Plank Variations for Your Core With Prolapse Problems or After a Hysterectomy

Plank variations that are pelvic floor friendly are better suited to women with pelvic prolapse issues and after a hysterectomy compared with traditional plank.

This Physiotherapist video demonstrates 3 pelvic floor friendly plank variations to help you modify the traditional plank exercise.

Suitability: Beginners to intermediate abdominal core strengthening.

Some women who’ve had repeat prolapse surgery or with weak pelvic floor muscles may find alternative safe core exercises more comfortable than planking. These plank variations are designed for women who can comfortably tolerate them without exacerbating prolapse symptoms.

Video Duration: 4.23 mins

Please scroll down for written plank variations and additional tips for avoiding pelvic floor strain.

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  • Pelvic floor weakness
  • Prolapse
  • Incontinence
  • Previous prolapse surgery
  • History of hysterectomy or incontinence surgery
  • Decreased bone density (Osteopenia)

Modified Plank Benefits

Modifying the traditional plank can help reduce pressure on the pelvic floor (and lower back).

The traditional plank is an intense core exercise performed weight bearing through the forearms and feet.

The 3 progressive plank variations demonstrated in this video help you strengthen and tone your core abdominal muscles as well as your spinal muscles.

Weight bearing through the knees rather than the feet reduces plank intensity and therefore the risk of pelvic floor strain.

Plank Variation 1

Kneeling Plank Toes Touching

Starting Position

  • Start out lying prone on the ground
  • Slide your forearms close to your body with your elbows beneath your shoulders
  • You upper arms should be almost at right angles to your forearms


  • Raise your chest to engage your shoulder muscles
  • Gently engage your deep abdominal muscles
  • Push down through your elbows and forearms as you raise your trunk off the ground, weight bearing through your knees and toes
  • Breathe normally throughout and avoid holding your breath
  • Try to keep an imaginary straight line between your shoulders and your knees – avoid sagging through your hips and abdomen
  • Maintain this raised position for a few breaths when starting out
  • Gently lower your trunk back to the ground
  • Rest briefly until you’re recovered before repeating this exercise

Plank Variation 2

Kneeling Plank Toes Raised

Starting Position

  • Start in the same position outlined in variation 1


  • Repeat the same starting action outlined in variation 1
  • Raise your feet and trunk off the ground weight bearing through your knees and forearms
  • Stay strong through your core
  • Breathe normally
  • Gently lower your body back to the ground
  • Rest briefly until you’re recovered before repeating this exercise

Plank Variation 3

Kneeling Plank Legs Lift and Lower

This is the most intense of these 3 plank variations and should be used as a progression exercise.

Starting Position

  • Start in the same position outlined in plank variations 1 and 2


  • Repeat the same starting action outlined in variations 1 and 2
  • Raise your feet and trunk off the ground weight bearing through your knees
  • Lift and lower your feet to and from the ground while your trunk is raised
  • Breathe normally throughout
  • Gently lower your body back to the ground
  • Rest briefly until you’re recovered before repeating this exercise

Safety Tips for Progressing Plank Variations

  • Gradually progress the length of time your trunk is raised above the ground
  • Avoid progressing the plank if you’re unable to keep your hips and trunk raised off the ground comfortably without straining
  • Keep breathing normally and avoid holding your breath
  • Avoid over bracing your abdominal muscles (contracting too strongly)
  • Keep your chin tucked to reduce the risk of neck strain
  • If you notice prolapse symptoms stop your plank exercise. Next time reduce the length and intensity of the plank or alternatively try the modified side plank variation

Key Points for Plank Variations

  • Pelvic floor friendly plank variations can help you strengthen and  tone your core without overloading your pelvic floor and worsening prolapse problems
  • Start with variation 1 and progress gradually through the variations demonstrated
  • If you notice prolapse symptoms during or after these exercises stop, rest and resume only when you’re comfortable and ready.

Further Reading

» How Safe is Planking Exercise For Your Prolapse?

» How to Modify Plank Exercise for Safer Core Strengthening

» Side Plank Abdominal Core Exercise for Women With Prolapse

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We Welcome Your Comments


  1. Anne Marie says

    You’ve done well, so Thanks, I believe a couple of your exercises will really help me. I’ve had the Pelvic floor repair, they used stitches, (mesh was outlawed) then I had to have it done again, & they used permanent stitches………. it seems to be holding but still feels like it’s dropping. So I’ve decided to do the exercises that feel like it’s supporting, that I saw on your site. Hopefully it will help it heal better, as it’s affecting my bowel & bladder emptying. For once, I feel I’m on the right track. Thanks for giving me hope & helping. Life can get tough sometimes…… Anything that doesn’t help, I’ll stop……… Nothing adverse will be your fault.
    Thanks again.

  2. Hi Michelle, Thanks so much for the video advising how to modify the plank exercise. Your expertise and advice are hugely valuable to me as a woman with prolapse problems. My Pilates instructor is very helpful about modifying exercises for me but I have never seen a progression from doing the plank exercise on my knees to raising the lower legs before. I have been doing the plank on knees & forearms for some time, so a progression will be good to try. I sometimes go from the position of plank on knees & forearms to lowering shoulders and pushing back up, whilst engaging my pelvic floor, as a modified push-up. Have you any thoughts on this?

  3. Dear Michelle

    What would be safe for women with a severe endometriosis? Any ordinary exercise is causing a lot of pain. Any guidance would be appreciated.

    • Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Ranka
      I think that with severe endometriosis it’s best to start our with really gentle core abdominal exercises. This video shows you the type of lower intensity exercises you may like to trial for gentle core strengthening remembering to start out with just a couple exercises and repetitions and progress according to your symptoms. This video shows you gentle core abdominal exercises to consider, hoping this information helps you get started Ranka

  4. Thank you for the up dates Michelle. Love hearing from you. Will give it all a go

    • Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      My pleasure Pippa – I hope this helps you add a little more variety into your program. Start slowly!

  5. Would these planks also help correct diastasis recti or is it tied into the weak pelvic floor?

    • Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Valerie
      You’re correct in that it applies to both. I wouldn’t say it corrects diastasis, rather it’s a much safer form of abdominal strengthening (when appropriate after progressing through more basic forms of core training) compared with traditional plank for women with diastasis