The term ‘hypo’ refers to a reduction – this form of exercise reduces pressure to the abdominal and pelvic cavities, lifting the pelvic organs and increasing core muscle activity. Traditional exercises and ab work, coupled with the effects of gravity in most daily activities, are hyperpressive – they increase pressure, making things worse.
Samantha Lisbôa is a trained Pilates instructor and physiotherapist – and one of the few people in the UK who is trained in this new technique. Offering at home one-to-one training across the Capital, she is a lady in high demand, but I manage to grab a coveted slot. She arrives with an ingenious piece of portable Pilates equipment that fixes into a standard doorframe, recreating the tower reformers one finds in studios.
We start with this, and a full body Pilates workout. As I work, Samantha, in her physiotherapist’s hat, makes physical adjustments to improve posture and alignment. We move on to attempting to create the stomach vacuum which is at the heart of hypopressives. It involves breathing into the chest cavity, rather than the stomach, something which does not come naturally to me. Samantha patiently talks me through the process and massages the muscles under my ribs to help to open the chest cavity. It looks like I will not achieve it, but Samantha perseveres, and I eventually succeed. There’s more work to be done, but I’m excited by the prospect, and implementing it into my routine.
For details and to book, see pilatestherapybysam.com