The Best Exercises for Better Sex

Illustration of woman in red lingerie working out
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Even if you’re not a pro athlete, you can still have an Olympic experience in the bedroom. But you need to put the work in -- or rather, workout -- if you want to see results in the sack. So which exercises translate best between the sheets? We asked Zach Rothberg, a certified strength & conditioning specialist and corporate fitness trainer, how to get into sexy shape.

Tilt it, tilt it real good

All sex hinges on one essential movement: the pelvic tilt. Your pelvis is comprised of all the bones you pretty much need for boning: your hip bones, sacrum, and coccyx (or tailbone, if that nomenclature makes you less giggly). "The ability to control the pelvis and the anterior and posterior pelvic tilt is essential," says Zach. Conversely, lack of control and strength in this region can have some pretty painful consequences. "During any instance of hip-dominant movement, unless the pelvis is aligned properly, [you] cannot produce force without spinal compensation. Basically, you throw your back out," he explains. And unfortunately, there's no Plan B for a herniated disc, so protect yourself. Zach recommends exercises such as the cat-camel because "it promotes control of the pelvis."

This range of motion is equally important for men and women. However, Zach says women may want to focus on the anterior movement, which produces a sexy arch in the lower spine; while men may want to pay attention to the posterior movement, which will provide a little more force.

Hips don't lie, but they should extend

Yes, that was a Shakira reference. And no, I’m not sorry. Anyway, if the pelvic tilt is like the gas in your car, then hip extension or "hinging," as Zach calls it, is like the horsepower. The motion in your ocean, if you will. To let your thrust thrive, he recommends a few exercises: glute bridges, hip thrusters, "Good Mornings," and deadlifts. For the ultimate expression of this movement, Zach prefers kettlebell swings. And to be fair, if you look at them from the right angle, they’re basically air humps. So it makes sense. Just don’t creep on someone doing them at the gym, OK?

Keeping it up

Your body, that is. Life on top can be hard on your arms and wrists, especially for men. To avoid squishing your partner, you need to build your "straight arm scapular strength, or SASS," says Zach. This type of upper-body strength will give you "the ability to hold yourself up with proper alignment. Nobody wants to sprain their wrist while trying to support themselves," he notes. So how do you get SASSy? Zach suggests single-arm planks.

Girl doing lunges inside gym
Viacheslav Nikolaenko/Shutterstock

Giddy up, cowgirl

Even if a girl's got SASS for days, being on top requires strong legs. Otherwise, they'll start to quiver, but not for the right reasons. "Ladies, you need to make sure you have the endurance in your thighs," says Zach. That means, lunges, lunges, lunges and throw in a wall sit for good measure.

Advanced technique

Any woman old enough to have seen Jerry Maguire dreams of getting picked up and... shown the money. To literally sweep a girl off her feet, a more masterful level of upper-body strength is required. Zach's advice: never. Stop. Doing. Chin-ups. He also recommends supinated bent-over rows.

The cardio question

Hold your collective groans. If you're anything like me and absolutely detest the hamster-like routine of cardiovascular exercise, you're in luck. When I asked Zach how important cardio was to a healthy sex life, his answer was simply, "Not." However, he did add this: "If you're one of those who can't control your panting, maybe take a run once a week." Then again, "If you can’t run a mile without dying, maybe you need to see a doctor to determine if your heart is healthy enough for sex." Touché, Zach. Touché.

No matter what moves you decide to work on, Zach couldn't stress enough the importance of technique. "If your technique suffers in the gym, so will your performance in the bedroom." So if you don’t really have a clue what you're doing, choose a trainer with the same standards you'd select a sexual partner. Actually, probably best to set the bar a little higher, considering they don't serve alcohol at the gym.

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Julia Reiss is a writer and stand-up comedian with a newfound appreciation for kettlebells. She can be found in the gym two to three times per week, and on Twitter 24/7: @thereisspiece.