How to Strengthen Your Legs – Safe Strength Exercises for Women

Safe leg strength exercises for women video is designed for strengthening, firming and toning your thighs, and buttocks and avoiding pelvic floor injury.

This physiotherapist video teaches three thigh and buttock strength exercises for women, with exercises and modifications designed to protect your pelvic floor.

Video suitability: general

Duration: 7 mins

Leg Strength Exercises Video Suitability

These video is suited to women in general including women seeking pelvic floor safe exercises to strengthen  legs and buttocks. These leg strength exercises for women are also modified for women with pelvic floor problems including:

  • Pelvic prolapse;
  • Incontinence problems;
  • Previous prolapse surgery; and
  • Exercise after hysterectomy.

The lower limb exercises included also aim to minimise knee pain with leg strength exercises. The exercises demonstrated require very little equipment and can all be performed in the privacy of the home.

Leg Strength Exercises Demonstrated

  • Ball wall squats using dumbbell weights and fit ball – this exercise will strengthen and tone the thighs and buttocks. Demonstration includes modification for pelvic floor safe exercise and to minimise knee pain.
  • Ball wall lunges using dumbbell weights and fit ball – this exercise will strengthen and tone the thighs and buttocks, and promote core control.
  • Mini squats using dumbbell weights without a fit ball- mini squats provide women with a safer alternative to traditional deep wide leg squat exercises regularly performed in the gym setting. Mini squats provide more protection for the knees and pelvic floor, while strengthening the thighs and buttocks.


Inside Out Book & DVD

with Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
Michelle Kenway

Learn how to exercise and avoid exercises that overload the pelvic floor causing pelvic floor problems.

Inside Out book and DVD is a complete exercise solution for women seeking to exercise safely and protect their pelvic floor.



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We Welcome Your Comments


  1. Sheeja ac says

    Hi ma’am
    I am 39 years old and an oesteo arthritis patient and i have been doing seated leg extension with weight of 6 kg on one leg.but now i have prolapse..can i do the seated leg extention with this prolapse..?can you pls siggest knee friendly pelvic floor excercise?and also suggedt some knee strengthening excersices to be perform in this prolapse condition.i had complete hysterectemy one year back..pls rpl ma’am

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Yes seated leg extensions shouldn’t be a major problem for your prolapse, are you using a machine or free weights?

  2. Hello
    Could you tell me if the gym machine for inner and outer thighs is suitable exercise for someone with a bowel prolapse?

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Gail, I assume this is the lying down machine? In which case it shouldn’t be an issue for prolapse however it isn’t really a machine that makes much difference in terms of functional strengthening and it won’t change the appearance of your thighs if that’s the goal. Lunges would be far more effective in this case.

  3. I am 5 weeks after abdominal hysterectomy and started doing legs exercises. Could I do lunges without a fit ball( as I do not have one).? What I understood from this video, that my legs for doing lunges should be as close to each other as for squats, is it correct? And on this video the lunges look deeper than squats almost to the floor level, is it OK? I am so glad I found your , what would I do without it- I read it every day and always find something new!!

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Emma
      When you commence your leg exercises, start with shallow lunges (as well as shallow squats> You are correct in that squats should be kept narrow however to protect your knees keep your feet well apart in long stride (this is quite different to legs wide apart in squat position) and should not be a problem for the pelvic floor. In terms of when to start strength exercises – this really comes down to your specilist and when he/she gives you approval to recommence exercises.

      Best of luck

  4. i had a abdominal hysterectomy on november 9 2012 and was cut open twice because my bladder was nicked. i am still off work and home all the time. i am eating more than normal and its showing!!!! its getting me down! i hate my midsection, buttocks and the top of my legs!!! my doc said i can do ab exercises after Feb 9. is it safe to do leg and buttock exercises now and what r the best most effective ones to do ? i do try and walk everyday but weather permitting. i have been eating cashews and almonds because i heard about how good they r for u, but i think im going to stop eating them. im to go back to work on Feb 18 in the nursing field, and i don’t want to do any exercises that will hinder my return. can anyone help thank u quincey

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Quincey
      Unfortunately strength exercises wont help you lose weight – weight loss exercise needs to be cardiovascular exercise where you are working aerobically and using fat for energy. One of the common post op traps is to eat more during recovery and obviously because you are doing less, and can’t do alot of exercise during this time you gain weight. Yes agreed maybe slow down on the cashews, and ask your doctor if you are permitted to start some stationary cycling, which is a great way to burn fat and protect your pelvic organs.

