There are no exercises inherently off limits for someone diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse.
However, just because lifting heavy isn’t off limits doesn’t mean that’s where you should start. It’s important to progressively build pelvic floor strength and endurance as you look to your overall fitness goals.
Pelvic floor safe squat progressions
A true progression in exercise will not only make increases in weight, but will also progress the TYPE of exercises. This is important when it comes to squats and the pelvic floor.
Your pelvic floor was made to move, but too much load or pressure too soon can have you bearing down into your pelvic floor and increasing your risk of pelvic floor disorders like prolapse, incontinence, or pain.
The following is an example of how I progress clients with squats in FIT Core Restore, helping them to build strength without excess strain on their pelvic floor.
With each of these exercises, you’re focusing on properly bracing your core and not bearing down, breathing strategies to help you reduce pressure, and supporting your pelvic floor with a kegel only as needed.
1. Kneeling squats
With the kneeling squats, you’re building glute strength without having to fight gravity. That means you have less strain and extra support for your pelvic floor.
2. Squat to a box
Squatting to a box is different than a box squat. With squatting to a box (or chair), you’re giving yourself a higher target to hit allowing you to feel safe as you continue to build glute strength both with and without weights.
3. Air squat
After you’ve built some strength and practiced your bracing, breathing, and pressure management techniques, it’s time to put those to the test with an air squat. The air squat allows you to go into a deeper squat while working on your form and ensuring that you’re not bearing down into your pelvic floor.
4. Goblet squat
You’ve put in the work to build initial strength, work on your brace, and perfect your form. Now it’s time to add load. You can jump into a barbell here if you want, but I prefer to have clients do a goblet squat with a kettlebell to ensure we’re not adding too much too soon.
5. Front squat
It’s time for the barbell! The front squat is a great next step in the progression because of the position in which it places your pelvis. With the front squat, your torso is going to be more upright, stacking your ribcage over your pelvis, which is typically less symptomatic for people.
6. Back squat
The back squat is typically going to be a bit more challenging on the pelvic floor since your torso leans more forward here than in a front squat. You’ll want to ensure that you have good breathing mechanics and proper bracing form so you’re not collapsing at the top of your core and sending pressure down into your pelvic floor.
From there, you’ll do the progression again with more load, more reps, and slower tempo. Rinse and repeat.
If you’re wanting to get back to lifting and build your glutes without having to worry about your pelvic floor, FIT Core Restore is for you. Get the mobility, core and pelvic floor progressions, and strength programming you need to help you transform your core and pelvic floor and get back to the life you love.
If you want to take a deep dive on more core and pelvic floor topics, join my weekly Q&A email list. It may or may not also be the only place to snag a discount on programs. So run, don’t walk, to join.