Is it possible to do HIT workouts when you have pelvic organ prolapse (POP)?

(HIIT = high intensity interval training)

(POP = pelvic organ prolapse. If you need a refresher on what POP is, start here)

I believe it can be done safely, without worsening your prolapse symptoms. You may have to think differently about what HIIT is.

NOTE: I write this with the assumption that you are doing proper core and pelvic floor exercise, you know how to manage your symptoms, you’ve worked with a pelvic floor physical therapist.

You DEFINITELY need to keep these factors in mind:

• You have to be very aware of your exercise selection. Burpees, jumping jacks, and hanging leg raises are not going to be effective.

• You may not get that “ahhh-my-lungs-are-burning” sensation that you would get with sets of treadmill sprints. That does not mean you are not doing high intensity interval training.

• You have to understand that beating your body into the ground during a workout isn’t the best option for MOST bodies, and so, with pelvic organ prolapse it can be especially not-great.

All that being said, just because the intensity may not be off the charts insanity, does not mean it won’t be tough and challenging.

HIIT is Interval Cardio Exercise

Cardio exercise gets your heart rate up. Interval training takes your heart rate up for a specific amount of time or reps, and then you rest to bring your heart rate down.

But, this doesn’t mean that you can only do HIIT by running, biking, doing squat jumps, etc.

In fact, it may be more effective, especially in the case of POP, to use strength training type exercises to do HIIT workouts.

This is because you can vary your body position to take pressure off the pelvic floor, which is not the case if you’re doing 20 straight minutes of intervals bouncing along on the elliptical.

Here is a HIIT workout you can do with pelvic organ prolapse: 

*As always, seek the advice of your pelvic floor physical therapist, doctor, OB, health professional – whoever knows your POP situation best – before participating.

Circuit 1: Perform 3-5 sets

(as little rest between exercises as possible + rest 90sec – 2 mins between sets)

1A). 30 seconds Bodyweight Squats (seen below)

1B). 30 seconds Seated 1-Arm Row (right side)

1C). 30 seconds Hip Thrusts (seen below)

1D). 30 seconds 1-Arm Row (left side)

Circuit 2: Perform 3-5 sets

(as little rest between exercises as possible + rest 90sec – 2 mins between sets)

2A). 15 reps Reverse Hypers (each side, seen below)

2B). 15 reps Feet Elevated Glute Bridges

2C). 15 reps Floor Chest Press (seen below)

2D). 10 reps Supine Pallof Press (each side)

You can use these circuits combined in the same workout, or use them for separate workouts.

Essential Extras 

In EVERY exercise, in each rep, be sure to focus on your breathing. You will want to feel your Core + Floor Connection.

Remember, if you’re feeling heaviness or pressure to stop and rest. You can elevate your hips, do a few Hypopressives (contact me to learn this technique), or an inversion.

Have fun!


Ps. Interested in more body-safe workouts? Try this free 4-week, full body strength training program that is effective for prolapse, here.

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