Physio Safe Leg Exercises (Hips, Butt & Thighs) for Prolapse & After Prolapse Surgery

If you’re looking for safe leg exercises (hips, butt & thighs) with prolapse problems for home or in the gym, this routine is for you.

Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway guides you through a series of pelvic floor friendly leg exercises that will help you strengthen and tone your hips, thighs and buttocks without worsening prolapse symptoms.

These exercises are all performed standing upright or lying down on supportive surface.

Suitability: Women including those with prolapse and previous prolapse surgery seeking exercises that will minimize the risk of prolapse worsening.

Duration: 7 mins 30 secs

Read on below to know how much leg exercise to do, how to choose the correct size weights and Physiotherapy tips and techniques for these exercises.



Quantity of Leg Exercise for Strengthening & Toning

You may choose to start out with 2-3 repetitions of each exercise as you familiarize yourself with the correct technique.

Aim to complete approximately 8-12 repetitions in a row, for 3 sets of exercises resting in between each set.1

Try to complete your leg strength exercises on alternate days of the week for a total of 2-3 sessions of leg exercise 1.This doesn’t include exercise for cardiovascular fitness such as walking or cycling.

Tips for Choosing the Correct Size Weight to Use for Leg Exercises

If you’re starting out with strength exercises concentrate on using the correct form (technique) and use minimal weight or no weights to reduce the risk of injury.

Progress by using dumbbell weights that feel manageable for your body aiming for light to moderate intensity for strengthening.1

Gradually progress the size of the weights you use to reduce your risk of injury 1. You may feel comfortable increasing your weights at approximately 6-8 weekly intervals. You’ll be likely to reach a point when the amount of weight you lift plateaus after a number of months for some of these standing leg exercises.

Cease any exercise associated with worsening prolapse symptoms either during or after your workout.

Technique Tips for Standing Leg Exercises for Strengthening & Toning

Mini Squats

Strengthen and tone your thighs and buttock muscles.

  • Start standing hips approximately hip width apart, weights positioned against your groin
  • Squat by bending forward from your hips
  • Push your butt out behind your body
  • Keep your knees behind your toes to reduce your risk of knee pain
  • Try to maintain the small inward curve in your lower back throughout
  • Drive back into standing pushing your body weight through your heels to activate your buttocks


Strengthen and tone your hips, thighs and buttocks.

  • Start standing in a long stride position with chest raised
  • Your body weight should be distributed between your front foot and the ball of your back foot
  • Bend your back knee and lower your body towards the ground
  • Keep your lunge to a comfortable depth and avoid lunging too deeply
  • Return back to standing by pushing your weight through your front heel and foot and repeat

Try to keep your gaze directed forwards throughout this exercise to promote balance and good posture throughout

Wall Squats

Strengthen and tone your thighs and buttocks.

  • Start standing with your feet approximately hip width apart, your back against a wall and your feet forward away from the wall
  • Squat and lower your back down the wall by bending your knees keeping your knees behind your toes
  • Keep your hips positioned higher than your knees throughout
  • Breathe normally throughout this exercise and avoid holding your breath

Dead Lifts

Strengthen and tone your buttocks, thighs and lower back.

  • Start standing with your feet approximately hip width apart
  • Hold your dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing backwards
  • Lean forwards slowly whilst maintaining the inward curve in your lower back and your knees positioned behind your toes
  • Lower the dumbbells to approximately knee height or above
  • Breathe in as your lean forwards
  • Return to standing position by pushing down through your heels to activate your buttock muscles
  • Breathe out as you return your body upright to standing

Lying Down Glute and Hip Exercises for Strengthening & Toning

Heel Prop

Strengthens and tones your buttock muscles

  • Start lying prone on a firm surface with both legs extended
  • Use a pillow under your hips and pelvis if you’re prone to lower back or pelvic pain
  • Bend one leg to form a right angle and flex the foot so your sole faces the ceiling
  • Gently raise that flexed foot towards the ceiling, lifting the thigh from the ground
  • Lower the thigh back to the ground and repeat


Strengthens and tones your hips

  • Start lying on one side with both knees bent and your head and neck supported with a cushion or pillow
  • Keep the normal inward curve in your lower back throughout this exercise
  • Raise the top knee just slightly away from the lower knee before lowering it again
  • Keep both feet down and avoid raising the top foot off the lower foot

Position a dumbbell on the outer upper thigh when you have mastered the correct technique for additional resistance


Strengthens and tones your buttocks, back of thighs and lower back muscles.

