The way we breathe plays a huge part in how good (or bad) our posture is (all the time, 24/7). It doesn’t matter if we’re sitting, standing, moving, running, or even laying down. The technique in this article will help you improve both your breathing efficiency and your posture.
Incorporating these effective breathing strategies into your everyday habits will not be easy, but it’s very attainable. Anything’s possible, especially this. Especially if you want to be successful in this battle against stubborn, chronic repetitive strain injuries.
Stick with this technique and it will eventually become second nature. Once it does, the way you breathe will be one of the most effective force multipliers in building a strong abdomen and improving your posture. This will eventually become a habit for you and you won’t have to remember to do it. Since you breathe 24 hours a day, imagine strengthening your core and maintaining your posture with every breath you take. Not just when you’re in the gym.
There’s an old misconception that your belly should expand when you inhale and contract when you exhale. However, when your belly expands, it disengages your core muscles from supporting your body (putting unnecessary strain on your back, neck, shoulders, hips, basically everything).
More Logical Perspective
When you take a deep breath, your lungs expand and fill up with air. But take a look at where the lungs are located in this image.
You’ll notice that the lungs are actually located inside the chest, not the belly. In fact, your lungs barely extend a little farther south below the bottom of your heart. Most people don’t realize how high up their lungs really are.
Now look at what’s located inside your belly. Small intestine, large intestine, bladder, kidneys, etc. None of these body parts have any reason to expand when taking a deep breath. Your lungs, located inside your chest, are the only things taking in the air.
Therefore, focus on keeping your ab muscles engaged instead of letting your belly expand. At the same time, let your chest expand (instead of your belly) when you breathe in. Keep your ab muscles engaged both when breathing in and out. Imagine that you are pulling your belly button toward your spine as hard as you can.
Before we learn the breathing technique, we must make sure our posture is solid. This breathing technique is easiest to learn when standing…
1. Stand up straight, knees relaxed and slightly bent
2. Leg muscles strong, supporting the majority of your body weight
3. Make sure your lower back has a slight lumbar curve in it
4. Head should be directly over rib cage (not leaned forward or back)
5. Eyes looking directly ahead of you (not up or down to any degree whatsoever)
6. Shrug your shoulders straight up directly towards your ears
7. Then pull your shoulders straight back (behind you) as far as they’ll go
8. Finally, pull your shoulders down toward the floor far as they’ll go, lock them in
9. You should feel the muscles in your mid-back tense up right between the scapulas
Improve Your Posture by Breathing More Effectively
Now, you’re ready to breathe correctly…
1. Begin to breathe in deeply through your nose
2. While you breathe in, allow your chest and lungs to fill with air and expand
3. At the same time, keep your belly button pulled in towards your spine as tight as you possibly can
4. When you’re ready to exhale, breathe out through your mouth
5. While exhaling, let your chest return to the normal size it was before you started to inhale
6. Keep your core engaged and your belly button pulled in towards your spine the entire time
If you’re doing it correctly, you shouldn’t be able to see your belly button at all (if you glance down). Your chest should be sticking out in front of your abdomen just far enough so that you can’t see it.
This technique can also be incorporated into your everyday routine when sitting, driving, exercising, etc. It’s just easiest to learn while standing up straight with correct posture. This force multiplier should definitely be incorporated into your workouts.
Once this breathing technique becomes second nature to you, you’ll notice significant gains in core strength and posture. It’ll even appear like you have less of that stubborn mid-section fat.