Physiotherapy Abdominal Hernia Exercises for HERNIA SUPPORT | Unsafe Core Exercises to AVOID

Abdominal hernia exercises for the core abdominal muscles that can improve hernia support before or after hernia surgery with Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway

This video shows you

  • 2 abdominal core hernia exercises appropriate with umbilical hernia or inguinal hernia
  • Unsafe abdominal exercises to avoid that may increase the risk of abdominal hernia worsening.

Please scroll down for more information and abdominal hernia exercises.

Timestamps for Abdominal Hernia Exercises

0:40 Deep abdominal core muscles
1:04 Abdominal hernia core exercise side lying
4:44 Abdominal hernia core exercise sitting
7:34 Abdominal exercises to avoid with abdominal hernia

Strength & Core Workout for Women (Download)

Strength & Core video is a pelvic floor friendly core exercise workout with Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway

This whole body workout strengthens your core abdominal and pelvic floor muscles in addition to whole body strength and posture training.

Strength & Core Benefits

Strength & Core Workout includes exercises designed to:

  • Exercise safely and avoid injury
  • Train core abdominal muscles
  • Strengthen pelvic floor muscles
  • Strengthen and tone hips, butt and thighs
  • Improve posture
  • Strengthen back muscles
  • Body weight management

Abdominal Hernia Exercises for Core Muscles

Exercises performed preoperatively in abdominal hernia patients have been found to improve postoperative recovery and reduce postoperative complications1. This can include weight loss exercises in individuals who overweight or obese.

The most appropriate abdominal hernia core exercises for improving abdominal muscle support are exercises that train the deep innermost layer of abdominal muscles called Transverse Abdominis (shown below).

Transverse Abdominis Core Muscles

The Transverse Abdominis muscles encircle the trunk. They wrap around the lower abdomen, waist and attach via strong connective tissues to the spine providing a corset of support. These deep core abdominal muscles can become weak after abdominal surgery (incision), with lower back or pelvic pain and when they are stretched with abdominal weight gain.

Abdominal Hernia Exercises

1. Core Abdominal Hernia Exercises in Side Lying

  • Start in side lying with both knees slightly bent
  • Maintain the normal inward curve in the lower back throughout
  • Place the uppermost hand over the lower abdomen (below the navel)
  • Gently tense the lower deep abdominal muscles beneath your briefs as if slightly drawing in this area towards the spine
  • Keep the upper abdomen relaxed (above the navel)
  • Breathe normally throughout this exercise
  • Relax the abdominal muscles and rest
  • Repeat up to 10 seconds x 10 repetitions

2. Core Abdominal Hernia Exercises in Sitting or Standing

  • Start these exercises either in sitting or standing position
  • Align your posture so that your chest is lifted slightly or raised forwards
  • Lengthen the spine by lifting the crown of the head lifted towards the ceiling
  • Gently tense (activate) the lower deep abdominal muscles as outlined in exercise No.1
  • Breathe normally throughout this exercise
  • Relax the lower abdomen completely and rest
  • Repeat up to 10 seconds x 10 repetitions

Unsafe Abdominal Exercises to Avoid with Abdominal Hernia

Some of the intense core abdominal exercises can increase pressure within the abdomen (intra-abdominal pressure or IAP). When pressure within the abdomen increases, an abdominal hernia may be forced to bulge outwards through an area of weakness in the abdominal wall.

The exercises that tend to increase IAP are the more intense abdominal exercises that activate the upper or outer abdominal muscles (i.e. Rectus Abdominis and External Oblique) muscles.

The types of intense abdominal exercises that can increase IAP include:

  • Full sit ups2
  • Abdominal roller equipment
  • Resisted abdominal strength exercises (equipment)
  • Abdominal exercises with both legs and upper body raised simultaneously (e.g. V sits)


1Renshaw SM, Poulose BK, Gupta A, Di Stasi S, Chaudhari A, Collins C. Preoperative exercise and outcomes after ventral hernia repair: Making the case for prehabilitation in ventral hernia patients. Surgery. 2021 Aug;170(2):516-524. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2021.03.006. Epub 2021 Apr 20. PMID: 33888317.

2Dietze-Hermosa, M., Hitchcock, R., Nygaard, I. E., & Shaw, J. M. (2020). Intra-abdominal pressure and pelvic floor health: should we be thinking about this relationship differently? Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery, 26(7), 409-414.

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