Unsafe Abdominal Exercise Workouts for Women with Prolapse

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.

Prolapse Exercises e-Book

International best selling prolapse exercise guide for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery.

Prolapse Exercises Book

Prolapse Exercises teaches you how to:

  • Exercise safely after prolapse surgery
  • Reduce your risk or repeat prolapse
  • Avoid unsafe exercises
  • Choose pelvic floor safe exercises
  • Reduce your risk of prolapse worsening
  • Improve prolapse support
  • Increase your strength and fitness
  • Strengthen your core
  • Lose weight

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?

  • Prolapse Exercises Book by Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist

    Prolapse Exercises Book

    Learn More

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.
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We Welcome Your Comments


  1. Hi, I have a prolapsed bladder. I find it hard to tighten my pelvic floor muscles without tightening my abdominal and thigh muscles. Do you have any tips?

    • Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Angela
      This is really typical when thenpelvic fooor muscles are weak. We try to tighten everything in an attempt to contract the pelvic floor. If you can feel your own pelvic floor muscles (do this side lying with your fingers placed against your vaginal opening) you will start to be able tomlocalise when you are actually contracting your pelvic floor. The problem arises when women contract their buttocks and thighs and think they’re contracting their pelvic floor when in fact they’re not. Hope this helps, all the best Michelle PS this takes time and quite a bit of practice so stick with it

  2. Hi Michelle,
    Thank you for your research and all of your time and effort put into helping people with prolapse or to prevent prolapse. This is a topic not often brought up in my culture. I will use your materials to start some conversations with friends. I am at high risk for prolapse (and may even be experiencing initial symptoms). I was going to purchase both the ‘Prolapse Recovery Exercise Book’ and the ‘Inside Out Book & DVD combo’; however, I am wondering if there will be too much overlap between the two books. Can you please give me some guidance? Thank you!

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Roxanne
      I am glad to hear that you are going to start some conversations about prolapse – great to have prolapse discussed more openly. The Prolapse Exercises book is best suited to women with prolapse who are seeking to exercise with a prolapse and after prolapse surgery. It includes pelvic floor exercises for strengthening prolapse support. The Inside Out DVD is the workout DVD that accompanies this book suited to women with prolapse problems and both are available as asaver pack

      If you are at high risk of prolapse it’s important to keep your pelvic floor muscles in good shape long-term and avoid those factors including constipation and heavy lifting that increase your risk.

      All the best

  3. Hi Michlle, another great article, thank you. With regard to cardio activity, after prolapse repair surgery and/or hysterectomy; the doctors advice is nothing other than walking for 6 weeks. Would there be any other cardio activity that could be considered ok as an alternative. ? I.e. Standing and seatedCross trainer? Bike? Or would these create too much intra abdominal pressure?

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Wendy
      Yes good question! Some women are quite tender through the perineum if they also have a Perineorrhaphy with their prolapse repair which can make sitting painful. I would leave out cross trainer too – best to keep the arms out of it to minimize abdominal pressure. Walking helps promote recovery, minimize the risks of side effects and is the safest alternative (short duration, progressing gradually and flat surfaces) see more information here which applies to prolapse and hysterectomy recovery https://www.pelvicexercises.com.au/walking-after-surgery/

  4. Barbara Guss says

    Thank you, again, Michelle, for your continued support and information for those of us who have had surgery for these issues. I keep my book handy and appreciate your newsletters four years later! Question: can core-strengthening exercises performed in aerobic Water classes (sometimes while floating) also be dangerous for the pelvic floor? Or, does the suspension and buoyancy of water protect this group of muscles? For example, doing a cross-country reach while suspended? Shooting out double legs to the side while suspended? Fluttering double leg kicks while floating? All require strong abdominal control. These feel “right,” but are they? Thank you for your thoughts. Barbara from Santa Fe, NM