January 19, 2021 In Medical Tips By Florida Center for Urogynecology

How to Exercise Safely With Your Pelvic Floor


How to exercise safely with your pelvic floor

When planning to exercise whether outside or in a gym there are key things to remember to keep your pelvic floor safe.  Breathing throughout the exercise is important, whether doing cardio or resistance exercises.  When you hold your breath it increases the downward pressure on your pelvic floor and that can weaken the muscles.  Engage your pelvic floor and core muscles before and during resistance exercises, when lifting, lowering, pushing or pulling.  Maintain good posture/body mechanics throughout exercising and regardless of what position you are in.  

Avoid lifting too heavy, it can cause you to strain and/or hold your breath and can cause damage.  Progress gradually through the exercises and watch for correct form to reduce risk of injury.  Take breaks when fatigued or injured to prevent further injury or damage to your pelvic floor muscles.  Listen to your body when exercising.  If symptoms worsen with a specific exercise, modify it or stop and perform a different exercise for that body part/area.  

Pelvic Floor Safe Exercise Examples: 

Cardio Resistance  Core 
Walking Seated exercises on chair Single leg extension
Swimming Dumbbell tricep extension Modified plank on hands or knees 
Seated cycling Seated exercises on swiss ball Wall push-ups
Cross trainer  Shallow/narrow leg squats  Ball bridges 
Water aerobics Prone leg curl Arm and leg lifts on all fours
Low impact exercise classes Shallow forward lunges Leg lift sitting on the ball
Dumbbell row Standing balance work on the bosu of balance disc 
Pec deck
Supine bench press
Wall push-ups
Floor bridge 


Examples of Exercises to use caution (depending on condition): 

*Please note patients considering these exercises with pelvic floor diagnoses should consult with one of our pelvic floor therapists before beginning these types of exercises

Cardio Resistance Core
Running Jump squats Sit-ups, curl ups, crunches 
Jumping Lifting/pressing heavy weights V-sits
Boxing Deep lunges/squats Hundreds
High impact classes  Dead lifts Double leg lowers
Tennis  High Bench step-up/down Plank position on hands and feet (hovers, full push-ups)
Basketball Chin ups/tricep dips
Any exercise where there is direct downward pressure on the pelvic floor