How to Squat – Physiotherapist Video for Pelvic Floor Safe Leg Strengthening

squat exerciseHow to squat video teaches you how to squat, protect your pelvic floor and get the most out of your squat exercises for leg and buttock strength and tone.

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Benefits of Knowing How to Squat

Safe squat exercises can help you:

  • Increase your thigh and buttock strength and tone;
  • Increase the lean muscle in your thighs and buttocks;
  • Maintain and improve your hip bone density density; and
  • Improve the ease of your everyday activities.

Scroll below this video for ‘How to Squat’ guidelines and variations.

Video Duration: 7 minutes

Pelvic Floor Safe Exercise Saver Pack

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Inside Out eBook and exercise workout video both available in this cost effective saver pack (download or hardcopy format).

Inside Out eBook and exercise video pack helps you:

  • Lose weight and maintain body weight
  • Safely strengthen and tone
  • Understand unsafe exercises to avoid
  • Choose pelvic floor safe exercises
  • Strengthen your pelvic floor
  • Increase your lean muscle
  • Improve your bone health

Note to ensure the smooth viewing of the video, it is recommended that you press on this play arrow and then when the video starts loading you press the ‘pause’ button until you can see that the entire video has loaded. This will help avoid the video stopping to load while you watch.

How to Squat Safely

Squatting is generally a safe exercise for most women to perform. There are a few basic principles that should be adhered to in order to keep your squat exercise safe for your pelvic floor and the rest of your body.

In order to avoid injury, women with pelvic floor dysfunction including after gynaecological surgery,  knee problems or low back problems should adhere to the following safe squat principles.

How to Squat With Pelvic Floor Safe Technique

  • Correct starting position involves keeping your trunk upright with your knees and feet no wider than hip width apart for pelvic floor protection
  • Keep your toes visible in front of your knees at all times during your squat to protect your knees from stress
  • Activate your pelvic floor muscles if you are able to prior to and during your squat
  • Maintain the normal curve in your low back throughout your squat
  • Avoid deep squats by keeping your hips higher than your knees throughout to minimise pressure upon your pelvic floor, knees and low back
  • Breathe out as you push your body back to upright.

When to Avoid Squat Exercises?

During recovery from gynaecological surgery avoid squats until you are given approval to do so by your medical practitioner. The techniques outlined in this video teach you how to perform safe squat exercises when you have medical approval to do so.

You may need to avoid or modify your squat exercises with some knee or low back conditions. Speak to your health practitioner if you have specific health concerns prior to squatting.

How to Squat With a Fit ball (Swiss Ball)

Set up position for squats:

  • Position you back to the wall with a fit ball placed in the curve of your low back
  • Walk your feet out in front of your body so that your knees can be viewed in front of your toes
  • Position knees and feet no wider than hip width apart

Safe squat technique:

  • Activate pelvic floor muscles
  • Bend your knees to lower your body keeping your trunk upright as you do so
  • Maintain the inward curve in your low back as you squat
  • Lower your buttocks slowly to a comfortable level for your body
  • Always keep your sit bones above the level of your knees
  • Breathe out and push down through your heels to return your body slowly to your starting position

If squatting causes you physical discomfort you are advised to cease your squat exercises.

Common Mistakes to Avoid with Squat Exercises

Try to avoid these commonly performed squatting mistakes:

  • Knees and feet too wide apart (i.e. wider than hips)
  • Losing the curve in the low back when squatting
  • Squatting too deeply (i.e. buttocks lower than knees)
  • Breath holding when squatting
  • Squatting and straining with too heavy weights
  • Squatting too quickly

Muscles Used for Squats

  • Front of thighs (quadriceps)
  • Back of thighs (hamstrings)
  • Buttocks (gluteals)

Squat Variations for Pelvic Floor Safe Exercise

You can vary your squats with the following:

  • Fit ball squat and reach arms forward to shoulder height
  • Fit ball squat with dumb bell weights on the hips
  • Mini squat away from the wall
  • Mini squat away from wall with dumb bell weights.

This ‘How to Squat’ video and written guidelines are designed to help women strengthen safely and enjoy the long-term benefits of pelvic floor safe exercise.

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We Welcome Your Comments


  1. I’m 61, in good health, and am a recreational runner. I’m hearing a lot about the Asian Squat . . . Is it wise for older women? I find my knees come forward of toes, but I’m trying to improve the technique by not lowering too far, and holding onto a pole for support.
    I’d value your opinion :-)


    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Sheila
      The Asian squat is a deep squat, there are much safer options for mature women such as wall squat. Deep squat will place pressure on the knee joints and increase loading on the pelvic floor organs so best avoided in favour of sustained and or weighted wall squats.