      These hysterectomy weight loss guidelines and this article on overcoming hysterectomy weight gainshould also give you some more ideas too.
      Hope this helps you out a little and gives you some direction.


    I am eight weeks in my recovery for a rectocele and vaginal prolapse surgery.  I also have a grade 2 cystocele that was not operated on.  My doctor released me from surgery at 6 weeks and told me I could resume normal activity and exercise (including weight lifiting).  I have been walking every other day for about an hour and resumed some weightlifting with 5 pounds.  I have only done weights (including not very deep squats) and used resistance bands twice with situps done at the end of both sessions.  I found your book today and I am worried that I may have made my situation worse. I realized my cystocele felt heavier at the end of each session.  Do you think the amount of exercise I have done so far could have done irreparable damage? I am not doing anymore exercises until I read your book.


    Thank you! 


    • Safe exercise after prolapse surgery

      Hi Vicki

      We know that some specific exercises such as sit ups do cause a downward pressure on the pelvic floor and this has been demonstrated in quite a number of quality scientific studies. When repeated over time this type of pressure can have the effect of straining the pelvic floor through repeated downward stretch and strain.

      We also know that full healing takes approximately 3 months – this means full wound healing. The risk of repeat prolapse is already increased in women who have had prolapse surgery so this healing time (and beyond) are both very important times for women to exercise with caution and protect their pelvic floor. This is not to say that women need to be paranoid about each and every exercise, rather to be mindful of avoiding those exercises such as intense core exercises, heavy lifting, high impact exercises and inappropriate exercise class workouts.

      Symptoms such as heavier prolapse can be an indication that there has been more pressure on the pelvic floor but this does not necessarily mean that irreparable damage has been caused by any means. See your doctor for and examination if you are concerned.

      Meanwhile postoperatively particularly for the first 3 months, women are best advised to attend to progressive pelvic floor rehabilitation as advised by their physiotherapist along with a graduated return to appropriate pelvic floor safe exercises for the long-term.

      Hope this information helps you Vicki

  6. I am 8 weeks post op hysterectomy. I just received the OK to proceed with exercising…just no wide stance squats. I would like to know if I will one day be able to all sorts of cardio (running, jump rope, etc.)

    • Hi Josefa
      Re: Safe cardio exercise after hysterectomy
      Thanks for your question. There is evidence to suggest that after hysterectomy surgery a woman is at increased risk of pelvic prolapse. We also know that high impact exercises such as running and jumping increase the downward pressure on the pelvic floor. The question is, does your pelvic floor have the capacity to withstand increased pressure? One would think that a woman with good pelvic floor fitness (which means good pelvic floor strength and function) would be able to withstand the pressure associated with these types of exercises and this can really only be properly determined by a pelvic floor physiotherapist. If you are not sure, then I would suggest an appointment with such a physiotherapist in order to help determine your level of risk having had hysterectomy surgery.

  7. Hello – how do I strengthen my legs with bad knees? I can only do the squats slightly but, not the lunge. And how do I stretch my legs if I cannot open my legs due to prolapse ? Plus, I am generally stiff all over. Thank you.

    • Hi Gina

      Yes tricky to strengthen your legs and protect your pelvic floor, but very possible.

      Keep squats very small with your hips well above knee height. Keep feet close together and feet well out in front using a fitball or basketball against your spine see this exercise technique on our free video Straight leg raises performed lying down with an ankle weights are excellent for bthigh strength making sure the lifting leg isn’t lifted too high off the ground. You should be able to google these. Calf raises and bridging lying on your back are great leg exercises also protective for the pelvic floor. There are lenty more pelvic-floor-friendly leg strength exercises. Let us know how you go with these. Michelle

  8. Hi Michelle- I was wondering if there are any abdominal exercises/ equipment that are safe to do with vaginal prolapse? I am quite toned and fit, but after the birth of my two children I have a stubborn mummy-tummy I would love to get rid of. I do still have 5+ kilos to lose, but is there any way to tone my tummy without making my symptoms worse?
    Many thanks!