Empower Your Performance. This is the mission of Power Athlete HQ. It’s mindset that trickles down from the top. Everything from the slogans on Power Athlete tees, the sets and reps John programs in the daily training programs, to the words sentences we compile together on the Power Athlete Blog are carefully crafted to help you empower your performance.
We empower our athletes by attacking limiting factors. In Part 1 of Pelvic Floor Health for Men, I talk about how I think it’s bullshit that, socially, pelvic floor health issues in men are frequently ignored or buried under a heavy blanket of ego. I feel that to be a high performing man, you need a high performing pelvic floor. That means you need to be comfortable with confronting some of the “taboo” markers for pelvic floor issues. These are the things like low libido and erectile disfunction that we, men, feel too proud or threatened to openly discuss when there is a problem..
Well I call bullshit on that, too. As a PT, I know these “limiting factors” are indicative of bigger issues that affect performance. We talk all day about performance on the field, or in the weight room. In this article, I’m shifting the focus. I’m going to talk about performance in the bedroom.
Pelvic Pain and Performance
Pelvic pain and performance issues don’t happen overnight. They are neurologically driven, environmentally reinforced, and psychologically propagated. Your thoughts, behaviors, lifestyle choices, and mindset dictate your perception of the sensations you feel in your body, and in this case, your pelvic region. These feelings are your brain telling you that something needs to change. The disconnected loved one, the uninspiring job, the lack of life purpose, and the daily grind you put your body through are all variables that add stress to the system. Your body is constantly trying to adjust for these factors, and if you listen, it will give you the answers.
Sometimes these signals aren’t obvious, and other times you may neglect them to satisfy your ego. Awareness is key. Body aches? Joint pain? Maybe it’s time you took a break from Field Strong and spent some time on Grindstone, to remove a layer of that physical stress. Spasms in your pelvic region? Premature ejaculation? Low libido? Maybe it’s time you reflected on your relationship with sex. Do you become anxious? Do you ruminate on past experiences? Do you over analyze your performance capabilities?
Anxiety and depression usually coincide with pelvic pain. Who could blame you? After all, we are talking about your manhood here; it’s the one thing (at least the one thing every guy is ever told) that defines your masculinity. Men are taught that masculinity is defined by being macho, tough, strong, and stoic. Don’t cry, you can’t express emotion. Don’t be soft. Talk about stressful rules! Trying to abide by those “standards” every day is enough to make any man anxious. Throw in catastrophizing thoughts surrounding a problem with the plumbing, and it’s no wonder why many men feel timid about their ability to perform.
Start Training your confidence muscle
In order to combat the thoughts and feelings that lead to pelvic pain and dysfunction, we need to train the brain. Just like you can beef up your biceps, you can also strengthen your confidence muscle through repetition and progressive overload. By shifting your focus, attention, and intention, you can begin to change the way you feel, altering the current trajectory of pelvic pain and your “speed kills” strategy during sex.
Don’t mistake activity for achievement
Are you being intentional with your love making, with yourself and your partner? A great way to reduce both tension and pain in your pelvic floor muscles while simultaneously improving your connection with your partner is through your breath.
Start each morning with a mindful minute and some breath work. Utilize the breath to bring your body back into a parasympathetic state; this will help improve your visualization and enter into a flow state. Breathing deep into your pelvic region will help those muscles relax, reducing held tension. Along with helping to reduce pain, your breath will also improve your ability to last longer in bed. The old method of thinking about baseball and cold showers while having sex doesn’t work. It shifts your focus away from your partner, breaking your intimate connection. Instead, build in a consistent practice with your breath. Conscious breathing during sex will give you the opportunity to slow things down, control the rhythm, set the pace, and allow your body to stay in a more parasympathetic state prior to reaching the giant sympathetic explosion of climax. The more parasympathetic you can keep your body, the more control you have, and the more you will be able to enjoy and feel the ecstatic energy you are creating with your partner.
Don’t make sex robotic or pre-programmed
Masturbation is a great way to practice breathing with stimulation, and improve your ability to control climax. Give yourself time to feel your own body, and eventually, that of your partner’s. This will help strengthen that confidence muscle in your brain, reducing performance anxiety, and additional stress you’ve previously associated with sex. What feels good to your body? What does it feel like around orgasm? In fact, orgasm and ejaculation are two separate events. Orgasm occurs just before you blow your load. As you approach orgasm focus on your breath. Breathe into your pelvic region. As the pleasurable sensation increases, control that energy by exhaling, contracting your pelvic floor, and sending that energy up your spine and through the crown of your head. After some solo training sessions, you will begin to experience mind blowing, full body orgasmic bliss with your partner without losing your ability to maintain an erection.
Getting your daily practice in
Do you want a competitive edge? I’ll let you in on a little secret. This next exercise is a great way to build competency with control of your pelvic floor throughout the day. You are going to capitalize on your daily urination schedule, using every draining of the lizard as an opportunity to train. While standing in front of a urinal or toilet, I want you to perform a heel raise, coming up on your toes.
This will limit your ability to contract your glutes and all you to focus on your pelvic floor muscles. Begin urinating. Once you have a steady stream started, take a big breath and hold back your flow. If you have strong pelvic floor muscles, you shouldn’t get any leftover dribbling as you cinch your hose. As you exhale the air, push out more urine. Continue this process (roughly 3-5 breaths) until you’ve emptied your bladder.
Master Your Movement: Slow Down and Feel the Rhythm
Wherever you fall on the sexual performance continuum, it’s never too late to begin training. Just like rehabbing from an injury, or improving top end performance, the process is still the same. Take a step back and reflect on the basics. You don’t need a little blue pill or numbing wipes. These are just temporary fixes, covering up deeper issues. Instead, look in the mirror. What does your reflection reveal? Are you in touch with yourself and your partner? Are you getting enough sleep? What are possible sources of controllable stress? Stand in front of that mirror and visualize confidence. Tell yourself you’re a sexy beast. You are a man and it’s your responsibility to take control.
PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, OCS, ATC, CSCS Former baseball catcher and an avid outdoorsman. Worked with Division 1 basketball, football, and track and field at the University of Pittsburgh, along with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Cardinals organizations. Received a Bachelors in Athletic Training from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011 and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Duke University in 2014. Is board certified in Orthopedics and a Fellow through the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists. Is a PT with the United States Olympic Committee and USA Shooting. Currently operates his performance therapy practice in Scottsdale, AZ with Dr. Tom Incledon of Causenta Wellness, and became a Power Athlete Block One Coach in September of 2017.
Dr. Zanis utilizes the Power Athlete Methodology to optimize performance, reduce injury risk, and rehab his clients and athletes through movement assessment, coaching, and individualized program design.
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