Pelvic floor exercises for men

Illustrated icon of the bladder

Men often use pelvic floor exercises, or as they’re sometimes known, Kegel exercises, to improve bladder control. This is not surprising, as there are many benefits with a strong pelvic floor. For many men, pelvic floor exercises can improve recovery after prostate surgery, reduce the risk of urinary leakages and dribbling after urination, and improve control when feeling an urgent need to urinate.

Find your pelvic floor muscles

Before doing Kegel or pelvic floor exercises, you need to learn how to find your pelvic floor muscles. A good way to do this is to try to stop or slow down the flow of urine while urinating because men use the pelvic floor muscles to do this. It’s worth mentioning that stopping and slowing down the flow of urine is not a pelvic floor exercise in itself. So it shouldn't be used as an exercise, as it could disrupt the normal emptying reflex. It's simply a way to locate the right muscles and when you know how to activate them correctly, get into a regular habit of exercising them. If you have trouble finding the right muscles, consult a physiotherapist who specializes in pelvic floor muscles.

Male pelvic floor exercises – a quick guide

Learn to locate your pelvic floor muscles
The following exercises target the pelvic floor muscles as well as your bladder – but before you begin you need to find the correct muscles to activate as described above. Once you’ve found these muscles, you’ll get used to the feeling of tightening them and can be sure you’re exercising in the correct way.
Basic steps to stronger pelvic floor muscles
You can improve the strength and endurance of your muscles by carrying out the following exercises which will help you prevent urinary leakage.
  • Strength
    Make each pelvic floor muscle contraction as strong as possible. Maintain every contraction for 3-10 seconds, depending on how long you can hold the maximum clench. Relax for 5-10 seconds and then repeat, building up to 5-20 repetitions depending on how strong you are. Increase the duration or length of each contraction as you get stronger. You should not squeeze your buttocks, hold your breath or tighten your thighs, or stomach while doing this exercise. Do these exercises up to three times a day if you have problems. Eventually you will be able to do them in a sitting or standing position. 

  • Endurance
    This exercise helps you in situations when you need to hold the clench for a longer time – for example, when there is no the toilet nearby. In this exercise you don’t clench with maximum strength. Instead, try to hold the clench for as long as possible up to 60 seconds. After you’ve done your strength clenches for 10 repetitions as described above, finish your round with an endurance clench. 

Pelvic floor exercises - four tips for beginners

  1. If you're new to the exercises you can do them lying down. 
  2. Initially your muscles won’t be strong enough, so you’ll need time to get them used to working against gravity. 
  3. Lying down makes it easier to feel that the right muscles are working and that they're clenched to the maximum. 
  4. Try to find the position in which you’re most comfortable. This could be lying down with your knees bent and feet on the floor, or with your legs resting on a pillow or chair seat.

Pro tip: Hard contractions

When you feel like you've mastered the exercises above, try using fast, hard contractions. This exercise helps you avoid leaking when you need to clench rapidly  - for example, when coughing or sneezing. Try using fast, hard contractions to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as hard as you can for 2 seconds then let go. Repeat 5-10 times. 

Be patient

Remember, good results take time and it will take several weeks before you notice any improvement. Until then, make sure you do these exercises daily – and in the meantime, perhaps you can get some inspiration from reading about how other men have overcome similar issues to the ones you may be experiencing.

Bladder retraining

Bladder retraining is commonly used to improve urge incontinence. This involves becoming aware of patterns of incontinence and relearning skills necessary for storage and proper emptying of the bladder. This includes avoiding ‘just-in-case’ visits to the bathroom as well as avoiding last-minute rushes. Skills worked on may include -

  • Practicing the bladder's ability to hold urine. This is done by increasing the amount of urine the bladder can hold while lengthening the amount of time between voiding intervals. In other words, delaying urination. 
  • Not rushing to the bathroom in the middle of an urgency feeling, try to distract yourself in some way
  • Squeezing the pelvic floor muscle when experiencing the urge to urinate 
  • Allowing plenty of time and planning bathroom visits in order to avoid the feeling of stress.
Time between bathroom visits can be gradually extended in this way. A bladder diary could be a helpful tool. It’s also helpful to try to avoid things that can irritate the bladder and cause urgency feelings such as drinking too much or too little and drinks that can irritate the bladder, such as coffee, black tea, and energy drinks 

TENA helps you keep control

While pelvic floor exercises are a great way to treat the symptoms of incontinence or a weak bladder, there are lots of other effective ways you can keep control - and don’t forget TENA Men has a wide range of discreet, absorbent products that help you live your live without compromises and free from worrying about urinary leakage. We can even help you find exactly the right product for your needs.