There are lots of opinions and ideas about lifting weights with prolapse. But we can’t equal this in terms of the volume of research! Given the amount of fear-mongering or talk of safe or unsafe (lifting being considered unsafe…) exercises, let’s dig into the research we do have!
What does it tell use about lifting weights and pelvic organ prolapse?
Women who lift heavier weights reported fewer prolapse symptoms
Than those lifting lighter weights:
Lori Forner at al 2019, found that physically active women who lifted less than 15kg were more likely to report symptoms of prolapse than women lifting 50kg+
Whilst there was no physical assessment of the participants, their subjective feedback showed that lifting heavier weights doesn’t always equal more symptoms.
COOL! What else did they find?
Factors that WERE associated with POP symptoms
- Number of vaginal births
- History of constipation
- Family history of prolapse
- Weight lifting category
- History of hemorrhoids
The 4,000 survey respondents were divided into the following categories:
- Light lifters (max lift weight <15kg)
- Moderate lifters (max lift weight <50kg)
- Heavy lifters (max lift >50kg)
Of all the survey respondents, 14% had symptomatic prolapse, and these could mostly be found in the non-lifting group. Which makes sense if they are scared to lift or have been told not to.
From my own experience, and as a coach supporting women with prolapse to get back to lifting, many clients find loading helps symptoms! It is certainly empowering to feel strong in your body again, whilst experiencing that lifting does not equal prolapse symptoms.
How to start lifting weights with pelvic organ prolapse?
If you are feeling fearful about lifting weights with prolapse, work with a specialist physio or qualified trainer (like me!)
Start by getting better knowledge about the core and pelvic floor so you understand how it works (and what happens during lifting).
Get some great strategies, such as looking at breathing, understanding and managing tension and pressure and apply to lighter loads. Build up using progressive overload. This is exactly what I help my clients with in PROJECT STRONG – a 1:1 programme to get you back lifting without worrying about what’s going on down there.
Click here to find out more about PROJECT STRONG