The Hypopressive Exercise: The Hypo What?
The Hypopressive exercise, also known as Hypopressive Abdominal Gymnastics, is a relatively recent technique used to help in exercising the pelvic floor and toning the abdomen.
The reason Hypopressives are called Abdominal Hypopressive Gymnastics is due to the fact that the workout can be considered a sport in itself. (And it’s quick too! No more working out at the gym for 2 or more hours at a time… if you don’t want to that is.)
THE HYPOPRESSIVE EXERCISE: WHAT IS IT AND WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING IT?
When you perform a Hypopressive exercise, you are very intensely activating a substantial part of the postural muscles. While the apnea, holding your breath for a few seconds, actually helps to boost your metabolism and burns calories.
Used alongside Kegels such as through our Bwom app, Hypopressives can help in creating well-rounded pelvic floor exercise plans that fully encompass exercising the entire pelvic floor area.
As noted in the previous posts I’m All About That Kegel and Myth Busting: Ben Wa Balls and the Pelvic Floor, Kegel pelvic floor exercises, (the more popular form of pelvic floor workouts) need to be utilized alongside an alternative form of exercise such as Hypopressive Exercises.
FIRST OF ALL, WHAT EXACTLY ARE THESE MAGICAL DIY PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES?
Hypopressive Exercises are a type of workout technique meant for activating the involuntary fibers within your pelvic floor. They also work the abdominal muscles that function as your body’s self-girdle and bra (abdominal oblique and transverse).
It is a breathing exercise where you contract the abdominal muscles after fully exhaling. You combine this with a couple of specific positions that will help you contract the muscles for the best results. After fully exhaling, you would then lift your organs up into your ribcage without breathing in and then hold the position for a few seconds before relaxing. You would then breathe back in. 😉
WHERE DID THE HYPOPRESSIVE EXERCISE COME FROM?
In the late 70’s, Dr. Marcel Caufriez realized that ‘traditional’ abdominal exercises were damaging women’s pelvic floors. They can accentuate problems of urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapses, and abdominal distension.
Caufriz decided to look for an alternative for the abdominal exercises that would be less aggressive for women’s intimate organs. So instead of using ‘normal’ crunches, he discovered then developed a new technique that he called the Marcel Caufriez Hypopressive Method. (It’s quite a common doctor practice of naming things after oneself…) He then used this method for different applications in health, prevention, and sports.
THE BENEFITS OF HYPOPRESSIVE EXERCISES
Bwom has personalized training plans that offer quite a few well-rounded exercises. We include both Kegel and Hypopressive exercises. These Hypopressive exercises can give you various benefits without spending all of your free time at the gym.
Hypopressive abdominal workouts have a lot of benefits for your health including:
- Decreasing back pain: These abdominal exercises improve back posture thus helping to prevent back pain.
- Reducing the waistline: Hypopressives reduce the diameter of the waist and strengthen the abdomen without damaging the pelvic floor.
- Preventing disc and abdominal hernia: It improves the tone of the pelvic area without straining the neck and lumbar, which often happens using the traditional abdominal exercises.
- Improving sexual function (performance, sensitivity and pleasure): Gaining muscle tone in the pelvic floor improves the sensations of sex and orgasms will become more powerful. 😀
- Treating and preventing urinary incontinence: These exercises strengthen the pelvic floor to prevent leakage and strengthen the abdominals to help relieve the pressure on the area.
- Treats and prevents Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Strong abdominals help to support the pelvic organs and thus release tension in the ligaments that support them. You can also help to fix pelvic organ prolapse due to the ‘vacuum effect’. Hypopressives create a negative pressure in the pelvic cavity which helps the organs rise and return to their normal position.
- Helps women both pre and post childbirth: It helps with Urinary incontinence and Pelvic Organ Prolapse, which are common problems associated with pre and post pregnancy.
- Improving respiratory function: Increases breathing capacity
- Improving posture and balance: The exercises activate your postural muscles, which help with posture and balance.
- Enhancing athletic performance: As a breathing exercise it improves cardiorespiratory fitness.
Do you like the benefits?
Would you Like to Try One?
The next part is to try out a Hypopressive exercise as seen below.
The beauty of this type of exercise is that it doesn’t require a place or specific materials to do. So you can do them easily anywhere and with little time spent getting prepared (a.k.a. going to the gym).
- Sit with your back straight, but relaxed.
- First breath in while opening up your ribs, then exhale releasing all of your air.
- When there is no air left inside, don’t breath in. You need to block the breathing so that no air may enter or exit. If it is one of your first times you can do this at first by pinching your nose with a hand and closing your mouth.
- Now, open the ribs again pretending to catch a breath. Don’t actually breath in. You will feel your organs lift into your ribs. Now hold this position for four seconds… 1 … 2 … 3 … 4. Then breathe in and rest.
Special trick to help: prevent your shoulders and chin from rising up when performing the exercise. You need to relax.
Congratulations, you just made your first Hypopressive breath!
Now that you know all the benefits of Hypopressive exercises and have performed one, we encourage you to download Bwom to train with different Hypopressive postures.
In Bwom we offer an assessment test and tailored pelvic floor plans. Take the test and tell us what you think of the experience! You can download our app through iOS or Android devices. You’ll receive your personal assessment and be able to access Kegel exercises and many other techniques for strengthening your pelvic floor.
You can also see more information about Bwom by checking out the rest of our website here.
Original technical information from Olatz Zeberio, Physiotherapist in Urogynecology and Obstetrics & Bwom Product Manager.