Exercises to AVOID When Clients Have a Prolapse

Uterine ProlapseToday, I’m listing 4 popular exercises that are best avoided for any client suffering with Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP).

I’ve broken some of the moves down, with details on WHY they’re best avoided.

As fitness instructors, personal trainers and Pilates instructors, we have a Duty of Care really, to ensure that the types of exercises we prescribe to our clients in a group setting, doesn’t make someone’s pelvic floor dysfunction worse.

More education is needed in relation to POP (Pelvic Organ Prolapse) and although you may not feel particularly comfortable broaching the subject with your group publicly, a little bit of information can go a very long way.

Write a newsletter listing 5 FAQs about the pelvic floor for your class participants – even if your client group isn’t pre/postnatal.

I’m pretty sure it will resonate with someone, ok?

Righto, so let’s analyse some popular exercises (no pun intended there, I assure you) and why they’re unsafe for pelvic organ prolapse patients:


12_woman doing sit upSIT UPS

Obviously NOT the best exercise to do to ‘tone’ the abdominals full stop – we all know that, but it’s one to definitely avoid when you have a prolapsed pelvic organ. Sit ups put a tremendous amount of pressure down on the pelvic floor and I’ve had many a client over the years ask me: “So, when I do a sit up and my pelvic floor kind of pushes out, is that good?”. Umm…seriously, no it isn’t! Watch your clients’ technique for pooching or doming of the abdominals. This means they’ve lost control of their core, and the six-pack muscle is taking over.



Most people perform The Plank less than perfectly. I challenge you to do The Plank for a minute without engaging your Rectus Abdominus for at least some of the time. Have a peak down through the neck/front of your T-shirt at your ab. Do you see what I mean? Nice bread loaf you have going on there, huh? You’re putting a lot of downward and outward force on the pelvic floor and the abdominals here, so definitely an exercise to modify, if not remove from any clients’ program who’s been diagnosed with POP.



You’re potentially rolling your eyes are this one, because it’s so obvious, but – quite honestly, I’m highlighting my inherent dislike for this exercise in all settings. Please consider your participants who you may not be able to fully health screen in your mainstream classes like aerobics, Zumba and Bootcamps before choreographing this into your routine/lesson plan. YOU may be able to do a jumping jack, but anyone, male or female with pelvic floor problem, and especially POP, will simply not (and it’s not safe for them to do so). In fact, can I suggest you take Jumping Jacks out of your sessions entirely and just give people a march on the spot or something, instead? Pelvic floor muscles all over the world are now reacting with a sigh of relief.



If YOU personally can execute this exercise effectively without pooing yourself, then a round of a applause to you! Joking. It’s a toughy though, isn’t it? But, how well do you think someone’s pelvic organs are fairing up when THEY do this movement? Not to well, I expect. The goal for Double Leg Lifts is to challenge the Transverse Abdominus and maintain a neutral pelvis, not to apply tremendous pressure so the Rectus Abodminus ‘domes’ or ‘pooches’ out, which is what most people do. It’s an advanced movement when performed accurately and a downright dangerous one, when done incorrectly.



And, there you have it.

My Top 4 Exercises To Avoid For Anyone Suffering With Pelvic Organ Prolapse.


If you’ve found this article interesting, or would like me to list more exercises that in my opinion should be avoided, I’m happy to do so. All you need to do is put a comment below.

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Images courtesy of Sherrie Palm, author of Pelvic Organ Prolapse – The Silent Epidemic




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  • By Sara 14 Sep 2014

    I’m wondering about indoor/outdoor cycling, as well as squats.
    Thx! Very helpful!

    • By clairemockridge 14 Sep 2014

      Hi there Sara. Thanks for your question. I think cycling would be fine – it’s a very individual condition, so comfort comes first on this one. Re: squats – I’d tend to advise clients to not go too deep into a squat, instead, I place a yoga block/small inflated ball inbetween the knees and get them to engage their inner thighs when they squat to activate the inner thighs, and not to focus on getting their knees over their ankles, not their toes. Does that help?

  • By Gill 14 Sep 2014

    What are your thoughts on using the power plate if you have apops for general exercises like squats. Superman, shoulder bridge?

    • By clairemockridge 15 Sep 2014

      Hi there Gill. Power Plate usage is very individual when a client has POP. She might be fine the day of the session, but as the day progresses, she may get some tenderness or that dragging of the ligaments feeling. Squats are fine (see my note on previous blog about modifications). Superman – fine. Shoulder bridge – excellent for POP symptoms, because it’s an anti-gravity exercise and great for strengthening the glutes, the pelvic floor and the core. Hope that helps 🙂

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