep your back straight. Hold stretch for 20-30 seconds and then switch sides.
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How do you keep your sex life in top shape?