In this article, on the one hand, I intend to demystify some preconceived ideas about the benefits of doing abdominal work concentrically, that is, everything that the vast majority of people understand by abdominal exercises. On the other hand, claim and advise an excellent alternative to these exercises is Hypopressive Abdominal Gymnastics.
First of all, I want to make it clear that it is not my intention to revile this type of exercise, I simply give some arguments as to why they are not performed as frequently as is usually recommended and emphasize their negative effects on both the back (especially in people who they already have the lumbar region touched or they have a lower abdomen that is not well worked and toned) as well as for the female pelvic floor (especially for women who have gynecological or urinary problems).
Classic or hypopressive abdominals?
We present you a fantastic video on why not to do classic sit-ups and start doing hypopressive sit-ups.
From my point of view, there are two fundamental reasons why classic abdominal exercises are not a recommended exercise, especially for some subjects.
It can be harmful to women as they increase intra-abdominal pressure (the pressure inside our abdomen).
When performing classic sit-ups , a force is generated that increases the pressure within the abdominal space, the excess intra-abdominal pressure can ultimately weaken the pelvic floor muscles, which is why it can be a harmful exercise for women, since these have a more complex and delicate pelvic floor.
Abdominal pressure is, to put it in some way, the greatest enemy of the pelvic floor. This group of muscles that support and cover the gynecological and urinary system; They are a very relevant muscle group, especially in women, and they suffer greatly when exercises involving high intra-abdominal pressure are performed.
It can be detrimental to the lumbar spine as it increases the pressure between the intervertebral discs.
When doing abdominal exercises, an increase in pressure is generated in the lumbar intervertebral discs.
As we can imagine, something similar to bending a flexible stick happens with our lumbar spine, in one part of the stick the pressure increases and in the other it decreases, that is precisely what happens with the anterior region of our spine (where the discs are found). shrinks and increases pressure, this increase in pressure carried out repeatedly and periodically can end up causing a lumbar problem.
On the other hand, as it is a desordosante exercise (our physiological lumbar curve is inverted when performing this exercise) it encourages and accelerates the loss of lumbar curvature or lumbar lordosis.
The loss of this important curve of our sword is one of the most important causes of our intervertebral discs deteriorating and eventually generating and causing the well-known protrusions and herniated discs.
The lumbar curvature means that the weight does not fall solely on the disc. With a good lumbar curvature, it is the intervertebral joints and spinal muscles that take on a large part of the daily weight, which is why repeatedly performing sit-ups can end up with lumbar problems. This fact occurs fundamentally in individuals with previous problems or who begin to perform classic concentric abdominals without preparing the muscles that make up the abdominal girdle and that provide “protective coverage” to the lumbar spine.
Therefore, although there are certainly abdominal exercises that are more harmful than others, for the back, as a general rule, they are not recommended exercises.
If I don’t do sit-ups, what can I do to strengthen my abdominal girdle?
A great and unknown alternative (less and less thanks to the work of many physiotherapists) is hypopressive abdominal gymnastics. These well-performed exercises work the entire abdominal region very effectively, fundamentally the oblique and transverse abdominal muscles, but not only this, as its name suggests, in this type of exercise; The abdominal waist is worked by eliminating intra-abdominal pressure, which causes a traction effect in the lumbar region, as well as a reflex strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles.
Many people will be skeptical when reading this article, but in my opinion, the alternative that I propose to these classic exercises, not only can give you equal or better aesthetic results, but also have many other added benefits that classic abs lack.
And after all this… How is Hypopressive Abdominal Gymnastics (GAH) done?
For many of you, GAH may be a great unknown and after coming this far you may have wondered. how are these exercises performed?
To begin with, it is important to tell you that they are not easy exercises to perform, they require some prior learning and skill for correct execution. Even for some people, at first, they may certainly seem “complex to do” but I advise you to be constant and overcome the first difficulties that may appear. Once you have overcome this first stage of learning, you will feel the multiple benefits that this gymnastics can provide you to tone the abdominal girdle and therefore your pelvic floor.
Learn 3 hypopressive exercises to work your abdomen
You will learn to perform 3 simple hypopressive exercises from a great expert in the field. Hypopressive abdominals or hypopressive abdominal gymnastics can help you lower the abdomen by deflating your belly.
We will comment that in general terms, all those exercises in which we repeatedly request our abdominal muscles in a concentric way. (contraction in which the muscle decreases its length) They are potentially harmful to our lumbar curvature and therefore to our inter-vertebral discs, as well as to the good health of the pelvic floor muscles.