Simone Muller

Empower Your Core: Effective Pelvic Floor Exercises for Women's Health

Whilst the generally accepted way of strengthening your pelvic floor has been Kegels, newer thinking is challenging whether this is in fact correct. A Kegel is the conscious contraction and release of the pelvic floor muscles. The question that arises is will this really bring function back to the entire core canister which is often where postnatal dysfunction sits.

The core canister is made up of the pelvic floor, abdominals, diaphragm and back muscles, which work together to manage intra-abdominal pressure.

This pressure management is essential in relieving and starting to reverse symptoms such as incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and diastasis recti. Just strengthening the pelvic floor muscles continuously does nothing to address this whole system's pressure management competence.

Many women struggle to engage their pelvic floor properly. This is exacerbated if their posture is not well aligned, as this results in their efforts resulting in very little lift and contraction at all. Telling a woman to do their Kegels whilst feeding their baby for example, whilst might feel like a good multitasking suggestion, is quite ineffective as most women in this situation would struggle to sit with good posture whilst trying to feed a baby.

Hypopressives on the other hand works by incorporating the whole body and most specifically the core canister. By getting mobility in the diaphragm, breathing becomes more functional and impactful on the pelvic floor. During the Hypopressive breathing, known as an apnea, we get significant lift (more so than in a Kegel) in the pelvic floor and get lift in the pelvic organs. This lift is not conscious but rather an automatic involuntary by-product of the ribcage opening and lift of the diaphragm.

Posture is a big component of why this all works so well. When the diaphragm and the pelvic floor are aligned, they communicate and function optimally. Most of us tend to not be as strong through the back of our body (posterior chain) as the front side. To get better spinal alignment we need to strengthen the posterior chain. This means creating better awareness of posture and stacking the skeleton, versus slouching or tucking the pelvis and putting unwanted pressure down into the pelvis and unknowingly the pelvic floor.

The apnea itself has been shown to strengthen the levator ani (one of the pelvic floor muscles) and the transversus abdominus (the deepest abdominal muscles). It also regulates the tone of the pelvic floor and therefore assists hypertonic cases, where the pelvic floor is too tight.

Getting started

For the Hypopressives classes it is important that you learn the Apnea technique properly so that you can get the most out of the classes and the time you invest in yourself.

Each week Simone runs Fundamentals sessions on Zoom where she explains the technique and guides you through all the steps. She will also give you feedback to make sure that you're doing it correctly. For some, the technique may come more quickly than others.

Some of her clients, who are tighter in the ribs and thoracic spine do tend to take a little longer. For the technique to make an impactful change she recommends doing a minimum of 3 workouts a week for 15 to 20 minutes.

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About the Author

Simone Muller is the founder of re-centre and has over 22 years of teaching experience across Pilates, Low Pressure Fitness and Yoga.

She launched the online platform to make Low Pressure Fitness and Hypopressives more accessible to more women around the world so that they can become the strongest and most functional versions of themselves.

Originally from South Africa, Simone's dance and Pilates career evolved when she faced post-childbirth challenges, prompting her to explore Low Pressure Fitness in Spain.

As the first level 3 instructor in London, she has witnessed transformative postnatal rehabilitation results in clients, addressing issues like Diastasis Recti, prolapse and incontinence.

Simone has written articles for the re-centre blog 'Kegels not Working?', 'The connection between menstruation and prolapse symptoms' and 'Why I love teaching postnatal rehabilitation?'.

Simone has also written guest posts for The Shala 'What is Low Pressure Fitness', Yana Active 'Prioritising your Pelvic Floor Health After Giving Birth and Nurturing the Core' and for The Pelvic Academy 'Empowering Women's Health - The Power of Collaboration Between Hypopressives, Physiotherapists and Osteopaths'.

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What our members say

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Hypopressives is an effective technique toward relieving symptoms related to Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Diastasis Recti and Urinary Incontinence. Hypopressives also improves poor posture, pelvic floor weakness and back pain. I offer a flexible approach to memberships and a 14-day free trial.


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