Do you ever stop to think about how efficient your breathing is?
I’ll place my bets on “probably not”.
Yet breath is the subject of many scientific studies and research, including the basis of the The Postural Restoration Institute (PRI)’s work. I’m not in any way affiliated with PRI but I remember they exploded into the fitness and strength coaching scene a few years ago with what seemed like mind-boggling magic.
As a Pilates instructor, I loved how breathing mechanics was suddenly the “cool kid” on the block, and it also made me respect Joseph Pilates (the founder of the Pilates method) even more because the man pioneered a lot of breathing techniques before the research was even around. He not only explored breath’s impact on physical preparation and movement his entire life, but he made breathing the primary pillar of the Pilates method.
This is why breathing is central to Pilates and my upcoming signature program Pilates FloWOD. But more importantly, good breathing techniques gives us more power, stability and control when we lift heavy weights.
What’s breath got to do with it?
Dysfunctional breathing patterns has made a mess out of our bodies, and we probably only use about 30% of our actual breathing capacity.
That’s because breathing is so automatic that we rarely think about it. Yet, it’s important to note all the big [muscle] players involved in functional breathing: The diaphragm, transversus abdominis (TA), multifidus, obliques and pelvic floor all play a critical role in our breathing. (I left out “lungs” because, well, duh.)
Dysfunctional breathing then creates a lot of inefficiencies in our movement patterns and triggers other surrounding muscles (think the chest, shoulders and neck) to fill in for the A-players. Basically we’re sending in the wrong guys for the job, which is how we end up with neck and shoulder problems, SI joint and low back issues, and hip pain, just to name a few.
PRI popularized breathing enough that coaches now integrate a lot of breathing drills into clients’ programming, which is cool. Except “drills” to me is the equivalent doing chores and I have a lot of clients who’d rather skip it and get to the exercise part.
The Foundation Series is a 3-part training video series included in the upcoming Pilates FloWOD program. In this first video, I’m diving into the concept of 3D breathing and how it translates into fitness, and more specifically, lifting heavy weights.
Watch this video and follow some of the exercises with it to start rebuilding your breathing patterns. Then, sign up for the Pilates FloWOD pre-sale list to be the first to get the program before it launches to the public.