Tips on exercise during and after pregnancy.
Pre/post pregnancy video exercise tips.
This is a hot topic lately. The common thought being; intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) is not good for you... therefore any support worn around the belly must be harmful...assuming it increases IAP, meaning it must put pressure on pelvic floor, causing prolapse, hemorrhoids, displacement of organs and diastasis. Agh..it sounds terrible and makes sense right? Pressure causes problems? And while I agree pressure can be bad, it can also be helpful.FIRST ... we need to recognize that there are different ways a person can engage their core. There are many incorrect ways and only 1 correct way. This affects whether IAP stays more in the abdominal cavity or pelvic cavity.SECOND .. when a person engages their core correctly, IAP does increase slightly. When a person lifts a heavy weight and engages the core more, IAP increases even more.Does that mean engaging the core is bad for you? Well we know that isn't true. The core needs to engage to provide a foundation for lifting and moving.The questions we should be asking is: 1. What is causing the IAP? 2. Where is the IAP going when a person engages their core (abdominal, thoracic or pelvic cavity?) 3. Are the core muscles strong? 4. Is the pelvic floor lifting like it should when core engages? 5. How is the person engaging their core? 6. Are they using proper breathing mechanics?This is what determines whether IAP is helpful or damaging!
IAP does NOT automatically put pressure on the pelvic floor
When the CORE stabilization system (diaphragm, transverse abdominals, pelvic floor and multifidus) is reactive, the pelvic floor will lift when the TVA engages. This protects the pelvic floor and helps contain pressure in the abdominal cavity and off the pelvic floor. It is this pressure when increased that helps stabilize the spine (lock it into place) when exerting force.PRACTICE CORRECT WAY TO ENGAGE: Lift pelvic floor, breathe out as you engage abs. Where does the pressure go? Up in the Abdominal Cavity off the pelvic floor. (If you are having trouble figuring out how to do this, you need to reconditioning your core)
If the pelvic floor is not responding (lifting) when the TVA engages (see pic below), then IAP may get pushed downward and put more pressure on the pelvic floor (like when a person has a bowel movement)..this of course is not a good thing. This is what contributes to peeing when lifting heavy weights.PRACTICE WRONG WAY #1: Breathe out while engage abs in and "bear down" (like having a bowel movement) - where does the pressure go? Yes, down to the pelvic floor.PRACTICE WRONG WAY #2: Hold breath, "bear down" without engaging the abs (belly bulges out instead). Where does the pressure go? Yes, down to the pelvic floor and out to the belly button.
Yes ladies, peeing when doing CrossFIT or lifting heavy weights is not a good thing. This can mean that the pelvic floor is not engaging like it should and pressure on the bladder is too much.Picture a flat bike tire. Without the proper amount of air pressure, the tube walls are flimsy and weak.
Picture a filled bike tire, when air is contained and increased, the tube walls are strong and stable.
It is very difficult to increase too much IAP into the abdominal cavity when lifting weights. Especially when the walls (spine, muscles an fascia) are strong and stabilized. If someone who does not have a strong core decides to try and lift a very heavy weight, yes...they are at risk for lifting with incorrect alignment, pulling a muscle, causing a hernia or a herniated disc.So is IAP good or bad?It depends on your breathingIt depends on your muscles ability (strength) to contain the pressureIt depends on where the pressure is goingIt depends on what is causing the IAPLearning to direct intra-abdominal pressure correctly will help:
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