Physio Safe Upper Body Workout for Pelvic Prolapse and After Surgery

Are you looking for a safe upper body workout?

Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway guides you through a quick routine of upper body exercises that strengthen and tone while avoiding prolapse symptoms and pelvic floor overload.

This quick exercise video routine helps you strengthen your arms, shoulders and upper back (postural) muscles.

Suitability: Women with prolapse or after prolapse surgery with medical approval to return to general exercise.

Video duration: 6 minutes

Read on below to find out how many upper body exercises to do, pelvic floor safe tips and how to safely progress your strengthening.

How Many Upper Body Exercises to do for Strengthening?

When starting out focus on using the correct technique performing just a few repetitions at a time. Using the correct technique helps you minimize your risk of injury, especially when you start to increase the size of your weights.

  • Aim to perform  8-12 repetitions (1 set) of each exercise in a row
  • Repeat 3 sets of exercises resting briefly until recovered between each set of exercise
  • Perform upper body exercises on alternate days of the week for a total of 2-3 weekly sessions

Always stop any exercise that causes physical discomfort during or after exercise.

Tips for Pelvic Floor Safe Upper Body Exercises

The following tips will help you keep these exercises safe and minimize the risk of overloading your pelvic floor. In the unlikely event that you notice any prolapse symptoms during or after exercise cease that exercise.

Seated Bicep Curls

Strengthen and tone the front of the upper arms.

  • Attend to good posture throughout
  • Sit rather than stand (e.g. fit ball, chair or bench)
  • Lift one weight at a time
  • Breathe out as you lift the weight

Low Dumbbell Row

Strengthen and tone the upper/middle back and back of the upper arms.

  • Keep the size of the weight manageable never strain with lifting
  • Breathe our as you raise the dumbbell

Lying Tricep Dumbbell Extensions

Strengthen and tone the back of the upper arms.

  • Perform lying down on a bench or exercise mat
  • Breathe out as you raise the dumbbell
  • Keep the size of the dumbbell weight manageable

Lat Dumbbell Pull Over

Strengthen and tone the sides of the upper back and the chest muscles.

  • Breathe out as you raise the dumbbell
  • Keep the size of the dumbbell weight manageable
  • Perform this exercise lying down

Prone Push Back

Strengthen and tone the middle back muscles used for upright posture and the back of the upper arms.

  • Keep your head and feet both positioned down in contact with the mat throughout

How to Progress Strength Exercises With Prolapse Problems?

Progressing the size of your weights is key to stimulating your muscles for continued strengthening. If you don’t progress your strength exercises, your strength won’t improve 1.

Women with prolapse problems and after prolapse surgery need to be careful how much weight they lift and avoid progressing the size of the weight too quickly to minimize their risk of pelvic floor injury. Heavy lifting is a risk factor for prolapse, especially repeated heavy lifting. Some research has shown that women involved in heavy lifting professions (nursing) are more likely to require pelvic prolapse surgery than women generally 2.

Lift that size dumbbell that you feel your muscles working light to moderately hard and always avoid straining. If you feel that you’re at your limit with the size of the weight you’re lifting other ways to progress strengthening listed below.

Ways to progress strengthening:

  • Progress the size weights that you use gradually over time
  • Perform more repetitions 
  • Increase the speed of the exercise
  • Decrease the rest time you take between upper body exercises
  • Increase the total amount of exercise you perform for example by doing more sets of exercises 1

Further Viewing

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

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

Prolapse Exercises Book and DVD Saver Pack

The Saver Pack is for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery seeking to exercise safely, reduce the risk of prolapse worsening and improve prolapse support.

Saver Pack Download


Prolapse Exercises Book and DVD show 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. American College of Sports Medicine (2009) American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc.Mar;41(3):687-708.

2. Jørgensen S, Hein H, Gyntelberg F. (1994)Heavy lifting at work and risk of genital prolapse and herniated lumbar disc in assistant nurses. Occup Med (Lond). 1994 Feb;44(1):47-9.

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