You know what workout advice I give to my clients the most often?
It’s staggering just how many people fail to do something as simple and vital as breathing. But try to maintain your systematic breathing while holding weight or controlling motion is often more difficult than it sounds.
Here’s a test: Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Put one hand under the small of your back and the other on tip of your stomach. Tighten your abs like you’re about to get punched in the gut and press your back into the hand on the ground as hard as you can. Now Breath. Not down through your diaphragm, but up through your ribcage. Now try it without the hand under your back. How about with your legs flat on the ground?
The movement of locking your abs in position is called an abdominal brace. Whether you feel it or not, that is the very first thing that happens when you make any kind of movement. Any kind. Your core musculature locks in position and allows the transfer of power between the upper and lower body. If you can’t maintain your breathing in a simple fixed position, how do you expect to do it while concentrating on a dozen other pieces of a movement. Simple, you can’t. You have to practice expanding your ribcage and not just breathing down through your stomach as part of either your warmup or cooldown or simply when you’re lying in bed. Making it a habit will ease the stress on your body during workouts and most other activities.
Jaime Gamache M.Ed., CSCS, is Owner and Head Strength Coach at The Way Human Performance Institute. Follow us also on Facebook and Twitter. Any questions or requests for future topics, please email firstname.lastname@example.org