Going to the gym isn’t the only way to boost strength and burn calories. Making love can build certain muscles, depending on how creative you get with your positions. Experts in sex therapy in New York City, and certified personal trainers in Miami offer tips on which ones to try. Since hitting the gym costs us valuable time and money, these free workout options give you the most bang for no bucks (and we think your guy will be more than happy to help you meet your fitness goals).
1. Quads: Get into the cowgirl position and then turn it into more of a frog position. It may not sound sexy, but it’s effective! You’re on top, but rather than rest your knees on the bed, rest your feet on the bed, says Dr. Castellanos. As you move up and down, the position essentially becomes a low squat, which largely targets the quads (the front thigh muscles). You can even move forward and backward to work that muscle group more and burn extra calories.
2. Chest: You probably already know what doggy-style means, but in case you need a refresher: You’re on your hands and knees and he’s behind you (either kneeling on the bed or standing next to it). This position forces you to work your upper body, because you have to use your arms to support yourself. To challenge yourself during penetration, “lower your shoulders and do a push-up” says Castro. Tip: This may be easier to pull off on the floor if your bed is too soft.
3. Glutes and hamstrings: For this move, get yourself into a lunge position, suggests Dr. Castellanos. Picture this: He’s sitting on a couch or sturdy chair and you’re on top, with your left foot on the sofa and your right foot on the ground. You’ll work your left glute and your right hamstring. When you’re halfway there, switch your legs, so you’ll work both sides of your body evenly. If the chair is high and you have to stand on your tippy-toes, you’ll work your calves, too.
4. Lower Abs: In lotus, face your man and sit on top of him. In this intimate pose that involves deep eye contact and kissing, your arms and legs are wrapped tightly around his back and his arms and legs are wrapped tightly around your back. Channel your inner belly dancer, says Dr. Castellanos, and use your lower abs to pull your pelvis up and down. If you’ve ever taken ballet or a barre exercise class, you know that small movements can have huge results.
5. Triceps: Once you’ve mastered the lotus position, which primarily works the lower abs, turn that move up a notch. In lotus lean, you are in the same position, except instead of wrapping your arms around your guy’s back, lean back and place the palms of your hands flat onto the bed with your fingers facing your buttocks. This variation works more of your arms and if you bend your elbows, “it’s like doing a tricep dip,” says Dr. Castellanos.
6. Hip flexors: Try the scissors pose. You’re both lying on your sides. If your guy is on his right side and you’re on your left side, instead of resting your right leg on top of his torso, raise it to a 30- to 40-degree angle, Dr. Castellanos suggests, and hold it there for as long as you can to work your right hip flexor. The next time you have sex, switch sides. This is considered isometric exercise because you’re not moving your muscle (like when you do bicep curls)—you’re holding it still (like during a plank).
7. Upper abs: This legs-up position requires a decent amount of hamstring flexibility, so to warm up, touch your toes a few times beforehand. Lie on your back and put the backs of your thighs against your guy’s chest. You can either stick your feet straight into the air or bend them over your guy’s back, depending on what’s most comfortable for you. Then lift up your head and shoulders into a crunch during sex, recommends Dr. Castellanos, which will tone your tummy and blast away belly fat.
8. Deltoids: Think of this move as doggy-style with a twist. You’re on all fours on the bed and he’s standing behind you, next to the bed. Then he grabs your upper thighs, lifts both of your legs up into the air and holds them wheelbarrow-style while he thrusts. Instead of supporting yourself mostly with your upper body, you’ll be supporting yourself only with your upper body, so it’s an excellent workout for your deltoids (shoulders). “It feels like suspension training, like TRX,” says Castro.
9. Glutes: If you don’t want to try anything that’s super acrobatic, try something that’s somewhat simple and keeps you very stable by pumping up good old-fashioned missionary sex with the arch. When lying on your back, keep your head and shoulders on the bed (ideally on a soft pillow), says Castro, and then target your glutes by raising your behind as high as you can and holding it there for as long as you can. After a few seconds, you are sure to feel the burn!
10. Total Body: Once you’ve gotten the hang of the arch, (see #9 above), try an advanced version called the bridge, which Castro says works even more muscles. Raise your behind again, but this time, use your arms to lift your head and shoulders off the ground too, making a horizontal line with your torso that’s parallel to the bed. It’s like a plank, only you’re facing the ceiling instead of the ground. This single move will target muscles in both the upper and lower body, including the glutes, abs, biceps, triceps and deltoids.
Note: Just as with any type of exercise, if any of these positions cause you pain, stop and consult your doctor for medical advice. Do not try these moves if you have any injuries or serious health conditions. Burning calories is not worth injury.