What are hypopressive exercises?
Hypopressive exercises they are, in reality, a program of physical exercises developed by Belgian physiotherapist Marcel Caufriez.
During his stay in the department of uro-gynecology, Marcel designed a set of sequences of physical exercises that had a very clear objective: to help patients who suffered the consequences of an abdominal postoperative period. This also includes women who have given birth and are in the postpartum phase.
In recent years, they have gained adherents and the concept of hypopressive abdominal gymnastics will sound to you. These exercises They are designed to recover from abdominal dysfunctions and pelvic floor.
Executing a good hypopressive technique is not easy. Therefore, regular, constant and intelligent training is needed. If you opt for this practice, you will soon see an evolution and understand how the respiratory muscles interact with the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.
Aesthetic benefits of hypopressives
You may have heard something about its ‘aesthetic or slimming effect’. And yes, it has its true point. By working frequently the abdominal girth, the centimeters of the waist can be reduced and the abdomen improves your tone at the muscular level.
It's funny because this effect was never the goal of the technique. It is simply a positive effect derived from habitual practice.
I do classic abs. What difference there are?
Most abdominal strength exercises only work on the activation of the most superficial muscles. In addition, they do not apply any respiratory technique. In hypopressives, breathing represents the central axis. All the technique, without exception, revolves around this concept.
Hypopressive gymnastics is based on using diaphragmatic breathing in order to activate the pelvic floor muscles. This work puts the deep abdominal muscles to work, mainly the transverse muscle, reducing tension in the abdominal area. In turn, the pressure at the lumbar level also decreases. All in one!
Do you suffer or have you had a lumbar hernia? These exercises are also recommended for you, as long as you are not in the acute phase of pain. As always, and as a precaution, This practice must be prescribed and supervised by a qualified professional.
How are hypopressive exercises performed?
Starting from the breath, it is necessary to inhale (take air) through the nose and exhale (release air) through the mouth. The breaths must be deep and the air must be kept for a minimum time; At least for 7-10 seconds.
At the time of exhalation, the abdominal muscles must be activated. How do we do it? Bringing the navel towards the column. When the exhalation is complete and we have no air inside, we must keep the apnea for a few seconds and perform an abdominal vacuum or breathe with the diaphragm.
It is a very different breath from the one we were used to perform but, with a little patience and perseverance, we can master this technique that will bring us great benefits. Several sessions are usually necessary to control breathing, but it will be worth it, don't give up!
The next step will be to apply the correct posture. The original program contains a specific sequence. To advance in the treatment, this sequence is followed, which gradually increases in difficulty. This takes time and practice, but in a few weeks you can breathe, contract your internal organs in specific positions and enjoy its benefits.
Although this technique was developed in a clinical setting, its wide benefits and its application with hardly any restrictions, have turned it into an ideal low impact training for people with disparate goals. Thus, there are those who find applications in sports performance, postural correction or injury recovery.
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Main benefits of hypopressives
The benefits of hypopressive exercises are numerous and it is recommended to do them as part of your daily activity. Unlike most abdominal strength exercises, through diaphragmatic breathing, physical tension in the abdominal area is reduced and pressure in the pelvic floor and lower back is reduced.
What benefits does your practice bring us? Remember the chances of suffering lumbar disc herniations, prevents pelvic organ prolapse and can even treat already prolapsed organs. It also helps correct posture by improving body awareness.
These exercises are essential to prevent and treat urinary incontinence. By improving body control and toning the pelvic floor, they also improve sexual function. In women, they strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, helping in motherhood and childbirth.
Read also: 4 exercises to improve the pelvic floor
Contraindications of hypopressive gymnastics
As a general recommendation, hypopressive exercises should not be performed before bedtime or after eating, as they can interfere with sleep and digestion. Not recommended for people with high blood pressure, or for pregnant women or in the first weeks of postpartum.
Although the general public can practice these exercises and are suitable for all ages, you should take precautions. If you need to recover from some type of intervention or have doubts of any kind, Go first to the consultation of a qualified professional. In the long run you will thank me!