January 5, 2023
Whether you’re still trying to recover from the holiday season or you’re living in a super frigid town, you might notice it is harder to access your diaphragm and breathe diaphragmatically.
What is diaphragmatic breathing? It’s breathing into the diaphragm muscle that sits underneath your ribs at the top of the abdominal cavity. When utilized correctly you feel your rib cage expand 360 degrees (front, back, side-to-side) when you inhale. The diaphragm descends down, pushing on your internal organs which push down your pelvic floor allowing the pelvic floor muscle to naturally relax. On an exhale, the pelvic floor recoils, internal organs shift back up into place, and the diaphragm returns to its original position. So the diaphragm and the pelvic floor work in concert together; moving down and up as you breathe.
Stress and tension can hold space in our spine which leads to tightness in the back. This can limit our ability to access the diaphragm and pushes us to breathe into our chest and our abs. If we can’t access the diaphragm and allow it to naturally expand, it can’t optimally work with the pelvic floor.
Spinal mobility drills can aid in diaphragmatic expansion. Here are some moves and active stretches you can tap into prior to your workouts to increase thoracic mobility and access the diaphragm. Here’s the quick protocol:
Before your next core or total-body workout, try a few of these moves to bring mobility to your back so you can improve your breathing which sets you up for more optimal performance.