FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Low Pressure Fitness (LPF)/Hypopressives?
It is a new approach to true core training, which includes the pelvic floor. It is based on hypopressives a maneuver that translates as less pressure and works to reduce pressure in the pelvic and abdominal cavities. This lifts the pelvic organs and consequently stimulating a subconscious contraction of the pelvic floor and deep core muscles, strongly increasing their muscular activity.
In a nutshell hypopressives have literally flipped Dr. Kegel’s work on its head and are tackling pelvic floor dysfunction from above rather than below. So instead of the aim being just strengthening a muscle (the pelvic floor) we are looking at getting the responsive nature of the pelvic floor reestablished and lifting organs so that overtime the pressure on the pelvic floor is reduced and symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction are gradually eradicated.
How does it differ from more traditional core training and Pilates?
Pilates is an excellent technique for bringing stability back to a destabilised postpartum body, but a lot of the traditional Pilates exercises, specifically curl ups (used often in mat-work repertoire) can be detrimental if pelvic floor dysfunction and diastasis recti are present. Unfortunately, at the 6-week postnatal checkup these issues are not properly assessed, and many women may not even realise they themselves are affected by these concerns.
There is a general acceptance of pelvic floor dysfunction with mothers often accepting that they may leak when running, sneezing or coughing. Also, the term “mum-tum” leads many women to unwillingly accept their new relationship with their bodies. LPF is a completely safe way of working a postnatal body and many of the women I work with have managed to reverse prolapse and drastically improve a diastasis.
What was your personal experience of it after having children yourself?
I did the LPF training before having my second child and started practicing postpartum after my second child. The difference in my recovery after my first labour where I only did Pilates was markedly different to when I practiced LPF with my second. Within a few weeks my core was stronger than it had been before being pregnant with my second, and my pelvic floor was as strong as it was pre-kids!! If I hadn’t had seen the change with my own eyes or felt it in my body, I wouldn’t have believed it. It literally felt like the more I practiced the more internal strength I developed. This was something I hadn’t felt since I was a professional dancer. I also loved that the technique doesn’t require hours of training. Only 10-20 minutes, three times a week will get visible results.
How many weeks postpartum can I begin?
It is recommended at least 6-8 weeks after a vaginal delivery and 12 weeks after a c-section.
What kind of results have you seen with LPF/Hypopressives in your clients?
I have had several clients with grade 2 prolapse reverse their prolapse and become symptom free.
I have worked with women with Diastasis that have greatly reduced their Diastasis and tone of their stomach and waist size.
How long does it take to get results?
It depends on the condition. Prolapse cystocele is quicker to improve than rectocele. The cystocele reversal took three months with 1:1 sessions once a week and self-practice at least three times a week.
What are the benefits of this practice?
- Recovery of the pelvic floor - Postural reeducation - Decreased waist circumference - Respiratory improvements - Reduction in back pain - Improved digestive system - Improvements in sexual function
How often should I practice weekly to see results?
You will start to see results by practicing 2-3 weekly sessions of 10-20 minutes. It is safe to practice daily once your body has adjusted to the practice which will take around 2-4 weeks.
What time of day is the best time to practice?
First thing in the morning before eating is ideal, if practising in the evening try not to eat 1-2 hrs before.
Do I need any props to start practicing?
You will need a mat or towel.
For the Pilates warm-up a Pilates overball 23cm can be useful and can be bought online.
Can I practice while I am pregnant?
LPF is a training system that combines postural exercises and apnea (breath hold) breathing techniques. During pregnancy you can continue to enjoy the benefits of practicing the postures, but the apnea is not recommended. Instead, you would hold the posture for 5 breaths, without doing the breath hold.
Who is this exercise applicable to?
Women and men will benefit from this exercise programme.
There are some health conditions and situations which should be noted as contraindicative to hypopressives, these include:
- High blood pressure - Pregnancy - Pulmonary disease (COPD) - Heart disease - Intestinal and/or stomach inflammation - Any medical contraindications to physical exercise
What if I feel pressure in my pelvic floor when performing the apnea?
You shouldn’t be feeling any pressure down into the pelvic floor during an apnea, intact you should be feeling a sucking up feeling. If your rib cage is not moving sideways on the breath hold you will struggle to do the apnea correctly. You can encourage
your ribs to move sideways with your hands by holding underneath your ribs and gently pressing your ribs open. Your belly button should raise up as you do the apnea.
If you are struggling please do get in touch.
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