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Sex is great not only for pleasure but also for our physical health, as it is equivalent to light-moderate exercise, recent research has shown. But which sex positions are best for your overall physical fitness, and which can tone different parts of your body?

Survey on the most effective sex positions to burn calories

Lovehoney has partnered with two sex and fitness experts to share how you can optimize your lovemaking to activate different muscles and get your heart rate going. They surveyed over 2000 sexually active adults and revealed that half of the nation recognizes sex as a workout. Among them, one in four between the ages of 18 and 44 even track their heart rate and calories burned during their sexual encounters.

According to the sexologist Ness Cooper, sexual intercourse is indeed an excellent way to burn calories – and no need to commit to a long and intense sexual session as some “passionate kissing which by itself can burn around 2 calories per minute, (…) could end up burning just as much as some less intense 15-minute exercise programs burn”.

The findings:

Almost half of the individuals consider sex a real workout

  • 1 in 4 individuals between the ages of 18 and 44 admit to tracking their heart rate and calories burned during sex

  • For most individuals, doggy (31%), cowgirl (22%), and missionary (21%) are considered the most physical sex positions.

  • Experts reveal the best sex positions to tone your abs, glutes, chest, and legs

The best sex positions to work with different muscle groups

Most sex positions burn calories and engage your abs in some way, but certain postures are better to tone specific body parts than others. Sex specialists Julia Kotziamani and Ness Cooper, have made a selection of the best sex positions based on the muscle groups you wish to activate.

Sex Positions | Longevity LIVEAbdominals:

Most sex positions at some point will impact your abs, from crunch to plank style (doggy or missionary) sex positions, and you will work your core through the different thrusts and grinds.

Try these sex positions to work your abs: Love Tug, Heart to Heart, Looking Glass, The Pelvic Pike


Positions that are great for glutes include different squatting positions for all genders. For females, this includes cowgirl positions and the bridge. These are great positions to get toys involved, especially vibrators.

Try these positions to work your abs: Concertina, Yogi, Liberated Lover, Kanga-ooh!

Chest and shoulders:

The obvious position here is doggy style, or the wheelbarrow, as you support your body weight through your arms and chest. However, standing poses and missionary-style positions are great for those with penises or who wear strap-ons as they support part of their partner’s bodies.

Try these sex positions to work your chest and shoulders: On your Marks, Nose Dive, Trick Or(al) TreatSaddle Up


To intensely work your legs, the standing positions are the most appropriate. These sex positions will require you to use all the muscles in your legs as you thrust in and out of your partner – or keep yourself steady if you’re on the receiving end. If you add your partner’s weight to the equation, it amps up the intensity of the exercise.

Try these sex positions to work your legs:

Hold on Tight, Hot Squat, Flying High, A Leg Up 

A full-body sex workout plan designed by sex experts

Different sex positions can be used to work on the entire body, all week long. Julia Kotziamani and Ness Cooper helped Lovehoney develop a week-long sex workout plan that not only targets your core muscles but also guarantees maximum pleasure.

Standard positions workout program







Chest day

Abs day

Glute day

Leg day



Warm-up foreplay


Warm-up foreplay


Warm-up foreplay

Arch/glute bridge

Warm-up foreplay


Warm-up foreplay


Any positions that take your fancy

Naturally, the longer the sex lasts and the more intense it is, the more calories burned. And interval sessions, where your heart rate increases quickly, are the best for an intense workout. So thrust and bounce your way to a more toned body!

Tip: For additional muscle toning fun, try some of your foreplay in different squatting positions. And don’t forget to stretch!

Photography credit

Main Photo by Monika Kozub on Unsplash


The full Lovehoney survey and expert comments on the most effective body=sculpting sex positions can be read here:


Em Sloane

I am an introverted nature lover, and freelance writer. I love sharing new insights on how to live a healthier life using nature's gifts. Be kind. Be generous. Love. Peace. Humanity.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.