This Review Originally Appeared in "Exercise For Men Only" written by Andy Troy, C.S.C.S.
Few things are as important to modern man as sex. Just turn on your computer and you'll instantly be bombarded with dozens of unsolicited slices of spam offering to make it bigger, keep it up longer, and show you what to do with that big, hard thing. Yet ever since the birds first chased the bees and failed to catch them, physical fitness has played an important, though often neglected role in good sexual performance.
There have been countless books on the market teaching us how to improve our sex lives, each with a different angle. They teach us how to dress, how to act, where to go and what to say. All with one goal in mind: Getting women into bed.
The problem I've seen, however, is that great sex is strenuous exercise and a high percentage of American men are in pretty bad shape. You can read the Kama Sutra all you want, but you're not going far with no gas in your tank. That was the motivation behind my creation of The Bedroom Workout for Men. It is a Fitness DVD dedicated to improving a man's sexual performance through flexibility, strength and endurance exercises specific to the task. So, let's see how time spent in the weight room can spruce things up in the bedroom.
Like any contact sport, sex requires good flexibility, both to improve performance and to avoid injury. According to chiropractors I've spoken to, most sex related injuries occur in the lower back. Improving flexibility in that area will, therefore, help keep you in the game. Stretching your hip flexors, muscles that are often overdeveloped and tight, is also important. Tightness there leads to weakness in their opposing muscle group, the hip extensors. This is problematic since efficient hip extension is the key to good sexual performance.
Numerous muscles, other than the obvious one, are used by men when performing sexually - either to create motion (concentric), or to maintain one's position against the force of gravity (isometric). We will divide the body into upper middle and lower section to better understand the challenges faced by each.
Upper Body. During sex, a man's upper body is often called upon to hold a position, allowing movement to occur elsewhere. The demand here is isometric, a Greek word meaning "same length." During an isometric action, a muscle neither lengthens nor shortens, yet there is resistance. Many women like it when you keep your arms fully extended while in the missionary position. It frees them of the weight of your upper body, provides a greater range of motion at the hip and provides an appealing visual. To train your body for this, perform push-ups holding the "up" position for 3-5 seconds before slowly descending.
Mid-body. Sexually speaking, the midsection of your body- from your hips to your sternum - faces challenges of both stability and movement. This included the postural muscles deep inside your torso, often called your "core," as well as those of your abdominals and lower back. Extension in the lower back is where much of the movement takes place, so hyperextensions should joing crunches as part of your core training.
Lower Body. While some stability demands are placed on the lower body, our primary focus is movement. This included prolonged and rapid hip and knee extension, placing a premium on stamina. Rest periods for squats or deadlifts, traditionally done the build size and strength, are shorter. To train for success in the sack, do four sets of 15-20 reps, with 30 seconds between sets. Movement speed should be rapid - one second up, one second down.
It is clear the good cardiovascular conditioning is a big plus when planning a long, energetic night between the sheets. Studies have shown it increases blood flow to the penis, just like a slew of popukar drugs, but without the side effects. In addition, regular aerobics condition your whole cardio respiratory system rather then just giving an out-of-shape 50-year-old man an erection. Viagra has perked things up a but, so what do guys do with that sward now that it's drawn?
The minimum recommendation for cardio is 20 minutes, 3-5 times a week. What about your heart rate during exercise? Since working too hard can be dangerous and not hard enough gives you too little benefit, it's important to find the level that's right for you. One popular method is finding and maintaining an ideal percentage of maximal heart reate. Here you take 220, subtract your age, and multiply the remainder by between .5 - .9 (to find a particular percentage of your max HR between 50 - 90 percent), depending on your individual fitness level and number of cardiac risk factors. Always keep in mind that three or more risk factors indicate the need for a trip to the doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Another popular method is the talk test. Try carrying on a conversation while exercising. If you can talk comfortably, chances are good you're working at a safe level.
Which mode of cardio training is best? Make sure there's a lot of hip and knee extension. Fortunately, most popular equipment will satisfy that requirement. Good choices include the StairMaster, exercise bike or rowing maching. Whatever mode your choose, vary it periodically. Do not use a treadmill on the five setting for four years straight, three times a week for 30 minutes each. Your body will adjust and you'll lose much of the benefits. Also change speeds periodically, even within a given session. You probably dont have sex at the same speed all the time - sometimes it's slow and sensual, other times it's hard and fast. There is an old saying in the fitness community: "Form follows function." If your want to be efficient at several speeds in the sack, then train your body that way.
So, there you have it - a sport-specific training program for every man's favorite contact sport. But remember that the key to being good at any activity is practice, so first chance you get grab your partner wherever she likes it most and get to work!