Hypopressives for Athletes

Experience the power of your full potential…

Produce focus, reduce injury, optimise breathing and increase power and control without time consuming and energy sapping regimes.

A time efficient and reliable complete core-training system, sports people of all ages and disciplines are using the Hypopressive method for injury prevention and to improve sporting performance.

The Hypopressive method restores and builds a functional core system, enabling our body to exist and move in its most efficient state, supporting optimal performance for the least energy expenditure.

Benefits to sporting performance can include:

      • Decreased musculoskeletal pain and cramping
      • Improved dynamic stability
      • Increased endurance
      • Improved regulation of intra-abdominal pressure
      • Improved flexibility
      • Injury reduction
      • Improved respiratory system function
      • Increased efficiency of prime movement muscles
      • Increased power output
      • Reduced risk of pelvic symptoms, hernia, prolapse, stress incontinence

Heightened rib expansion during Hypopressive exercise achieves diaphragmatic and rib release while improving inspiratory muscle recruitment for optimal respiration mechanics. 

The muscles of the diaphragm, abdominal and intercostal muscles of respiration are strengthened, but it gets better. Practicing the Hypopressive apnoea or breath-hold, trigggers the ‘Bohr effect’. What this does for us;

*Optimises the body’s ability to utilise the oxygen taken in with every breath.

*Heightens blood-oxygen binding capacity in the lungs.

*Increases oxygen supply to the muscles and tissues with highest demands during activity.

*Improves oxygen unloading in skeletal muscles during exercise.

*Builds the body’s carbon dioxide tolerance.

With these adaptations, less blood needs to circulate to meet increased oxygen demands when we exercise. This translates to a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure.

In turn, this elevates aerobic endurance meaning we can run, climb, bike, swim, faster and for longer with less effort. Great physiological gains from simple breathwork practice!


If our core system is incapable of offering the stability we need for movement, that lack of control needs to be compensated for. Large muscle groups such as the hamstrings, neck and shoulders or hip flexers may take up the slack, but now they’re overworking. This over work is not just inefficient for stability, it’s also energy consumptive and can show up as muscular cramping, stiffness and decreased range of movement.

The Hypopressive method reliably recruits the slow-twitch muscle fibres making up 75-80% of our core musculature and built for fatigue resistance. This provides the stability we require, allowing release of the larger muscles enabling their usual flexibility for striding and reaching.


Dynamic Stability & Force Transmission
Our ability to maintain stability through movement plays a critical role in exerting maximal output from our musculoskeletal system. Hypopressive exercise provides dynamic stability from the inside out, maximising force transmission to our limbs through myofascial chains, thereby increasing overall power output.

Taking just 10 minutes a day, Hypopressives rebalance, restore, and condition the muscles of the Core as a whole! This develops a coordinated Core from the get go.

The Core’, a group of deep set muscles, within our spine, abdominal wall, the pelvic floor and diaphragm, form a container around our abdomen that provides postural support and pelvic stability during movement, important whether you’re a competitive or recreational athlete.
A well balanced, efficient Core (notice, I didn’t simply say strong) will;
*Maintain optimal alignment, making energy transfer between our body and limbs maximally efficient.
*Reduce muscular fatigue and injury risk associated with poor form.
*Increase power output and stamina.
*Avoid compensations in other muscle groups that can show up as muscular cramping and stiffness.
*So in a nutshell, the body’s musculoskeletal system is able to operate at its best.
My go-to for Core work is the Hypopressive method, it’s quick, effective and non-strenuous, so doesn’t add to training load.
There are numerous additional benefits to Hypopressives that I’ll be discussing over the coming weeks.


The Nervous System

Physical stress from intensive exercise stimulates our Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), otherwise known as our fight, flight or freeze mode. Activation of the SNS triggers a release of chemicals and hormones into the bloodstream, which can be useful to raise our competitive edge during sports. The SNS can also be triggered by other lifestyle factors, stress, fear and worry and if overstimulated, can contribute to cardio-vascular problems, digestive issues, anxiety, depression and poor sleep.

The SNS is balanced by its’ opposite, the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), or ‘rest and digest’ mode. Hypopressive breathwork is an effective way to activate the PNS.

As a result;

*Blood pressure, heart and respiratory rates are lowered.

*Processing and absorption of food and emotions are promoted. *Blood flow increases, bringing nutrients to, and removing waste products from muscles and tissues.

