These Best Sex Positions for Fitness Basically Double As a Workout
The missionary position may seem like the physical equivalent of the old "I'm tired" excuse — it's the brush-off used when you're lazy, exhausted, or just not that interested— but it's actually one of the best sex positions for fitness.
"It depends on how enthusiastic you are about it, but missionary can be great for the core muscles," says Stacy Berman, a New York City-based certified fitness trainer and founder of Stacy's Boot Camp. "If your partner is thrusting toward you, you want to have an equal and opposite thrust back, and that requires a lot of core strength. It actually will start burning."
Patti Britton, author of The Art of Sex Coaching and former president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, agrees that you'll definitely be feeling it in your abs. "You can strengthen your core by focusing on pelvic lifting using your core, not your lower back. That's where women tend to get stuck — they tend to rely on their lower back to give them propulsion." (The risk of which isn't a joke, either. Worst-case scenario, you could throw out your back or sustain some other injury — not exactly a bedroom turn-on.)
The missionary position can also provide a good butt workout. "The more she does buttock squeezes, the more she could accentuate her riding toward him to give herself a good glute workout," says Britton. And last, but certainly not least, if you employ the coital alignment technique, you'll get some great clitoral stimulation during this workout sex position.
As with the missionary position, penetration-from-behind sex (yes, doggy style) is also a great sex position for fitness because the receiving partner has to use their core to stabilize themselves on all fours, says Berman. You'll also be working your quadriceps and glutes to help brace yourself against the impact.
However, you can use a modified position to get a good arm workout, too. Rather than having your hands flat on the bed, "if the receiving partner has their hands on a wall in front of them and sort of uses their upper body to help thrust, that would be a good shoulder and upper body workout," says Berman. (Pro tip: You can do that workout sex position in the shower, too.)
With a standard cowgirl/cowboy/rider position, the lower part of the receiving partner's legs are braced on the bed or floor, which will engage the butt and core for heart-pumping workout sex. (BTW, core strength is super important.)
"Much like riding a horse, you're going to flex your lower abs and pelvic muscles," says Yvonne K. Fulbright, a certified sex educator and author of Touch Me There! "Pressing into the other partner's abs and sides with your quads or calves can engage those muscles as well."
Modifying the rider position can work additional muscle groups. "To make it even more intense, you can come up onto your feet, almost like a squat over him. That's all butt, legs, and hips," says Berman. "If you get up onto your feet and lean onto your hands, you'll also have to use your upper body to balance." (This one is actually called "The Great Bee" and is a tantric sex position.)
Like the missionary position, the lotus sitting position is one of the more passive sex positions — but still holds a place as one of the best sex positions for fitness. Many of the same muscles worked in the rider or cowgirl position are going to be used in this contortion, making it ideal workout sex: the core is engaged to stabilize the body, and the glutes are worked during thrusting. (P.S. both lotus and cowgirl are also great sex positions for clitoral stimulation.)
Standing is one of the more challenging positions because often the receiving partner has to allow the partner to lift them in some way, says Britton.
If the partners are facing each other in this workout sex position, core, and upper-leg strength comes into play: If the receiving partner is standing on one leg, those leg muscles are worked to stay upright, and core muscles are engaged to keep balanced. If they're wrapping both legs around the partner, they'll need good arm strength to hold onto the partner. And regardless which one of these contortions they're in, "you have to have stamina, if you're standing," says Britton.
If the partners are facing the same direction, the same muscles engaged in doggy-style are used: the receiving partner work their core for balance, and their arms can be worked if they're bracing against a wall or headboard and using them to help thrust. (These moves can also come in handy when having chair sex.)
According to Britton, the scissors workout sex position is the least strenuous of all — there's no suspending of body weight, and it generally makes for gentler and slower penetration (which would explain why it's often recommended for pregnant women). "Scissors is for when you're tired, not for being an acrobat in bed," she says. Still, that's not to say you won't be engaging muscle groups.
With your legs intercrossed with your partner's, there's limited movement for both people, so a lot of inner-thigh strength and core stabilization will be at work, making this a great sex position for fitness. "When you squeeze your inner thighs, the core will naturally contract as well," explains Berman. (Outside the bedroom, build inner-thigh muscle with these exercises.)
With the bridge, the receiving partner is facing upward, using all four limbs to hold their body weight off the bed. All our experts agree: This pose is not easy. (Related: 10 Yoga Poses That Double As Sex Positions)
"This is a highly advanced sex position for fitness," says Britton. "The bottom partner needs to stabilize themself so as the other partner is thrusting in and out, they don't crash."
Even if you pile a tower of pillows under your back to help support your weight (which Britton recommends), you'll still definitely be working your buttocks and inner-thigh muscles, says Fulbright. "This is going to work all of it — your biceps, triceps, abs, glutes, quads, calves. Unless you're really strong, don't expect to hold this workout sex position for long." (You'll need a lot of strength when using a sex swing, too.)
"If you're going from cowgirl or rider to this position, your butt will start burning after five minutes," adds Berman.
The arch is a modified bridge pose, with the receiving partner resting on their shoulders while using their legs to hold the lower body off the bed. (Related: How to Activate Underused Glutes — Because Yours Are Probably Sleeping])
"In many ways, the bottom partner is using the same muscle groups as for the bridge, only working them harder because they're using less to hold themself up," says Fulbright. Your core muscles, glutes, and thighs are all worked in the arch. However, Britton considers this a much safer workout sex position than the bridge: "There's no strain on the neck or shoulder region, which can seize up." (If you get neck pain from any of these moves, try these remedies.)
Sure, you might hate doing lunges at the gym while your personal trainer is telling you to do "just five more," but you might not mind them so much when they're being used for workout sex.
As the name might suggests, the lunge sex position has the receiving partner sitting on top of the other partner, with one leg planted in front and the other leg extended behind in between the other partner's legs. This move is good for the quad, front of the leg, hamstring, core, and butt, says Berman. "It'll also work the deep stabilizer muscle of the leg in the front — both inner and outer thigh — as well as stretch the back leg's hip flexor," she says. "That's great because most people sit at a computer all day, and this way you can stretch it out."