You’ve been working hard on your prolapse safe exercises but progress has stalled. You feel stuck between the safety net of what you believe to be safe and wanting to progress your exercises.
Here are 5 ‘prolapse safe’ exercises and how they can be progressed using the principle of progressive overload and a bit of imagination!
Making deeper squats easier if you have pelvic organ prolapse
Squats can get a bad rap because you may feel vulnerable in a squat position. Clients often want to work on squats last because they feel “open” in the bottom position or feel as though they are bearing down.
However, if you only train squats in a narrow stance or shallow depth, you are missing out on improving strength and hip mobility for a deep squat position. Plus its a fundamental movement for life!
I love to add a heavy-ish resistance band to provide support from the top. This means clients can go deeper into their squats and feel supported and less “open” in the bottom part of the squat. As always you can think about your breathing strategy, foot position and weight distribution.
Progressing Glute bridges for a stronger pelvic floor
Good old glute bridges! These make an excellent rehab exercise as they help strengthen your glutes (bum muscles) and you lie on your back which tends to reduce prolapse symptoms.
That said, the glute muscles are a large muscle group and benefit from loading (adding weight).
Adding a dumbell (or a barbell) across the hips is a great way to strengthen the glutes and the pelvic floor and core.
For more ideas about progressing your glute bridges for prolapse, you can check out my Instagram reel “how to progress your glute bridges” by clicking here
Lateral steps with resistance band
Lateral (or side) steps are a useful exercise to strengthen the side of the glutes (the glute medius) but its tempting to speed up the steps and miss out on the benefit of the movement. To make these more effective, I suggest the following:
- slow down the movement
- have a slight lean forward to improve alignment and better access to the core and pelvic floor muscles
- maintain resistance in the band at all times
- add a harder resistance band
Lunges for stronger single leg work (and improving discrepancies in the 2 sides of your pelvic floor muscles)
Your pelvic floor physio may have told you one side of your pelvic floor muscles are stronger than the other side. Lunges are a useful movement to help improve strength for a specific side of the pelvic floor muscles OR improve your core strength.
Here are 3 ways you could make lunges more challenging and improve strength.
- add some weight or a resistance band
- lunge from a small height. This is called a deficit lunge.
- add a pause at the bottom of the lunge
And remember, you can use an exhale for the hardest part of the exercise to incorporate your pelvic floor and core muscles.
Why walking isn't always the best exercise for those with pelvic organ prolapse
Many of my clients notice that walking for long periods of time gives them more prolapse symptoms. Even though walking is usually promoted as a great low impact exercise for prolapse!
So, let’s have a think about how we use walking without creating prolapse symptoms:
- build up gradually in the same way you would do for running
- build up time spent walking & baby-wearing as both may increase downward pressure and create more prolapse symptoms
- notice if symtpoms change across the day or month
- use your glutes when you walk so have a look at your posture and alignment (bum untucked)
- avoid gripping of pushchair handles which creates more tension in the body
Walking is fantastic! But you may need to start short and build up.
I generally find clients tolerate walking when they’ve focused on building strength, breathing and pressure management.
I hope this post has given you some inspiration of how you can progress your rehab exercises for a stronger pelvic floor and fewer prolapse symptoms.