How to Exercise and Prevent a Hernia

How to Exercise and Prevent a Hernia

Most hernias result from straining, often when heavy lifting, coughing, or when suffering from constipation. Increasing the pressure on the stomach muscles may encourage the intestine to protrude through any weaknesses, resulting in a hernia. Groin and abdominal hernias are the most common in individuals involved in extensive manual activity or labor. However, there are exercises that can help build muscles to prevent and treat hernias.

Prevent a Hernia

Warming up properly before any athletic activity, strengthening abdominal muscles, resting after vigorous exercise, and eating a high fiber diet to avoid constipation are all extra precautions one can take to reduce the chances of developing a hernia. Adding stretching and increasing flexibility in workouts can also assist with treating hernias. Other aerobic exercises that are gentle on your abdominal muscles such as swimming, walking, and bicycling on a recumbent exercise bike are recommended for 30 minutes every other day at a moderate pace.

Since hernias occur when the soft tissue pokes out between muscles, exercises focused on strengthening the abdominal muscles help keep the abdominal contents in place. However, it is important to monitor all exercises as too much intra-abdominal pressure for ab strengthening can make a hernia worse (Hernia Abdominal Exercises, 2015).

Shoulder Bridge: Lay in a neutral position on your back with your legs bent at a 90 degree angle and feet flat on the floor. Place a pillow between the knees and breathe in as you lift your pubic bone off the floor, using your abdominal muscles. Exhale as you slowly return the tailbone down to the floor. Aim to form a straight line from your shoulders to knees.

Leg Lifts: Start with your knees bent in a neutral position on your back. Lift one leg, keeping your back flat on the floor. Breathe in while you lift your leg. As you breathe out, lower the leg as if dipping your toe in water. (Do not arch your back). Repeat five times then proceed to do the same with the other leg. Movements should be slow and controlled.

Mini Crunch: Lay in a neutral position with knees bent. Exhale as you lift your head and the edge of your shoulders off the floor, then return to the neutral position.

Hip Rolls: Start in a neutral position on your back with feet and knees apart. Spreading your arms out to the side, stabilize your shoulders. Breathe in, and as you breathe out engage your abdominal muscles while you lower your knees sideways to the right, then back to neutral. Repeat, but lower knees to the left. (Posture and exercises, n.d.)

The important thing to keep in mind when exercising to treat hernias is to avoid any deep pressure in the abdominal or groin area.

Need a Hernia Specialist?

Doctor Alexander is a professional, confident physician who will make himself your partner on this journey to a better, healthier you. He is compassionate, kind, caring and will take time to talk to you about your condition in order to find the best possible treatment. His bedside manner is like no other.


Hernia Abdominal Exercises. (2015). Retrieved April 14, 2016, from

Posture and exercises. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2016, from

Award Winning

pasadena hernia specialist doctor magdi alexander md

Get Scheduled

Surgeons You Can Trust!

(818) 659-7444

** New Patients Welcome!


  • Glendale

  • Los Angeles

  • Pasadena

  • Tarzana

Insurances We Accept

We Accept All PPO, Medicare, Worker’s Comp, and Personal Injury.