man breathing

Are You Breathing Correctly?

Are You Breathing Correctly?

Breathing is something we all do everyday and all day long. We actually take roughly around 20,000 breaths a day. With that many a day there are specific mechanics that make breathing the most optimal for us and help us stay out of those incorrect forms which can cause issues later.

How do we optimally breathe?

From within our bodies, what we want to see is our diaphragm drop down so that our lungs can fill up with air. This will make our abdomen expand outward. This is actually the way we are designed to breathe.

When breathing like this you will want to make sure you allow your abdomen to expand naturally while filling with air. Think about the stomach as a balloon, we want to have the air fill our stomachs for a complete 360 degrees.

How To Practice

Consciously practicing the right mechanics by doing 10 breaths every hour will start to integrate the proper breathing mechanics into everyday life.

Important keys to remember while practicing these breaths would be to make sure you keep the chest from rising. The best way to prevent the chest from doing too much work is to push the air down into your belly upon inhalation.

While practicing, we really want the diaphragm to be the driver of the breaths while the chest is just along for the ride. Inhaling through the nose we should see the expansion of the stomach, while upon exhalation we should see the stomach drop and relax.

Trying to practice this way of breathing every hour of the day will help change the pattern of your breathing. Eventually, you will practice enough that you will not have to think about pushing your belly out and you will be breathing in the most optimal pattern for your body.

Using Your Belly to Help Your Core

When you have great breathing mechanics then you can start to discover the world of intra-abdominal pressure. This is something that is essential for humans in the ability to stabilize our spine.

What is Intra-abdominal Pressure?

Generating intra-abdominal pressure builds off of having the proper breathing mechanics. When we take a deep breath in it activates our diaphragm to move downward. This pushes our belly out and creates pressure within our abdomen. We can also do this through muscular activation.

Pushing our diaphragm down is like pushing a piston down in the cylinder of a car. That will create pressure between our organs, the fluid in our abdomen and anything in between the diaphragm and the pelvic floor.

Generating this intra-abdominal pressure will look like instead of sucking our belly inward, we will push the belly out. This is what humans are designed to do and it is how we are meant to stabilize our low back and our trunk.

How Do We Generate Intra-abdominal Pressure?

When learning intra-abdominal pressure, we often teach what it feels like to do the opposite. Laying on your back, suck your belly in and create that less than ideal strategy of stabilization. From there, do the exact opposite and push your belly out in all directions and create that nice barrel of stability around your trunk.

If you put your hands just above your hips and generate that intra-abdominal pressure, you should feel your belly expand into your hands. Another key component to generating this pressure while laying down is you should feel your low back expand into the table. With all these components combined, you should also feel some nice pressure building within your abdomen.

Core Engagement Through Intra-abdominal Pressure

Now that we know how to generate intra-abdominal pressure, we are going to learn to start using this activation within our exercises.

The Deadbug

For this exercise, we are still going to use the same concepts we have learned about how to generate intra-abdominal pressure.

Starting on your back you are going to push your belly out in all directions. Once we have that good pressure we are then going to raise our legs in the air while keeping our knees bent. Our arms will come straight up and sit right over top of our shoulders.

There are a lot of different activities to do from this position. We just have to respect a couple rules.

  1. Keeping the belly pushed out

  2. Keep the back flat on the table

As long as those rules are respected we can start to challenge ourselves and our trunk positioning more by moving our arms and legs.

Other Exercises

Once we get really good at doing those dead bug exercises and we respect those rules, we can move forward and start trying different exercises.

RDL or Stiff Leg Deadlift

Just like how we practice the pressure in our belly while in that dead bug position, we want that same pressure while performing the RDL.

With a kettlebell, maintain that pressure in the belly and lower the kettlebell to the ground with a slight bend in the legs. Doing these exercises will further challenge the stability of our trunk.

The main takeaway for this exercise is that we need pressure in our belly while we lift. The second takeaway is to be sure we are maintaining the appropriate form while lifting.

By Published On: January 24th, 2023Categories: Chiropractic0 Comments on Are You Breathing Correctly?

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