I wanted to do a big post about breathing, bracing, pelvic floor connection and more. As I went to create images and videos for this, I realized that there is SO much to talk about. So we are going to break this up into chunks! This week, we address breathing correctly, next week we will talk about bracing (or the Valsalva Maneuver) and after that - address movement and pelvic floor connection.
Breathing correctly is important because it helps with body alignment, posture, regulating heart rate, oxygen flow, sleep, mental clarity, muscle function - Oh I could go on! You get the point.
When we think about breathing as it relates to exercise - it becomes even more important - it helps us keep a neutral spine and helps us fully engage through our core (abdominals, pelvic floor, glutes and lower back). Correct breathing leads to increased strength and injury prevention.
Learning how to breathe:
Stacking your Spine
Stand with your feet under your hips, take a deep breath in. Does only your chest rise and push forward? Try this - squeeze your bum and quads. Good.
Now as you breathe in, think about air filling up into your hip capsule.
Air fills your hips, continues to fill into your belly and back and lastly your chest. Now exhale.
If you did that correctly - your chest (being the last part to rise) should feel like it has expanded forwards, but also side to side and to the back!
Another way to connect to your breathing
Let's try the same principals as step 1, but lying down.
In a supine (on your back) position, tilt your pelvis forward. This means that your lower back is pressing firmly on the ground.
Now breathe in, keeping your back on the ground. Placing a hand on your belly, feel your stomach rise as you inhale (bonus points if you can get more pressure on the ground with your lower back).
Exhale, maintaining your flat back on the ground.
Translating to exercise
Practice Step 1, once you're comfortable with breathing into your belly (and back), practice breathing in as you go through the eccentric portion of the lift and breathing out as you move through the concentric portion.
- Coach Lisa