Plank Variations for Your Core With Prolapse Problems or After Hysterectomy

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Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway from shows you plank variations that reduce pressure on your pelvic floor compared with traditional plank. These 3 plank variations are suited to women seeking alternatives to traditional plank exercises – particularly women with prolapse problems, after a hysterectomy or prolapse surgery or with lower back pain.

Plank Benefits
The Plank is an exercise designed to strengthen the muscles surrounding the core (trunk). Plank exercises can strengthen and tone the abdominal and spinal muscles.

Varying the plank by weight bearing through the knees rather than the feet reduces the intensity of this exercise, decreasing the pressure on the pelvic floor. This method also reduces the risk of lower back strain.

Plank Variations Demonstrated

1. Kneeling Plank With Toes Touching the Ground

Starting Out
• Lying down on your tummy
• Raise your upper body by sliding your forearms under your body and your elbows beneath your shoulders

• Activate your deep abdominal muscles (beneath your briefs)
• Raise your trunk off the ground by pushing down through your forearms, bearing your weight through your knees and forearms
• Keep breathing normally throughout the exercise
• Try to keep your trunk straight and avoid slumping through your hips and lower back
• Keep your trunk raised for a few breaths
• Maintain this raised position for a few seconds
• Lower your body back to the ground
• Rest before your next repetition

2. Kneeling Plank With Toes Raised off the Ground

Starting Out
• Adopt the position outlined in variation 1

• Perform the action demonstrated in variation 1
• Raise your feet and trunk off the ground weight bearing through your knees and forearms
• Avoid sagging through your hips and trunk
• Avoid holding your breath
• Lower your body back to the ground
• Rest before your next repetition

3. Kneeling Plank With Legs Lifting and Lowering

This is a progression exercise from variations 1 and 2.

Starting Out
• Adopt the same position demonstrated in plank variations 1 and 2

• Raise your trunk off the ground activating your deep abdominal muscles as shown in variations 1 and 2
• Lift and lower your feet to touch the ground while your trunk is raised
• Keep breathing normally
• Lower your trunk to return back to starting position
• Rest until fully recovered before repeating

Tips for Safe Plank Variations

• Gradually progress how long you hold the plank
• Try to breathe normally throughout the plank and avoid breath holding
• Keep your spine straight and avoid sagging through your hips and trunk to reduce the risk of lower back strain
• Keep your abdominal muscles contracted gently throughout
• Look down rather than forwards during the plank to reduce the risk of neck strain
• Cease planking if you notice prolapse symptoms during or after your exercises

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