  • Start lying on your back with both knees bent and knees apart
  • Maintain the normal inward curve in your lower back as you raise your buttocks off the ground
  • Push down through your heels and exhale as you raise your body
  • Inhale as you lower your body slowly back to starting position and then repeat
  • Rest your weights on your groin to load your hips and buttocks when you’ve mastered the correct technique

These pelvic floor friendly leg exercises help you strengthen and tone your hips, butt and thighs without overloading your pelvic floor and causing prolapse symptoms. They also help you recover strength when you have permission from your specialist to return to general exercise after prolapse surgery.

Further Viewing

» Pelvic Floor Safe Core Exercises – Physio Safe Core Exercises Video

» 4 Simple Sacroiliac Joint Exercises that Strengthen & Stabilize Your Pelvis (Video)

Prolapse Exercises Book

This complete exercise guide is especially for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery seeking to exercise safely, reduce the risk of prolapse worsening and improve prolapse support.

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

    Learn More


1. Garber C. et al (2011) Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:43, 7, pps 1334-1359.

We Welcome Your Comments



  1. Hello Michelle,
    I am a little less than two weeks out from a laparoscopic total hysterectomy for benign condition. I am 55, in great shape and menopausal. No complications from surgery. No pregnancies. I was seen by a urogynecolgist initially for evaluation and told I did not have a prolapse issue. I purchased your first book Recovery after hysterectomy. There seems to be such little information about recovery out there and your book was very helpful. Which book should I purchase for guidance back to fitness and to prevent pelvic prolapse post hysterectomy? When should I start these exercises and I am wondering when I can start simple body weight exercises such as lunges, squats and step ups. Thank you!

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Joan
      Thanks for your message, I’m so glad your book has helped you. Joan book 2 is in the pipeline, meanwhile this book is ideal for helping you return to exercise safely and protecting your pelvic floor Pelvic Floor Safe Exercise Book All the best for your long term recovery

  2. Patricia says

    Hi Michelle
    I have recently been told I have a rectocele but as I haven’t had any symptoms, I assume it is a stage 1 prolapse. I have been doing resistance training at a gym every second day for many years. Since the diagnosis I have cut right back on the weights I lift (eg now I am only squatting with a 20kg Olympic bar and doing lat pulldowns with 25kg and I have stopped deadlifting and doing pushups). I am consciously exhaling and trying to lift my pelvic floor with each lift. I have read your book Inside Out and looked at your website and I am concerned that I may still be doing too much and worsening my prolapse. On the other hand, I feel I am losing my hard won muscle (and bone) mass and I’m not finding these weights very satisfying. I’m doing 15 plus repetitions and mainly ending the set because I’m not sure that I’m lifting my pelvic floor.
    I used to enjoy challenging myself at the gym and felt that I was improving my health. Now I don’t enjoy my sessions as much as I feel worried and unsure about whether I’m doing the right thing and I’m no longer getting the satisfaction of doing an extra pushup or increasing my weights.
    Many thanks for this website.
    PS You have warned against ‘straining’ – I have assumed that this means that you shouldn’t go to failure in a set or try to squeeze out another rep but is this what you do mean?

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Patricia
      My apologies for the delayed reply. Yes I understand what your concerns and I think that many women unnecessarily decrease their physical activity. By straining I mean try to avoid the pressure you would use say for example if straining hard to empty your bowels – heavy lifting can be a little like this if the load is heavy e.g. heavy leg press. I mean keep the exercise and load within your manageable range however this doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be easy. Why can’t you increase the load for your squats and modify the depth of your squat/width of your stance or alternatively I like to use the Smith machine with a bench behind and lower to touching butt to bench which is a great glut/quads exercise and doesn’t require heavy loading. Have you tried dead lifting dumbbells and lowering them to just below your knees rather than the ground? I don’t think lat pull downs are an issue if done with good form in a woman with minor prolapse and good pelvic floor support. I don’t think that push ups will affect your bone health in the major at risk areas (other than in your wrists) however I don’t see why you can’t do any push ups with your lack of symptoms and prolapse severity. It might help you to see a pelvic floor physio to have the condition of your pelvic floor muscles assessed to reassure you that your gym routine is manageable. Does this help?

  3. Hello Michelle,
    I have been getting your emails for some years now (since I had surgery) and I am continually impressed with the way you enthusiastically guide us all in the safe way of exercising. Your books are very good and I have told a number of ladies to look into it. Many thanks for your continued help and suggestions.

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Bev
      My pleasure indeed and thank you for your lovely feedback. I am so glad to read that the information continues to assist you with your well being.
      Best wishes to you Bev

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