Stationary Bike Set Up for Pelvic Floor Safe Exercise & Weight Loss

Are you frustrated with being unable to exercise for fitness and weight loss?

Stationary bike might be the solution!

Stationary cycling provides low impact cardiovascular fitness and weight management exercise that helps avoid pelvic floor overload.

In this video Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway shows you how to set up your stationary bike and ride to help protect your pelvic floor when cycling. Michelle also discusses the best stationary bike exercise regime for weight loss.

Scroll down below this exercise video for video suitability, stationary bike tips and stationary bike weight loss guidelines.

Video duration: 3 minutes 40 seconds

Suitability: This video is suited to women seeking effective pelvic floor safe fitness exercise that minimises pelvic loading (i.e. women with pelvic prolapse diagnosis, previous prolapse surgery, hysterectomy, incontinence problems). This information is not intended for women with pelvic pain or pelvic floor muscle tension problems.

Benefits of Stationary Bike

Potential benefits of stationary bike exercise include:

  • Pelvic floor friendly cardiovascular fitness exercise
  • Weight management
  • Pelvic floor protection
  • Joint protection (i.e. knees, hips, ankles)
  • Lower limb muscle strengthening
  • Lower limb muscle endurance
  • Stress reduction
  • Mood elevation
  • All weather
  • Convenient

When to Avoid Stationary Bike

Avoid stationary bike:

  • With pelvic pain or
  • pelvic floor muscle tension (usually aggravated with sitting)
  • Some lower back conditions (e.g. acute disc injury, sciatic nerve irritation)
  • With tingling or numbness in or around the area where you sit on the bike seat

Stationary Bike Set Up

When setting up your stationary bike for pelvic floor safe exercises:

  • Position the bike seat so your hips are positioned higher than your knees throughout the entire pedal revolution
  • Ensure that the extended leg is never completely straight
  • Position the arm rests so you can sit upright in the saddle
  • Start with the gears low so that resistance is low
  • Use a gel seat cover and/or bike pants for extra seat cushioning if desired

Stationary Bike Techniques to Avoid

Some stationary bike riding techniques can potentially increase pelvic floor loading.

These include:

  • Cycling using heavy resistance that causes straining when pushing the pedals
  • Standing out of the saddle when cycling which usually involves heavy resistance through the legs

Stationery Bike Techniques to Choose

  • Stay seated in the saddle where possible
  • Keep leg resistance manageable
  • Alternate cycling speed with low, moderate and high speed spinning

Best Stationary Bike Exercise for Weight Loss

Stationary bike can help women lose weight by allowing them to exercise for longer duration than they might otherwise be able to with pelvic floor problems such as prolapse.

Stationary bike can help some women exercise at a higher intensity than they otherwise may not be able to achieve (particularly helpful for women with prolapse and running problems).

Using the stationary bike with alternating high and low intensity provides for effective weight loss exercise – specifically abdominal weight loss. Abdominal weight loss has the added bonus of reducing the load on the pelvic floor.

Most Effective Stationary Bike Weight Loss Regime

Research at the University of NSW has investigated stationary bike and most effective weight loss exercise using a regime known as “Life Sprints”.

The Life Sprints regime of alternating high and low intensity exercise resulted in significant abdominal fat loss in women (who didn’t change their diets) over 3 months.2

This following Life Sprints stationary bike regime resulted in more weight loss than women who performed 40 minutes of moderate intensity stationary cycling.

The most effecting weight loss training regime involved:

  • Stationary bike exercise on 3 alternate days of the week
  • 20 minutes alternating high and low intensity exercise (following 5 minutes warm up)
  • Alternating 8 seconds high intensity vigorous cycling with 12 seconds low intensity cycling known as “interval sprinting”
  • Total 12 weeks of stationary bike exercise

More LifeSprints information and interval training music

Key Points for Stationary Bike and Pelvic Floor Safe Exercise

  1. Set up your stationary bike so your hips are higher than knees and you are seated upright where possible
  2. Choose light to moderate resistance; avoid heavy gears or high resistance and standing out of the saddle when cycling
  3. Cycling with short sessions of  alternating high and low intensity can provide more effective weight loss exercise than longer sessions of moderate intensity cycling

2D.J. Chisholm, J. Freund and S.H. Boutcher  “The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting levels of young women” International Journal of Obesity (2008) vol 32, no. 4, pp. 684-691.


prolapse exercises

with Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway

Learn how to exercise safely, strengthen your prolapse and reduce your risk of repeat prolapse.

Prolapse Exercises is a complete exercise guide for women after prolapse surgery seeking to exercise safely and protect their pelvic floor.




  1. Hi Michelle,
    thanks for this, Hubby is just going to get me a bike but a recumbent one.Is this ok??

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Jane
      Recumbent is a great option – nice if you can rest your head back rather than contracting your abs lifting your head forwards throughout.

  2. Catherine says:

    My exercise bike is more of a reclining one with a seat, I have good posture on it. I got it after a skiing injury. I have been following to 8 secs 12 secs routine and all seems fine. Is this bike ok and I’m having a hysterectomy and front and back prolapse remain on Friday. Do I wait 6 weeks before retuning to bike and your inside out dvd? .

