How would you sum up what Low Pressure Fitness is?
It is a new approach to true core training, which includes the pelvic floor. It is based on hypopressives which is a manoeuvre that reduces pressure in the pelvic and abdominal cavities. This lifts the pelvic organs and consequently the core muscle activity increases. In a nutshell hypopressives have literally flipped Dr. Kegel’s work on it’s head and are tackling pelvic floor dysfunction from above rather than below!
Is it more effective than Pilates for post-natal rehabilitation?
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 on 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, 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 post natal body and many of the women I work with have managed to reverse prolapse and drastically improve a diastasis.
As a teacher regardless of the functionality of a woman’s pelvic floor I know that what I am teaching is only going to benefit them and not unintentionally damage them.
What made you study to be a LPF teacher?
After my first child I could feel within my own body how hard it was to get the strength and tone back to my abdominals. Pre-baby my stomach had always been really strong so I found it difficult to accept that my previous stomach had disappeared forever! During labour I had a third degree tear and with that the trust in my pelvic floor which is something I probably took for granted disappeared too.
With teaching and practicing Pilates I felt like it took a long time to regain strength and I never really trusted my body like I had previously. Also in clients with diastasis I saw very limited improvement with Pilates and was looking for something that would get tangible results. As a new mum I really got how having the time to do an hour long workout was a thing of the past. I connected with LPF and loved the intensity of it, which also meant results were a lot quicker with much shorter sessions. Especially early postpartum, I could get a work out done during nap time and still have time to do the many things that needed doing and occasionally even nap myself!
What was your personal experience of it after having children yourself?
I did the LPF training before having my second child and started practicing soon after having her. The difference was marked. 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 practised 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.
What results have you personally seen in your students?
I’ve had two clients with grade two cystocele reverse to no prolapse. I’ve had one client with a four-finger space diastasis go down to two-fingers with much improved tone to the linea alba. I’ve had many other students improve with stress incontinence.
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.
I find especially with prolapse and severe diastasis that there is a lot of commitment to the programme especially when clients start seeing and feeling a change.
Once you get to grips with the technique and it becomes part of your weekly routine, besides for the physical benefits it also really helps in reducing stress by focussing on breath. Also by concentrating on the intricacies of the technique, it really calms one's mind. Many of my clients talk about how they use the sessions as “their” time and how much better they feel both physically and mentally. As mums with a million things to juggle taking this time for ourselves and our bodies feels possible and worthwhile. Another huge part of the work is the postural re-education and this is not only a benefit in terms of back pain and general muscle tension, but when the diaphragm and pelvic floor are aligned the body as a whole functions much better and this synergy is something that LPF delivers.