No it’s not pilates... but what is it?
No it’s not yoga...Similar in ways to both of these but very different from the perspective of how it works and the results it gives.
What am I talking about this week? A new form of exercise called Hypopresives.
The Hypopresive Method (‘hypo’ because it reduces pressure) was developed by Marcel Caufriez and is widely used in countries such as Spain and France.
In fact, in Spain there are more than 1,500 Hypopresive instructors working in either the areas of physiotherapy or fitness.
This research-led method has demonstrated some fantastic results and success in alleviating and eradicating back pain along with improving posture and postural awareness.
It’s also the perfect way back to exercise for any post-natal woman as it will help them with existing conditions and prevent some of the potential problems occurring in the first place.
It works unlike any other form of exercise by reducing the pressure in the body and by doing this, toning and strengthening not only the deep core muscles but pretty much every muscle in the body.
So it’s just the same as Pilates I hear you cry!
That’s where you are wrong because all other exercise (and that includes Pilates) creates pressure and Hypopresives works on reducing pressure.
To explain why this is so important, I want you to imagine that your pelvic floor area is a big dome shape and that during the day everyday activities create pressure and the ‘dome’ is able to rebound the pressure because it is nice and strong, and you have no problems.
Now I want you to imagine how the pelvic floor ‘dome’ will look after childbirth or from continuous activities that create pressure.
It becomes weakened and therefore doesn’t rebound the pressure adequately, creating weak spots and pelvic instability.
The deep muscles of the core and back become hypertonic as they brace to keep the pelvis stable and inevitably you will experience pain, sometimes in the pelvic area and mostly in the lower back.
If left untreated the problem only gets worse and urinary incontinence, prolapses or hernias can start to become a problem.
So, in order to put the tone back into the pelvic floor and to build strength and tone in the deep core muscles, the only exercise that effectively works both types of muscle (phasic and tonic) is ‘hypopresive’.
The method works through a series of postures and breathing which teaches you how to maintain correct posture, a very important tool to have considering the amount of time we spend sitting while we’re doing our jobs and during leisure time.
With just 20 minutes a day (once you have learnt the method), you will see a great improvement in your posture, the way you move and an improvement in the tone of your pelvic floor muscles.
So, while I can see why there are comparisons being made with Pilates and yoga, it does work very differently and the results will be that not only do you have strengthened muscles but also that they have the tone to function and rebound the pressure of everyday life.
I am one of only five expert level Hypopresive Method instructors in the UK and I am currently running two- hour workshops in this area.
If you are interested in learning more, the next workshop is on February 20 in Portsmouth.
Nikki Caputa is a health and fitness coach who works one-to-one with clients and runs her own fitness camps where she trains groups. Known as FAB Body Bootcamps, two are based in Fareham and one is in Portsmouth.