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Catherine
      Great to hear you’ve been doing the 8/12 sec routine fine. Yes wait at least 6 weeks post op – until you have your surgeon’s approval to return to general exercise after your surgery.
      All the best for your op and recovery Catherine

  3. Is a bike better then a treadmill? I used to walk an hour day outside but now it’s winter and it is way too freezing to walk outside but I have a treadmill, so I was thinking of just walking an hour on that, but I read on a website that the treadmill is bad for your pelvic floor?? Is that true?? I really want to start walking on the treadmill but I don’t want to do if it will be bad for my pelvic floor

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Cat

      I don’t think it can be said that walking on a treadmill is bad for the pelvic floor – I recall reading a paper on the forces of regular walking compared with that of treadmill and the results surprised me in that the forces generated were similar. Having said this I believe it’s good to vary exercise and keep the treadmill flat if it is used for walking. At the end of the day it comes down to how much pressure a woman’s pelvic floor can withstand. Bike is a great alternative to help women achieve a cardiovascular and energy burning effect without the high impact associated with running.


  4. Veronica says:

    Hi Michelle….will try the bike idea but have been working on a rowing machine in our apartment block gym lately. What is your opinion of this equipment? I’ve had both bladder and rectal repair 5 years ago and finding it hard to keep the weight off. Always appreciate your advice. Veronica

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Veronica
      I think the bike used appropriately is a better option than the rower – I have some concerns (simply my own judgement and experience using the rower) that it may have some potential top compress the abdomen on the lean forward and strain on the push back. Yep that’s one of the challenges post op and I see the bike as a good option. Mix up your workouts too – far more effective than same thing day in day out for weight management.

  5. So nice to find you, Michelle!
    Thanks very much for sharing your wealth of knowledge about this critical area of women’s health. (Can’t help wondering why I had to DELVE and DISCOVER such information, when I was so careful about selecting my doctors and they never offered any such information, even the women docs!) I have developed some degree of cystocele prolapse, will begin PT for that very soon – yay! At any rate, my question here is about stationary bikes. We have a very good quality spinning bike, chosen because of its smaller footprint to fit in our house. Even with seat moved all the way forward and handlebars moved all the way back, however, it’s hard to arrange such that I can ride in a fully upright position. There’s a comfort seat on the bike, and I have bike shorts with a padded bottom. Will this form of exercise work for me, or should I trade it in for a more conventional design? Thanks.

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says:

      Hi Ellen

      I prefer cycling upright simply because leaning forwards increases pressure on the lower back and I suspect the pelvic floor to some degree. I think spinning is a great form of exercise with prolapse problems and your body will quickly tell you if you if your pelvic floor is under too much load with pelvic floor symptoms. It’s great that you’re seeing a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist to help you manage this too, you’re well on track.

      All the best

  6. Hi Michelle, thank you so much for creating this website.

    I actually didn’t know anything about prolapse(any of it) until like a few days ago. I actually started having this weird feeling in my lower abdomen area, and had this feeling as if something was in my vagina, so I went to check with a mirror. There was this bulge in the area between my urethra and vagina opening which actually makes it difficult to see the opening at all. I had no idea what was wrong with me and I was worried, so I went to check online and realized that it could be a cystocele. I also read that mostly women who have given birth or about to have menopause would get it, but I’m only 19 going 20, so I hoped it wasn’t that. So I went to see a doctor about it, she said that she doesn’t see any bulge, but rather my urethra was hanging a bit too low so she told me to do pelvic floor muscles exercises, holding it for 10secs and releasing it, and do it a 100 times. She told me that I wouldn’t see results immediately, probably only after a month. But I went home and did more research, and realized that obesity could be a cause of prolapse. And I have been gaining a lot of fats at my stomach and thighs area due to my line of work, like really a lot such that if I didn’t suck my tummy in, I look like a 3 months pregnant woman. And I have been having a bit of problems with defecating as well, because I’m worried of pushing those muscles and might worsen the prolapse or something.

    So I was wondering if there are any exercises I can do that would not worsen my “prolapse” but still reduce the fats at my abdomen? Like as fast as it possibly can because I also read that a “Urethrocele”, “Cystocele” and a “rectocele” might all happen together. And I’m really worried. At my age. T.T

    Sorry if this is the wrong place to post this, because I wasn’t sure where else to post it. :’D

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says:

      Hi Zacra

      Thanks for your comment. Yes you’re correct the more abdominal fat you have the greater the load on your pelvic floor and your prolapse. This is because abdominal fat sits directly above the pelvis and increases the pressure on your pelvic floor. Pelvic floor exercises are really good place to start along with managing your weight to decrease the load on your pelvic floor. Ideally pelvic floor exercises are performed 3 times today, doing 8 to 12 repetitions every time for a total of 24 to 36 exercises. There is no benefit in doing any more pelvic floor exercises than this on a daily basis.

      Yes there are exercises that can help women manage their body weight safely and avoid overloading the pelvic floor. This includes stationary bike that’s described in this video above. You might like to read about some more pelvic floor safe fitness exercises in this article too.

      I hope this information helps you get started Zacra,

      All the best

  7. Thank you for this site. I am informing my doctor of the link to pass on to other women. It has been my guiding light in my recovery following hysterectomy and posterior and anterior repair. Recovery can be such a daunting, alone experience but practical, positive information changes that. I can’t help but love the Australian context too.