Traditional exercise, even otherwise good core exercises, have trouble bringing the post-natal, stretched abdominal wall inwards. A special form of breathing exercise called Hypopressives was developed by doctors in France and Spain to correct this situation as fast as possible. Hypopressives (the word stands for low-pressure) are based on a combination of yogic breathing and scientific research, and do an amazing job of fixing the post-natal tummy.
Hypopressives work by increasing the resting tone of all the core muscles, the diaphragm, and the pelvic floor. This last one is really useful for post-partum women, as it helps re-knit the muscles and fascia that the passage of the baby disrupts. This allows for faster return to higher impact activity like running and classes.
How to perform Hypopressives
- Lie on your back with legs and hands straight. Take 3 slow, deep breaths and relax as much as you can.
- At the end of the last full exhalation, pinch your nostrils close with your fingers. Perform a full inhalation movement without actually inhaling any air. Focus on your ribs expanding and thinking about drawing your diaphragm up towards your head.
- Your tummy should shrink in towards your spine and the belly button should rise up a little bit. Hold your breath for 15 seconds or so, just before it gets uncomfortable.
- Use your non-pinching hand to feel your belly’s movement. The abdominal wall should feel relaxed, not hard. The abs shouldn’t be flexing.
- Unpinch your nostrils and take 3 steady, deep breaths. Re-pinch and repeat breath.
- Repeat whole pattern 3-5 times lying down.
If you think you got it lying down, try it standing up looking in a mirror. The mirror will provide good feedback on whether you are achieving the right movement. However, the movement is harder to perform standing up than lying down, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it at first. Focus on expanding the ribs.
Hypopressives are an amazing tool for improving core strength and the look of your mid-section, but can be intimidating to someone who has not done any breath work. If you have any questions about the routine, email me at [email protected]