I discovered Hypopressives few months after I’ve found out about my prolapse. This method is very popular in Spain and it’s supposed to help with prolapse. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anyone in Australia who is using this method and could teach me. I bought a short course online but I was never sure if I’m doing it correctly and after few months I just stopped practicing. So I got really excited when couple month ago I was approached by Paula, who is an exclusive representative of Low Pressure Fitness in Australia. I’m back practicing Hypopressives and I’m hoping that next year I will be offering this service to my clients. If you would like to learn more about this technique, please read Paula’s blog below.
A Smarter Way To Train Your Core
About 10 years ago, I was a professional pole vaulter, my body was a perfect machine, I could spring myself over 4 meter with a pole, lift 200 kg on a squat and run 100m in less than 13 seconds. Despite being stronger than the average women and even than many men, my pelvic floor strength didn’t match with the rest of my muscles … every time had in my training program box jumps, that day I would pack in my bag an extra pair of tights and undies… to get changed after experiencing urinary leakage on every jump… I was 20 years old by then, and obviously, never gave birth. I used to see my mum squeezing her legs every time she sneezed and telling me otherwise she would piss herself… I thought this was an old woman thing … and I was having the same problem! What was I missing???
After 5 years studying Sports Science and 3 years a Masters degree apart from Pilates certifications and other fitness courses, all what I could learn about the pelvic floor muscles was that is a group of muscles acting as a hammock in the pelvic area that support the internal pelvic organs and regulate the actions of urinating and defecating…
It was only when I dipped into the hypopressive world when I started to find out the answers to many of the questions about core strength and core training I was asking myself.
The hypopressive technique, although unknown in Australia, has been practised in some countries in Europe since the early 80’s. The doctor Marcel Caufriez designed this method in order to help women overcome pelvic floor dysfunctions specially after giving birth.
When talking about the core training we need to understand a few aspects the not often are explained to the clients, just because, fitness instructors never have been instructed properly in the area:
• The core isn’t just the so called “six pack”, it involves may other muscles. All the abdominal wall muscles, the pelvic floor muscles, back muscles and the diaphragm are part of the core! And they need to be exercised in order to develop its true function.
• The true core function isn’t to perform a 100 sit ups in less than a minute…. The true core function is TO PROVIDE SUPPORT TO THE INTERNAL ORGANS, STABILITY TO THE ENTIRE BODY AND ASSIST YOUR BREATHING PATTERNS.
• Core STRENGTH and core TONE are two different concepts and two different capacities of the muscle, and they need to be trained differently. To explain it easily, core strength is your capacity to do 100 sit ups in one minute, if you wanted to do it as well with a 5kg disc on your chest, you need more strength to be able to do it. Strength is a voluntary capacity of the muscle. The heavier is the weight, the more strength I need to perform that action.
Core tone, on the other side, is the tension of my core muscles when they are at rest. For example, how flat my belly remains when my abdominals are relaxed. Think about it, do you need to suck your abs in when walking on a bikini to pretend your stomach is flat???? Many of us do … our core tone is missing then. So tone is an involuntary capacity, and it can’t be trained with voluntary actions (sit ups, planks…)
Hypopressive techniques , commercially known as Low Pressure Fitness, are designed to train that INVOLUNTARY function of your core, because it stimulates the muscle fibres responsible of the tone
• Another important aspect of core training is the concept of INTRA-ABDMINAML PRESSURE. Imagine that in your abdominal and pelvic cavity you have a balloon. Every time you cough, run, jump or lift a weight (your baby), your abdominal wall is squeezing on that balloon. When all your core muscles aren’t trained properly for those actions, the pressure will push through the weakest points of your body, normally in women is the pelvic floor, because is soft tissue and there exist 3 orifices. Practice this at home: cough and feel your abdominals and your pelvic floor. If they are both pushing out, then our core isn’t competent, is unable to manage that internal pressure.
It has been demonstrated that conventional core training provokes an increase of intra-abdominal pressure, and can be detrimental for pelvic floor integrity when there’s a dysfunction such as urinary incontinence or prolapse.
Women with pelvic floor dysfunction are often told to stop doing any core training and high impact activities, leaving them without any other alternative to keep themselves active and fit. Affecting their quality of life and self-stem.
Low Pressure Fitness offers an alternative to the conventional core training. While doing an abdominal crunch, the intra-abdominal pressure can increase up to 30mmHg. However, when performing a hypopressive exercise, the intra-abdominal pressure decreases to -50 mmHg. Not only that, the suction effect of the diaphragm during a hypopressive exercise, helps also to reduce prolapse and diastasis recti.
Is all about your goals. Some people get really happy when I tell them that they don’t need to do planks and sit-ups anymore to get their core back in shape. Others, however, get excited by the fact that practising Low Pressure Fitness exercises regularly will allow them to perform planks, run or and lift weights with less risk of urinary leakage or worsening the prolapse.
Whatever your goals are, Low Pressure Fitness is an excellent tool that can be included in any training program in order to prevent or treat injuries and dysfunctions related to a bad core muscles synergy and function.
Paula Campanero is the Founder of Core Tone Fitness and the exclusive representative of Low Pressure Fitness in Australia.