  2. I am 7 weeks post op from total abdominal hysterectomy. Is it true I can never squat with hips lower than knees again? Thanks.

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Diane

      No this really is very individual based upon your pelvic floor strength and support. Deep squats increase the load on the pelvic floor and after a hysterectomy it’s wise to avoid overloading the pelvic floor long-term. There’s nothing to be gained functionally from deep squats, women can strengthen well with shallow squats. All the best!

  3. Thanks for your article, great information and has prompted some great questions. I have a question relating to this who have the strength and flexibility to do deep squats. Should they be discouraged, and why? Appreciate your feedback.

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Wendy
      Deep squats with the legs wide apart can increase the downward pressure on the pelvic floor. For women with pelvic floor problems and those at increased risk of pelvic floor issues such as prolapse deep squats are best avoided for this reason. Cheers

  4. What is the safest way to pick things up off the floor and bend with a prolapse? Is the main thing to keep your back straight? With two children I am constantly bending to pick things up and also to empty the dishwasher, get things from low cupboards etc… can I do this safely?

    Also, I have another pelvic floor DVD where squats are taught with feel more than shoulder width apart….I’m confused!


    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Maria
      Thank you for your question this is definitely and frequently asked question so in response I have posted this article 7 Safe Lifting Techniques & Tips for Prolapse Protection I hope this helps you with the information you need.

      Is the DVD you refer to a pelvic floor exercise DVD? It seems to be the depth of the squat that is problematic – the deeper the squat the greater the pressure on the pelvic floor. Perhaps this position is being used as an advanced position for progressinbg pelvic floor exercises? When starting out with pelvic floor exercises wide leg deep squats will be inappropriate for women with weak pelvic floor muscles owing to the large amount of pressure on the pelvic floor.

      I hope this helps you Maria
      Best of luck

      • Thank you for the info on lifting, it’s really helpful.

        Can I just clarify the advice for bending? Is bending ok if I breathe out as I bend or should I be going down on one knee? I’m specifically thinking of putting things away into lower cupboards or emptying the dishwasher.

        Whilst I’m here, could you also advise on coughing? I have found that if I lean forwards whilst coughing I do not feel any pressure on my pelvic floor – is this ok to do?

        Thanks again

        • Michelle Kenway says

          Hi Maria

          For dishwasher can you stand in semi lunge position for lower shelves? Can you organise shelving so that frequently used items are higher up and do not require repetitive deep forward bend?

          For coughing the best thing to do for protection is ‘The Knack’ technique rather than lean forwards – this is a prebrace of the pelvic floor muscles before and during the cough to avoid descent of the pelvic floor (and prolapse) during coughing. ‘The Knack‘ is shown in this video if you would like more information.


  5. Hi Michelle,
    I see lots of articles advocating squats as being great for the pelvic floor, their reasoning being that it strengthens the glutes and (I think) prevents the tailbone from “pulling in” . But there are just as many saying they are not good! I am confused! What is your opinion, are they worth it or is there a better exercise for the glutes? Are the glutes particularly important or part of the overall picture? I have been told some of the muscles in my pelvic floor, particularly the ones attached to the tailbone, are tight. Would squats help the tailbone go to its correct position?

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Kate
      Yes this can be confusing. Basically the pelvic floor muscles should not involve the buttocks, and there is no issue with the tail bone pulling in for most women with pelvic floor exercises. The pelvic floor muscles attach to the tail bone and the movement or pulling in is minimal and aprobelmatic for most, provided the pelvic floor muscles are then fully relaxed having once contracted. The only times I have seen issues with the tailbone is in women who have sustained a coccyx injury (often during childbirth), where the pelvic floor exercises can cause them coccygeal pain (because of their existing injury and the attachment site being the coccyx or lowest part of the tail bone).

      The other area of concern is in women with pelvic floor spasm or pelvic floor tightness in which case the emphasis is on teaching women how to relax their pelvic floor muscles first, before progressing with their regular exercises. So, probably good for you to learn to relax your pelvic floor muscles, squats will actually load a pelvic floor that is already too tight and may cause pelvic pain by overloading the pelvic floor that is already too tight. Let me know if you require clarification on this as it is fairly involved.

  6. Thank you very much for your great newsletter and videos which I really enjoy. They are such good exercises and so easy to perform without getting exhausted, they make you want to keep doing them and are very encouraging. I also like that you give your time and these are free which I appreciate very much…..thank you again Fran