*Physical and mental relaxation occur.

*These physiological changes help us feel good and promote faster recovery times after activity.


Psychological edge

For elite, amateur and hobby athletes alike, when you’re as physically prepared as you can be, mental preparedness can give you the edge you need to excel.

I’ve been there, arrived at an event, eager, upbeat and enthusiastic, after months of training, only to feel squashed and distracted from my own performance, by the confidence of fellow competitors.  

A turning point for me, was understanding the importance of self-belief, because our self-belief informs our self-talk, our inner voice.

Consider this,

‘Motivational self-talk, improves endurance performance, increasing both power out-put and time to exhaustion’, (Meijen, 2019). Postitve self-talk has also been shown to improve co-ordination and fine motor skills, and is a positive predictor of future performance satisfaction.

So, Strong self-belief = positive self-talk = improved endurance, power, stamina and future performance. Physical outputs from a mental process. More bounce for the ounce! But… motivational self-talk only works when we truly believe it, our brains have sophisticated BS monitors that know when we’re trying to con ourselves. Self-belief has to be strong.

Having Hypopressives practice under my belt not only helped me to remain calm, confident, and focused, under pressure, it also formed the foundations of my self-belief. I had an edge over the competition. I had trained in a way they hadn’t. I had Hypopressives. My new inner voice was saying,

“I know I can swim the distance, and if I miss a breath in the mayhem, I can relax, knowing I have great Co2 tolerance.”

“I can relax and enjoy the bike knowing my body is as efficient as it can be.”

“I have more in the tank for the run, I have aerobic endurance”.  

Initially, it did feel a bit like cheating, feeling I’d achieved a lot of advantage through a little Hypopressives practice, where others may have slogged and toiled for similar gains. But to be completely honest, it felt just great!


I can’t say for sure what difference this made, having no benchmark, but I do know that I finished in the top 3 in my age-group, in my first 3 sprint triathlons, and that’ll do for me.


Misbehaving bladders

Involuntary leakage of urine during sport is a problem experienced by male and female athletes. Studies on the subject highlight that many athletes feel their lives and performance are impacted negatively, and can be the reason for some giving up their beloved sport altogether.

Pressure within the abdomen increases significantly during cardiovascular activities where we’re breathing more heavily, and especially in sports that require force/power generation. Because of this, in addition to the factors that can lead to leakage in non-athletes, bladder leakage during sports can be due to;

*Inability of the Core muscles to regulate pressure within the abdomen, causing the bladder to be squeezed.

*Inability of the pelvic floor to match high pressures within the abdomen, allowing leaks.

*Inability of the pelvic floor muscles to maintain support of the bladder and urethra during activity, allowing leaks.

These are referred to as Core and pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, which can be the result of one or more of the core muscles being too weak, too slow, or simply fatigued. Conversely, a non-relaxing, over-active (hypertonic) pelvic floor, has the potential to be strong but due to constant holding, becomes stiff, with reduced blood and causing fatigue.


Other signs and symptoms of Core and pelvic floor muscle dysfunction may include back/pelvic pain, shallow breathing, stitch, breaking-wind, breath-holding, abdominal bulging or a heavy feeling down below when under strain.


Hypopressive exercise produces contraction and relaxation of the Core and pelvic floor muscles as a co-ordinated team,

*increasing blood flow and muscle energy,

*encouraging flexibility and full range of motion

*promoting muscle speed, strength, and endurance

essential elements for bladder support and control.




“In the past I’ve been lazy about core training, I knew I should be doing it, but I’d rather spend the time doing my sports. Lara suggested I did Hypopressives as part of my rehab and conditioning work after a windsurfing injury. I’ve found my actual core muscles for the first time ever, which feels very different to the abs strength I thought was my core. I feel more capacity to push hard in cardio training and my iPhone tells me that my cardiovascular fitness, VO2 Max, has dramatically improved to ‘well above average’. Thankfully, maintaining the benefit is quick and easy to do when I feel like it.”
Tim (Lara’s other half)😁
British wave sailing Association Masters Champion 2021 & 5th overall in the ‘Pro fleet’ for 2022.

I used to get a dragging feeling and small bladder leaks towards the end of long runs. I considered giving up running, but after 6 sessions of Hypopressives I’m feeling stronger and my symptoms have mostly gone. I’m looking forward to continued improvement.”
Laura, Anglesey