You probably think about stretching before your gym workout or after your run, but before sex? Not likely. Yet having sex uses a lot of muscles you don’t normally use throughout the day.
Add these simple stretches into your everyday routine to increase your flexibility and spice up your sex life. The more flexible you are, the more comfortable you will be trying a new position, or avoiding cramps during sex. (Here’s a great yoga routine with weights to improve your flexibility.) Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, and remember to breathe. (Heal your whole body with Rodale’s 12-day liver detox for total-body health.)
Standing Toe Touch
- Reach your arms up, lift your shoulders, and separate your ribs as much as you can. See how long and tall you can make your body, and then start to roll forward to reach toward your toes. This stretches your hamstrings and releases the lower back. Hold here and shake your head “no” and “yes,” circling the arms a few times before slowly rolling back up to standing.
- Start on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat. Close your eyes to relax your mind and body, then start to sway your knees to the right, back to center, and over to the left. This gentle movement releases your lower back and helps clear away stress from your day so you can unwind and get in the mood for sex.
- Still on your back, glue the soles of your feet together and drop your knees out to the sides. The closer you bring your heels into the midline of your body, the more of a stretch you will feel on the inner legs. You can keep arms at your sides or reach them overhead for a bigger stretch. (You should also try these 9 yoga poses for better sex.)
- Lift your legs up to the ceiling and bring your arms out in a “T” position. Gradually drop your legs out to the sides in a side split stretch. Make sure you aren’t rocking side to side and one leg isn’t dropping further than the other. Flex your feet back toward the body to feel a greater stretch through your calves, feet, and ankles. If you need more support for this stretch, use a wall or perform it sitting up.
- Yep—hitting the pavement isn’t only a great way to challenge your cardiovascular system and boost your endurance, but it will also lead to better stamina in the bedroom. Plus, running can be a natural aphrodisiac, especially when performed with a romantic partner. A survey conducted by Brooks Running Company found that 66 percent of runners believe they have more sex when they run with their significant other. “It’s part of the ‘runner’s high,’” says Sandy Liang, personal trainer at Crunch Gym. “People often feel extra turned on by the energy boost felt post-run.” She recommends sprints, which are more likely to increase sexual stamina and help with the varied paces during sex. “Like sprints, where you have a burst of intense work and time to rest, during sex you are alternating between faster moves, and slower sensual moves,” she says.
- Various research has shown that short, intense, workouts, such as weightlifting or resistance training, can boost testosterone levels much more than when one goes jogging or hops on the elliptical. Since sex involves the whole body, these kind of workouts can seriously come in handy. Liang recommends squats, first and foremost, which can increase blood flow to the pelvic region and help energize the libido. “To perform a squat effectively, pull your butt down to an imaginary chair behind you while keeping your back straight, a neutral spine, your chest up and knees align with your feet,” she says. “Keeping your body tight, push through your heels and big toes to bring yourself back to the starting, standing position.”
- Stretching is alway a good sexercise, since it gives you the flexibility to change positions smoothly and the ability to perform in different positions, explains James Conley, fitness instructor and owner of JamesConleyFitness. An easy stretch you can do almost anywhere is sitting on the floor with your feet out in front of you. Lean forward as far as you can and try to touch or surpass your toes. “This stretches your hamstrings and lower back,” Conley explains. He recommends holding the stretch for about 30 seconds (it takes your brain at least 10 to 15 seconds to indicate to the body that it’s ok to relax). “Don’t ever bounce when stretching, and go slowly.”
- This simple move is one of the most effective bodyweight exercises because it effectively builds isometric strength (more strength with less muscle building). “Building these muscle can help lead to better sex by increasing stamina, since these muscles are used during on top positions,” explains Justin Seedman, American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, health coach and behavior change specialist in South Florida. He recommends beginning your plank at the top of a push-up, with your hands shoulder-width apart, arms strong and pelvis level. “Engage the core, squeeze your thighs and glutes, flex your quadriceps and press the heels back in order to flex your feet.”
- The mobility and flexibility one attains by committing to a yoga regimen helps in the bedroom in more ways than one. “Yoga positions are a great way to prep yourself up for your sexual activities—getting you nice and limber,” says Liang. “The main areas of the body used for sex are the shoulders, hips and entire back—so, if these areas are tight, sex may not be as comfortable and enjoyable.” The yoga move that she says is helpful for sex is the Upward-Facing Dog, which stretches the core, psoas and hip flexor region, and increases energy and blood flow to the pelvic area. “Start lying on your belly with your legs hip-distance apart and the tops of your feet on the floor. Bring your hands to the sides of your chest and press to lift your torso off the floor while rolling the shoulders back and down. Lengthen through the crown of your head, relax and breathe for about 15 seconds.”
- Your pelvic floor muscles, which are totally in play during sex, are strengthened to the max during Pilates. “The stronger these muscles are, the more intense the orgasm, and learning how to consciously control these muscles allows you to increase sensations during sex,” says Liang. Sounds convincing enough!
- She recommends Kegels (the exercise of holding the muscles you release when you pee) to help improve the endurance, control and strength of the PC muscles. “These allow you to last longer, boost your arousal during sex and climax to that orgasm with your partner,” she adds. Instructions: Hold that area (tighten like you are stopping urination) as you exhale, and relax as you inhale. Perform 10 to 20 Kegels three times a day, holding each one for 10 seconds.
- Mental workouts are important, too. “Your mental state is really important to how well your time in the bedroom will be,” says Liang. “Practicing meditation and deep breathing can help you reduce stress, become more aware of your senses, be more present, and therefore increase the duration and satisfaction of your orgasms.” Not only will you feel less tense, but meditating allows for increased blood flow throughout your entire body. She recommends belly breathing techniques helps to strengthen your diaphragm muscle and allow you to practice taking full breaths that actually fills your lungs, which results in breathing more efficiently and controlled during sex. Place your right hand on the chest and the left hand on the belly. Take a deep breath in through the nose to push your left hand with your belly. Breath out through the lips to flatten your belly and guide your left hand back inwards. Your right hand should not have moved if you correctly took a full breath. Slowly repeat 5-10 times.