Are you trying to avoid worsening pelvic floor problems?
This Physiotherapist exercise video demonstrates 3 unsafe abdominal ball exercise workouts for women with prolapse and/or increased risk of pelvic floor injury.
Video duration: 4 minutes
Video Suitability: Women with or at risk of pelvic floor dysfunction including those with; prolapse, after prolapse surgery, after hysterectomy or recent childbirth
Presenter: Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway
Please scroll down below this exercise video for more information on these abdominal exercises for women along with some suggested alternative abdominal exercises.
Why are some Abdominal Exercise Workouts for Women Unsafe?
Some unsafe abdominal exercise workouts using an exercise ball involve intense outer abdominal muscle contractions.
Intense core abdominal exercises create downward force causing the pelvic floor and prolapse downwards.
If your pelvic floor is weak or not working well it my be unable to withstand this downward force and your pelvic floor problems may worsen as a result.
Are all Core Abdominal Ball Workouts Unsafe for Women?
No! Some abdominal core stability ball workouts are ideal for women to incorporate into their pelvic floor safe exercise program.
It’s important for women to have good core abdominal strength and control. Our deep abdominal core muscles should work well along with the other muscles surrounding our trunk. Well functioning trunk muscles help to support our spine and promote good pelvic floor function.
Intense abdominal core exercises can increase the risk of pelvic floor strain especially when repeated by women with weak pelvic floor muscles.
Intense abdominal exercises pose a significant risk to women with or at risk of pelvic floor problems.
3 Unsafe Abdominal Ball Exercise Workouts for Women with Prolapse
Abdominal Exercise 1: Abdominal Ball Curl
The traditional abdominal curl or sit up exercise performed lying backwards over the exercise ball. Abdominal curls can force the pelvic floor downwards and when repeated this type of exercise has the potential to weaken the pelvic floor and cause prolapse problems to worsen.
Abdominal curls on the exercise ball will not flatten your abdomen. To flatten your lower abdomen you will require weight loss exercise and appropriate deep abdominal core muscle exercises.
Abdominal curls are no safer for the pelvic floor when performed lying down on the mat.
So give your body a break and choose alternatives to abdominal curl exercises. You might just save yourself a little lower back and/or neck pain by doing so.
Alternative abdominal exercises:
Abdominal Exercise 2: Roll Out Hover
Roll Out Hover involves kneeling behind the ball and supporting the upper body weight through the elbows and forearms on the ball.
The Roll Out Hover exercise is an intense abdominal core exercise involving strong abdominal muscle contraction. Intense outer abdominal exercises like the Roll Out on the ball can increase the downward pressure on the pelvic floor.
Alternative abdominal exercises:
More appropriate light-moderate alternative deep abdominal exercises include :
Abdominal Exercise 3: Double Leg Raises
Double leg raises with or without the exercise ball placed between the legs is inappropriate for women with weak pelvic floor muscles as well as those with lower back conditions.
This exercise involves intense outer abdominal muscle contractions. Double leg raises also place a large amount of pressure on the lumbar discs while they’re in a compromised position.
Alternative abdominal exercise:
- Single bent knee leg raise with the one leg bent and the foot in contact with the ground throughout the exercise.
Key Points for Unsafe Abdominal Exercise Workouts for Women
- If you’ve had pelvic surgery (e.g. prolapse or hysterectomy) or if you have pelvic floor dysfunction your pelvic floor is at increased risk of injury with intense core abdominal exercises.
- Avoid abdominal curl or sit up exercises
- Avoid intense Hover or Plank style exercises in favor of modified alternatives
- Avoid double leg raise abdominal exercises – especially raising and lowering an exercise ball between your legs.
- Choose pelvic floor friendly abdominal exercise workouts for women to safely tone and strengthen your core.
with Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway
Learn how to exercise safely, avoid unsafe abdominal exercises and choose safe alternatives to reduce your risk of repeat prolapse.
Prolapse Exercises is a complete exercise guide for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery seeking to exercise safely and protect their pelvic floor.