In recent months, platforms such as TikTok popularized a challenge that consists of contracting the stomach and then pushing it back and forth to the rhythm of the music.
Far from being a viral invention, this type of exercise is called hypopressive and is intended, among other things, for postpartum rehabilitation. Find out here its effects on the body and how to perform them.
What are hypopressive exercises?
Hypopressive abdominal gymnastics, better known as hypopressive exercises, are a type of exercise that is characterized by strengthening the abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor.
For this reason, they are often used in physical therapy or postpartum rehabilitation. It is also commonly recommended for men over 35 years of age, as they help prevent incontinence problems, erectile dysfunction and improve recovery after prostate surgery.
Benefits of hypopressive exercises
Unlike other exercises aimed at strengthening the abdominal area, such as the plank or the abdominals, hypopressives are more comprehensive, since they also act on the stabilizing muscles of the spine and those of the pelvic floor.
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Although they have a short life (the first hypopressive abdominal gymnastics manuals were published in the late 1990s) there is evidence that shows that practicing this type of exercise can bring different health benefits:
- Increases lung capacity, because it involves the diaphragm.
- Increases sports performance, as it balances the muscle masses between abdominal and lower muscles.
- It helps to control urinary incontinence problems, thanks to the fact that it increases the muscle tone of the area.
- It helps in postpartum rehabilitation, thanks to the pelvic floor regaining its stiffness. It also prevents urinary incontinence problems and genital pain.
- Reduces pelvic pressure, preventing nerve injuries such as sciatica.
- Strengthens the health of the back, reducing lumbar, dorsal and cervical pain. This is because the pelvic area is reinforced.
- Improves posture control, as it reduces disc pressure and the load on the spine.
- Tones the abdomen.
- Prevents other injuries: a pelvic floor in poor condition is a risk factor in the appearance of different ailments.
How to do hypopressive exercises
You can put hypopressive exercises into practice by following these tips:
- Start sitting down.
- The back should be straight, but relaxed.
- Inhale as you open the ribs.
- Exhale releasing all the air.
- Once you run out of air inside, it blocks your breath. No air must enter or exit.
- Open the ribs (emulating the catch of breath). You will feel your organs rise towards the ribs. Keep your shoulders or chin from lifting.
- Hold this position for 3 seconds.
- Inhale and rest.
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Other ways to do this exercise are:
- Stopped: with the spine well stretched and the palms of the hand facing forward.
- Lying down: with the knees bent, supporting only the heels, the arms slightly separated from the body and the palms resting on the floor.
- Standing against the wall: with your hands resting against the wall and one leg more forward than the other.
- Lying against the wall: face up, extending the arms above the head so that the palms touch the wall. The legs must be fully stretched.
In many viral videos you can see people doing hypopressive exercise at high speed and intensity to the rhythm of music.
This, especially if the posture is not taken care of, can cause injuries or not work properly the pelvic and abdominal muscles.
Remember to consult a physical therapist or health professional before performing hypopressive exercises, and do them completely relaxed.
Sources consulted: US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.