Today, many people go to the gym or play sports at home or outdoors to exercise, maintain physical and mental health, generate endorphins, and maintain and improve their figure. There are many possible exercises to be performed, both aerobic and anaerobic.
One of the most commonly worked areas is the abdomen, a part of the body where it is usually performed through crunches. However, in recent years, a different way of doing this type of exercise has become popular: which consists of doing hypopressive abs. Below we will see what they are and what their benefits are.
Abdomen and abs
The abdomen is the part of the body located in the lower half of the trunk, located between the torso (from which it is separated internally by the diaphragm) and the pelvis. Inside are most of the organs related to the digestive system and part of the genitourinary tract.
As for the musculature, we can find a series of muscles that provide mobility in the area at the same time, they protect internal organs and contribute to their proper functioning. These muscles are arranged at the lateral, posterior and anterior levels and can be classified into transverse, oblique, pyramidal and straight.
The functioning of muscles is of great importance, and when trained, they allow for better posture and a better ability to move and function different parts of the body. So, training them can be a great benefit, and therefore it is very useful to perform them tension and distension exercisesThis has traditionally been done by performing crunches, which usually require tension through constant, repetitive movements.
However, hypopressive abdominals aren’t so much about performing movements as they are more passively stretching and distending them.
Hypopressive abs: general functioning
Hypopressive abs this is a type of exercise dedicated to the work of the so-called abdominal belt of the tension and distension of the deepest musculature.
even if breath control it is essential in most physical activities and exercises, in hypopressive abdominals, it acquires an even greater significance because most of them are exercises carried out during moments of respiratory apnea.
It is about getting negative pressure on our abdomen and part of the pelvis, so that the reflex reaction of the internal muscles occurs. The oblique and transverse muscles are particularly worked.
How is this exercise done?
To achieve them, posture and breathing control is combined. It basically causes apnea or stopping breathing after stretching the diaphragm in a posture that promotes self-stretching and open the rib cage during inhalation to try to keep it open by exhaling it.
Then exhale and before inhaling the apnea is performed (In other words, you are out of breath for a few seconds), observing a kind of suction in the abdomen. In short, it’s about expelling all the air, then holding your breath as the chest expands and the bowel shrinks, to maintain the tension and finally stop straining and inhaling again. It is recommended to do several sets regularly to observe the results (about twenty minutes per day).
These types of exercises have been developed based on the observation of the possible difficulties or negative consequences of performing traditional crunches. However, you need to have some control when running them as they can cause mechanical issues if performed poorly and out of control.
Advantages and contraindications
Hypopressive crunches have a number of advantages over their traditional counterpart. On the one hand, it makes it possible to reduce the contour and the perimeter during the work in particular of the transverse and oblique muscles.
Hypopressive abs too have been shown to be useful for the work of the pelvic region, Which can be useful for preventing incontinence problems and even for strengthening muscles after childbirth. This strengthening can also help reduce the effects of various types of sexual dysfunction.
Another advantage is that in general the spine is not forced, So that they usually do not cause discomfort or back pain and at the same time prevent possible serious injury.
However, this exercise can be dangerous for some people. Specifically, people with hypertension should refrain from doing this type of exercise when resorting to apnea. It is also contraindicated for pregnant women, even if certain programs dedicated to this type of population are starting to be put in place.
People with anxiety and / or respiratory and heart problems may also have difficulty achieving them, may also be contraindicated or require modifications and adaptations.
Some hypopressive exercises
Below are three hypopressive exercises that can help you strengthen your abs.
1. Hypopressive abdominal position
To perform this exercise we have to stand up, feet parallel and try to spread our shoulders apart while stretching our spine as much as possible. The arms can be placed in the shape of a pot or by aligning the elbows with the hands and shoulders in a circle, facing forward.
Once in this position, we inhale by opening the ribs and try keep this opening while we breathe out. Once the air is expelled, we apnea with the ribs open and held for a few seconds. We then let go and catch our breath by taking several normal breaths before repeating the exercise.
Another variant is done in flexion, supporting the hands on the legs but also by lengthening the spine as much as possible.
2. Sitting hypopressive abs
As in the previous case, the column is stretched as much as possible, although he sits with his legs bent. The posture is similar to that used in many yoga and meditation exercises. The arms can be placed in the same way as above, and the same breathing routine is performed.
3. Abs in the background (plate)
This exercise is performed by supporting the forearms and toes on the floor, keeping the rest of the body in suspension, and maintaining tension in the abdomen. The posture is similar to that performed during push-ups. In addition to the obliques and the transverse, the rectus muscle is also worked.