Elliptical Machine Workout Tips For Pelvic Floor Safe Exercise

Do you use an elliptical machine?

Is the elliptical machine pelvic floor friendly?

The elliptical machine (or cross trainer) is an effective low impact alternative to high impact exercises for fitness and weight management. These Physio tips help you keep your elliptical training pelvic floor safe.

Suitability: general

Video duration: 2 mins 30

Please scroll down below this exercise video for more safety tips and information for your elliptical workout.

What Are The Benefits Of Elliptical Machine Training?

Some of the benefits of including the elliptical machine in your regular workout:

  • Protection for your joints and your pelvic floor since low impact fitness exercise avoids impact-associated strain and injury
  • Aerobic fitness training for your heart and lungs
  • Calorie burning for weight loss exercise and management
  • Muscle strengthening for thighs, buttocks, chest and arms depending upon whether resistance is used with the handles.


Tips For Pelvic Floor Safe Elliptical Machine Training


Keep the resistance through your arms and legs manageable for your individual strength and fitness.

If the resistance is too low you may need to step too quickly and your stride may become too large to manage. If the resistance is too heavy you may need to push down forcefully through your legs and arms.


Maintain good upright posture when using the elliptical machine. Good upright posture involves keeping your chest raised forwards, shoulders relaxed and spine lengthened – avoid slumping forward, chest lifted.

Poor slumped forwards posture decreases the effectiveness of the core muscles, increases pressure on the pelvic floor and the spine.

Handle Grip

Use light grip on the elliptical handles (if your machine has handles). Use the handles for gentle assistance with your balance rather than supporting your bodyweight.

Stride Length

Keep your stride length comfortable for your body avoiding strides that are too long or short.

Optimal stride length helps you maintain a smooth regular rhythm with your stepping and avoids jolting and jarring.

Side Rails

Avoid using side rails to support your body weight. Supporting your body weight through your arms decreases the fitness benefits and increases the likelihood of strain through the wrists and pelvic floor.

Knee Safety

If you’re prone to knee pain try to keep your strides small and your knees from tracking too far forwards when stepping. Long stride length on the elliptical machine increases the risk of knee injury.

Choose Variety

Using a variety of pelvic floor safe gym equipment can helps you avoid pelvic floor strain and overuse injuries. Some unsafe gym equipment can increase the risk of pelvic floor strain and injury.

Choosing a variety of equipment increases the effectiveness of your training for fitness and weight management.

Variety in your exercise program also helps you stay motivated and avoid boredom in your routine.

Key Points For Pelvic Floor Safe Elliptical Machine Training

Elliptical machine provides most women with a low impact alternative for pelvic floor safe exercise.

Optimise the safety of your workout with:

  • Manageable resistance
  • Good upright posture
  • Relaxed handle grip
  • Appropriate of knee tracking
  • Incorporating the elliptical machine with a variety of low impact pelvic floor safe exercise equipment.

Next: How To Keep Your Rowing Machine Pelvic Floor Friendly

Inside Out book and DVD is a complete exercise solution if you’re wanting to strengthen safely and protect your pelvic floor.


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We Welcome Your Comments


  1. Hi,
    I have read that an elliptical is good for people with pelvic floor dysfunction. The bow flex offers more of a stair climbing motion. I was wondering if this is safe to use since it seems to be a step up from the elliptical.

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Yes this is more of a vertical climber. This will involve more upper body work which will increase the core requirement and potential perhaps for pelvic floor loading. Having not tried it myself I can’t be certain on this but I would opt for the regular elliptical if given a choice with prolapse issues

  2. I know that the recumbent bike is bad to use if you have a prolapse. I have a Uterine prolapse and am wondering if a seated elliptical machine is safe to use? I use the one from Nustep to warm up when I go for back therapy. Those machines are nice but very expensive. I was looking at the Teeter FreeStep.
    With this machine your legs do not go around like on a bike but up and down more like a step machine. Any advice you can give would be appreciated.

    • Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Karen
      Why is the recumbent cycle inappropriate for prolapse? I’ve found that many women with prolapse issues actually find it more comfortable that the upright stationary bike. Yes just looking at the Teeter it appears that the pelvic floor is reasonably well supported – I’m not sure whether heavy arm resistance would increase the load on the pelvic floor however the machine set up looks good. Will the company give you a trial so that you can assess it at home? Many of these companies offer a trial or month hire which could be worthwhile too.

      • I read somewhere that with the recumbent bike you lean backwards so it is not friendly to the pelvic floor. I do see some that do not lean as far back as others. I us the Nustep at therapy for my lower back. It does not lean back like some of the recumbent bikes do. I also have carpal tunnel and golfers elbow so I do not always use the arms. I guess I will look closer at some of the recumbent bikes. I do prefer the Teeter because your feet do not pedal around like on a bike.

        • Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

          Hi Karen
          If your back is supported then leaning back on a recumbent cycle should not increase pressure within the abdomen. This would only apply if the back was not supported and the abdominal muscles were then active to support the trunk. In a supported back position the abdominal pressure on the pelvic floor would be minimal to non existent cheers Michelle

  3. What do you think about the ab-lounge.?
    After reading your article it makes me want to get rid of my rebounder, and now I am looking at a cross trainer?
    What would recommend,
    Thanks kindly

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Kris

      Yes cross trainer is a great alternative to rebounder exercises for pelvic floor friendly exercise. What’s the ab lounge you’re referring to Kris?


  4. Hi Michelle,

    I just discovered you and really like all the information.

    I can only ride the stationary bike for cardio because of my arthritis. I was just diagnosed with bladder prolapse. Is this okay? I ride for just 25 minutes a day. I don’t spin. Also, I was doing yoga, but after reading some of your articles, not sure if it’s good for me to do. But I do need to stretch–do you have any tips on stretches that would be okay for me to do?

    Thank you

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Heidi

      Stationary bike is ideal with arthritis and bladder prolapse. It’s low impact and won’t overload your pelvic floor while it helps keep your joints mobile to reduce stiffness as well as strengthening your legs & working your cardiovascular system so yes stick with this. The recommended amount of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise is 30-60 minutes, 5 days of the week so you could possibly increase your exercising time just a little if you can manage it.

      In terms of pelvic floor safe stretches … how long is a piece of string! I need to make a video series on this to help you out – stay posted over the next month or so I will get onto this for you.

      All the best

  5. Hi kenway,
    Thanks for sharng this nice post. I want to share some workout tips in the below. Such as-

    1. Drink plenty of water before you work out
    2. Wear loose fitting clothing that can get sweaty or sweat-stained
    3. Monitor your Heart Rate
    4. Set benchmarks
    5. Watch the dashboard properly

    Clint J

  6. I am new to your site and see a lot of info about strengthening pelvic floor muscles but my problem is the opposite. My pelvic floor is in a chronic sate of tension and I have recently been diagnosed with anal prolapse and rectocele. Can I continue running on my treadmill and what other exercises should I be including or avoiding?

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Joyce

      Pelvic floor tension is often made worse with intense core abdominal exercises, high impact exercises (like running) and heavily loaded strengthening exercises. This entire website is devoted to those exercises to choose and avoid – a good place to start would be this information on pelvic floor tension as well as this link for pelvic floor safe exercises

      Hope this helps you get started Joyce!