It’s not a stretch to say that a lot of people don’t look forward to working out. With obesity levels rising across the western world at astounding rates (according to the WHO, obesity rates worldwide have doubled since 1980) getting people off the couch and into the gym is becoming increasingly difficult.
So what do we do? Roll out Big-Macs-For-Weight-Stacks programs (that’s not a thing, but God damn it do I want it to be now)? Bribe gym-goers with Pizza Nights or other attendance-based gimmicks? How about we remind them over and over and over again that heart disease is still the number one killer in America? No?
None of that stuff works because we care about Big Macs only slightly more than we care about our mortality. Luckily, however, I think we’ve found the answer: sex and exercise. Sexercise. Is that a thing yet? If it isn’t, I call trademark dibs.
If there’s one thing we know about humans, it’s that if you want to sell them something they probably don’t really care about, a little sex goes a long way.
In and of itself, sex is a good workout. Of course, some workouts are better than others (I’m looking at you, Ab Crunch Machine, you useless piece of shit!). So which sex positions are the best for burning calories and building and toning muscles? Here’s a complete beginner’s guide.
Muscles worked: core, glutes, chest, back and arms.
Yes, the cheap fried mozzarella stick appetizer of sex, the missionary position, can actually be a really great bedroom-based workout. Of course, the muscles you’re working really all depend on how into it you are.
For men, use your arms to hold you up in a pushup stall (like a plank) and thrust with your pelvic muscles, not your lower back. This will flex your core muscles and deliver a similar workout to ab crunches.
For women, you kind of get the short end of the stick on this one (lol). If you want to make the most of it, create leverage with your pelvic muscles, not your lower back.
Muscles worked: quadriceps, hamstrings, core, arms and shoulders.
Most guys like doggy style for reasons I shan’t mention hither, but it’s also an excellent work out.
For men, in order to get a solid burn out of this, you’re going to have to really work for it (frankly, sex is the last thing you should be lazy with). You can get a good workout both standing or on a bed with doggy style, but in a bed is probably most worthwhile. Whichever way you cut it, you’re working your core with your thrusts.
If you stand on your tippy toes while standing, you can get a full leg workout. On a bed, you can work your hamstrings and quads so well you’ll feel them even a couple days after if you do it right. And by “right,” I mean that if you can walk downstairs for a glass of water after you’ve finished, you did it wrong.
For women, doggy style activates the core muscles, as well as the quads, hamstrings and arms. Keeping your body balanced and stable while a dude throws his weight at you is a lot more difficult than people think. You’ll get an arm workout if you hold your weight up, and, if you can find a wall to brace your arms against — rather than stabilize yourself on the bed — it’ll work your core, arms and shoulders a lot more.
Muscles worked: full body.
The arch position is actually suspiciously similar to a yoga move called the bridge, used specifically to help ease back pain. So, uh, there’s that. She lays on her back and, with her hands flat beside her and palms down, lifts her back and legs up to form an arch. He, on his knees, rises to meet her. Essentially, it’s like an elevated missionary position.
For men, you’re working the same muscles as doggy style: primarily core, hamstrings and quads. If you support her by scooping her butt, you’ll also get a little arm workout, too.
For women, however, this one can be an intense full-body workout. You’ll work everything from your calves to your quads, up through your core and into your lower and upper back, triceps and shoulders. If you’ve been skipping the gym the last few days, you’ll definitely feel this one.
Muscles worked: full body.
Quite different from the yoga position, the bridge is similar to the arch but instead of arching her back and keeping her head on the bed, she’s going to arch her legs and raise her torso with her arms (arms straight and running perpendicular to her torso, palms facing outward). This is another super strenuous position that’ll prove really difficult.
For men, it’s the same thing as the previous two: core, hamstrings and quads, and if you scoop her butt, you’ll feel it in your biceps and even shoulders.
For her, like the bridge, this one is another full-body affair. You’ll work every muscle in your legs, as well as activate your core muscles, back, shoulders and arms, and even your glutes (if you clench). The only thing to note here is that unlike the arch, the emphasis is more on the core and arms instead of back.
The Bridge (Man)
Muscles worked: full body.
As if the relationship between the arch and bridge positions weren’t confusing enough, there’s also another “Bridge” position that focuses on the man. Honestly, this one is a little extreme, and not really something we’d recommend tossing out there the first time you end up in bed together. Basically, he gets into the “Upward Bow,” and she gets on top. Yeah, it’s intense.
For him, it’s a full-body workout that’ll activate the back, core, legs, shoulders, chest, biceps, triceps — honestly, just about everything. It’s also an excellent stretch that works on the spine to help relieve any lower back pain you’re experiencing.
For her, it’s not really too hectic. Depending on his stature and size, you’re going to activate the thighs and glutes from having to squat. But, if you can stand on your tiptoes, it also becomes a full leg workout.
Muscles worked: biceps, chest, core, calves, hamstrings, quads, traps and shoulders.
Another extremely labor-intensive position, the wheelbarrow looks exactly as you’d expect it to. Facing the floor, she supports herself with her hands and arms, while he grabs her upper thighs/hips and meets her from behind. It’s like that game you play with your cousins at the family reunion every year, only not even remotely similar because that’s disgusting.
Anyway, for men, you’re definitely going to put in some work. Holding up her legs is going to work your biceps, shoulders and traps, and if you lift it slightly, you’ll also activate your lats and triceps. You can get a really good full-leg workout by bending and keeping your body centered over your knees, and you’ll also activate those core muscles by thrusting and maintaining good posture. Quick pro-tip: if you start to feel weak and feel your grip slipping, you can have her wrap her legs around your hips to help with support.
For women, this is a great core workout, and is also essentially the same position as a decline pushup, which’ll work your chest, shoulders, triceps and back muscles.
This one is a pretty advanced position and is probably best left to the gym rats out there.
Muscles worked: core, traps, arms and legs.
We’ve all probably drunkenly tried this one once or twice, but it’s not one that we really stick with for a long time. Well, if you do, the benefits are huge. She places both arms around his neck and straddles him, while he remains upright and supports her by either grabbing her butt or hooking his elbows under her knees.
For men, this position is a real intense workout for your core, arms, neck and even your legs. Whether she’s 100 pounds or 250 pounds, holding any amount of weight up for any significant amount of time is going to definitely take strength and effort to do. For reference, trained and conditioned combat soldiers carry between 95 and 140 pounds of gear on them at any given time in battle. It definitely isn’t easy.
For women, it’s also not a very easy position. Holding your weight around his waist and neck will activate your legs, glutes, arms, shoulder neck and back, and if you make the extra effort to pull yourself up and down during the fun, it’ll be even more strenuous.
Muscles worked: hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, calves and core.
This is a fun one. Cowgirl (girl on top) is a pretty solid position in and of itself, but it’s taken up a notch or two in the squat position. The squat position is essentially cow girl, but instead of having her knees down flat on the bed and using her hips to gyrate and move, her feet are flat on the ground/bed, her knees are facing upwards, and she’s using her legs and arms to bounce up and down. Aside from feeling really good, it’s also a huge calorie burner.
For men, getting a good work out from this one is a little more difficult, but if you raise her a couple inches off your pelvic area, you can go take control and thrust into her, which can activate your core. If you use your hands to give her support, you’re going to be working your biceps, too.
For women, you’re basically working the same muscle groups you would in a standard squat — hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves, core, and even your arms if you place them on his knees for better stability.