Low Pressure Fitness: Pelvic Health 2.0

Written by:
Dr. Erica Dekle
January 15, 2024

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a prevalent health concern that can impact people of all genders and ages. While there are several approaches to address this issue, one emerging practice that takes pelvic health to a new level is called Low Pressure Fitness (LPF). As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I will often implement LPF into my plans of care to help people overcome a variety of conditions including:

  • Incontinence (urinary leaking)
  • Postpartum recovery
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Pelvic pain
  • Low back pain
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Peri-menopause/menopause

In this blog post, I will explore the unique benefits of LPF in the context of pelvic floor dysfunction and how this gentle yet powerful approach is making waves in the physical therapy and fitness industry.

What is LPF?

Low Pressure Fitness is a movement system, just like yoga, Pilates, Barre, and traditional strength training. They are all movement systems with specific elements aimed to improve your overall health. Everyone can benefit from LPF in regards to improving core strength, posture and alignment, breathing mechanics, and overall fitness levels.

LPF is a holistic exercise method that focuses on the synergy between breathing, posture, and intra-abdominal pressure. The routine consists of a series of breathing and postural exercises that safely strengthen your deepest core muscles. 

Hypopressive (hypos for short) means low pressure. It is a broad term used to describe breathing, exercising or moving with reduced pressure on the body. In LPF, we use the hypopressive technique during the two phases of breathing:

  • The Rest phase - focuses on good lower rib cage expansion as we inhale and exhale.
  • The Apnea phase - a breath holding technique occurs. The apnea is performed after exhaling the air in your lungs. The breath is held by closing your nose and glottis (creating a seal), then opening your rib cage as if trying to take a breath in (with no air flowing in), thus creating the signature look of hollowing under the rib cage.

This apnea rib cage opening is like an abdominal vacuum. It creates a change in pressure (a suctioning effect) with a reflexive activation of the pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles.

What are the benefits of LPF?

Improved Core and Pelvic Floor Strength: LPF can safely strengthen your deepest core muscles. These muscles include the transverse abdominis, the diaphragm, the pelvic floor, multifidus, internal obliques, rotator cuff, and the deep rotators of the hip. These are the muscles that create the foundation for upright posture and joint stability. They also help control normal bodily processes and play a large role in our bladder, bowels and sexual health. Oftentimes, these inner muscles can be affected from an injury, surgery, pregnancy, illness or sedentary lifestyle.

Improved Posture and Alignment: Central to LPF is the focus on proper posture and alignment. This is crucial for pelvic floor health, as good posture reduces unnecessary stress on the pelvic region. LPF helps individuals develop a heightened awareness of their body's alignment, contributing to better overall posture.

Breathing Techniques for Pelvic Health: LPF places a strong emphasis on controlled breathing techniques, syncing breath with movement. These breathing exercises not only enhance oxygenation and relaxation but also contribute to improved coordination between the diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles, fostering better overall pelvic health.

Reduction of Intra-Abdominal Pressure: LPF techniques help individuals manage intra-abdominal pressure by promoting a controlled and even distribution of forces within the abdominal cavity. This is particularly beneficial for those with pelvic floor dysfunction, as it reduces the risk of increased pressure on vulnerable areas.

Tailored for Individual Needs: LPF exercises can be adapted to accommodate individual needs and fitness levels. Certified instructors can modify routines based on the severity of pelvic floor dysfunction, ensuring a personalized approach that addresses specific concerns.

Mind-Body Connection: Similar to other mindful movement practices, LPF fosters a strong mind-body connection. The awareness developed during LPF exercises extends beyond the workout, encouraging individuals to be more conscious of their body's movements and positioning in everyday activities.

Low Pressure Fitness is emerging as a gentle yet powerful ally in the journey to pelvic health. Its unique approach, combining controlled breathing, posture, and low-pressure exercises, makes it well-suited for individuals with pelvic floor dysfunction. As always, consulting with healthcare professionals and certified LPF instructors is recommended to ensure a safe and effective incorporation of this innovative practice into your wellness routine. 

Embracing Low Pressure Fitness can be a transformative step toward nurturing and supporting pelvic floor health. If you live in the Atlanta area, contact me at Activcore Druid Hills to schedule an appointment.

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this post are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.

Dr. Erica Dekle

Physical Therapist
Erica Dekle is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) who is passionate about all aspects of exercise, sports rehabilitation (especially for swimmers), and women's health for pregnant and postpartum moms. She works at Activcore in Atlanta, Georgia, located just 2 miles from Emory University.


Should I See A Physical Therapist During and After Pregnancy?

I would argue that most, if not all women, would absolutely benefit from physical therapy during and after pregnancy. Your abdomen and your pelvic floor undergo significant trauma throughout the 9-month pregnancy and birthing journey. Your muscles are stretched, atrophied, cut through, and scar tissue forms.


Get To Know Me: Dr. Erica Dekle

Yes this blog post is all about me. But really it's more about how I can help you. I always felt drawn to the healthcare field, but physical therapy didn't jump out to me initially. There were a few different facets of my life that blended to push me towards PT. I have always had a passion for fitness growing up in sports, as well as swimming in college.


Low Pressure Fitness: Pelvic Health 2.0

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a prevalent health concern that can impact people of all genders and ages. While there are several approaches to address this issue, one emerging practice that takes pelvic health to a new level is called Low Pressure Fitness (LPF). As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I will often implement LPF into my plans of care...