Kegel exercises, or Kegels, are designed to strength the pelvic floor muscles (PFM). This can be an effective treatment for urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction1 2 3 4 5, and premature ejaculation6. (In case you’re wondering, “Kegels” are named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, who invented them.)
Step by Step Guide to Kegels for Men
Find Out How to Control Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
While peeing, try to stop the flow. Don’t tighten your butt or abdomen, and don’t hold your breath. Practice stopping and starting your flow to learn how it feels when you contract your pelvic floor muscles.
Breathe normally while tightening your pelvic floor muscles; do not hold your breath. Do not push down… try to imagine pulling your muscles upward as you tighten them.
Tighten your Kegel muscles and count slowly to five; relax and count slowly to five again. (Remember not to hold your breath!). When you are starting out, repeat this cycle fives times for one “set.”
Start by performing a set three or four times per day while standing or sitting. Once you are comfortable with the exercises (after a week or so), increase the number of repetitions per set, gradually working up to ten repetitions.
Vary your routine. Practice your Kegels while standing, sitting, walking, lying down, and bending over. You can perform Kegels while driving your car, walking your dog, watching TV, stretching, exercising, even working in the garden!
Once you’re comfortable with basic Kegels, add a couple of “fast sets” each day. Instead of holding and relaxing for five seconds, tighten for one second, and relax for two seconds. Focus on tightening as quickly as you can.
Dealing with Stress Incontinence
Get in the habit of tightening and holding your pelvic floor muscles during any activity that puts pressure on your bladder: lifting, coughing, laughing, sneezing, etc.
There is also evidence that electrical stimulation strengthens pelvic floor muscles7; electrical stimulation is employed by physical therapists to strengthen PFM in men following prostate surgery.
A home device for electrical stimulation of pelvic floor muscles in men, the eKegel, was released in 2021.
Track Your Progress
To stay motivated, most of us need to see progress. Keep track of your urinary leakage, and the number of Kegel exercises you do each day. As with any exercise program, you won’t see results overnight, but you should see significant improvement in 4-6 weeks.
Once you start your program, it’s important to keep it up! Your pelvic floor muscles will weaken if you don’t exercise them regularly.
- Claes, H; Baert, L. “Pelvic floor exercise versus surgery in the treatment of impotence.” British Journal of Urology. Jan 1993;71(1):52-7.
- Dorey, G.; Speakman, M.J.; Feneley, R. C.; Swinkels, A., Dunn, C. D. “Pelvic Floor Exercises for Erectile Dysfunction.” BJU International. Sep 2005; 96(4):595-7.
- Dorey, G; Siegel, A; Nelson, P. “The Effect of a Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Program Using Active and Resisted Exercises on Male Sexual Function: A Randomised Controlled Trial.” 2015.
- Rosenbaum, Talli Yehuda. “Pelvic Floor Involvement in Male and Female Sexual Dysfunction and the Role of Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation in Treatment: A Literature Review.” The Journal of Sexual Medicine. January 2007; pp 4-13
- Dorey, Grace. “Randomised controlled trial of pelvic floor muscle exercises and manometric biofeedback for erectile dysfunction.” British Journal of General Practice. Nov 2004; 54(508): 819–825.
- Pastore, Antonio L; Palleschi, Giovanni; Fuschi, Andrea; Maggioni, Cristina; Rago, Rocco; Zucchi, Alessandro; Costantini, Elisabetta; Carbone, Antonio. “Pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation for patients with lifelong premature ejaculation: a novel therapeutic approach.” Therapeutic Advances in Urology. Feb 2014.
- Hwang, Ui-Jae; Kwon, Oh-Yun; Lee, Min-Seok. “Effects of surface electrical stimulation during sitting on pelvic floor muscle function and sexual function in women with stress urinary incontinence.” Obstetrics & Gynecology Science. May 2020; 63(3): 370–378.