Kegels for men?
That’s the common response that follows after that recommendation, because most times when hearing the word, it is in a conversation about tightening the vagina for women, but it goes further than practising to contract the muscles there. Kegels are the most popular and effective pelvic floor exercises and include kettlebell swings, glute bridge and hip thrusts, and squats. Men will ultimately strengthen their prostate by adding these to a daily exercise routine, says Hard End Fitness Factory trainer Rickardo Witter.
“Men can benefit from kegels, too. By strengthening the pelvic muscles, men are helping the prostate. Coupled with a healthy diet and regular exercises, it improves the overall health,” he told Flair.
Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles helps support the bladder and bowels and impacts sexual function. It also involves the muscles of the gluteus maximus (buttocks). However, talking about prostate problems and health overall is taboo, especially among black men, because of the procedure involved in checking the organ. Black men don’t see it as an area that should be investigated by a doctor because of where it is located and how it is examined.
Witter said that men do not come to the gym in search of an exercise routine that focuses on an inner organ, “much less to help with their prostate”. Most men focus on arms, legs (the biceps, triceps and quad muscles), the abdomen, chest and back, and when the focus is on the pelvic floor muscles, also known as pubococcygeal muscles, men will not mention whether or not they are doing it for the betterment of their prostate.
“I have never encountered any male that speaks about prostate or anything to benefit the organ. There is too much of a stigma attached to speaking about prostate health, and if there is a need to speak about it, it’s unlikely men my age will gather around to talk together about their prostates. I continue to exercise to take care of my health,” he added.
As Prostate Health Awareness Month comes to a close, Witter takes us through a simple routine that benefits all men. While the 25-year-old trainer is not of the age where he needs to consider a screening, he is confident the exercises are improving his prostate health and lessening his risks of prostate problems in the future. Men over 50 years old or those who have had prostate surgery can also benefit from the following kegel exercises.
“I recommend starting a routine that involves four sets of 10 for each of these exercises. The hard work will pay off in the end and will also benefit the entire body,” Witter said.
Of course, it requires a kettlebell weight that moves back and forth on an axis. It is not a squat, but there is a squat position. Instead, it involves the hips going backwards and is counterbalanced with the upper body leaning forward.
GLUTE BRIDGE AND HIP TRUSTS
This is another exercise that starts at the gluteal muscles – the gluteus maximus being the largest muscle in the body. The muscles there help to stabilise the pelvis and the hip.
This is a basic exercise that helps strengthen the lower body, targeting the glutes and quadriceps. As these muscles become firm, one’s posture and balance improve.
In photo: Hard End Fitness Factory trainer, Rickardo Witter, takes us through three exercises that can help men strengthen their pelvic muscles.