Breathing isn’t sexy. It’s not intense, infomercial-worthy, or high-five inducing. It won’t sell gatorade or trucks. (Except to Sue Falsone. Mention the diaphragm within ear shot of this woman and she’ll gas up the van and drive you to Disneyland after the Superbowl).
It’s seeming mundaneness shouldn’t allow it to be ignored. Stop breathing for a minute and see how it feels. Not pleasant. Now breath as weird as possible for a minute. Not fun either. This is what your body’s been going through for YEARS trying to clean up your messy habits.
90% of the population breathes from the ribs, neck, and upper body, and they have the scalenes and limited range of motion to prove it. Ever watch a baby breathe? He’s got it right. All gut. He also has no idea what self-consciousness is.
Take the following pictures:
The first one is by far the most thin looking. This is anterior pelvic tilt, and a partial reason why so may people encourage this positioning. Unfortunately, most people will want to look good far before they want to feel good and move without pain. This is based on the belief that looking hot will cure our problems and get us what we want. But that’s for another post.
The second picture is in neutral pelvis, hole squished.
The third and least visually appealing picture is with a belly breath.
(I’m sure I could get this bigger… camera shy).
Learn to get comfortable living in picture two and three. It really is good for you. I try my best not to be hypocritical to the advice I give, so that’s why I put these pictures of myself on the interwebz. Here I am, dozens of you. Pseudo-comfortable.
Here are some aerial shots of the same phenomena:
Exhlaled. Just do it ish. Inhaled. I love bread.
More proof of “let it be-ness”?
Double chinin’ it.
The official term in the fitness industry is ‘packing the neck’. The top of your head through your hips should be in one straight, strong line when attempting to lift heavy things or cultivate a confident, functional posture. I often cue this by saying “tuck your chin into your throat”.
I mean this. Not this.
When squatting and deadlifting, keep your head in alignment with your spine. DO NOT LOOK UP like so many of us were taught. If you must focus on a target, MOVE YOUR EYES, NOT YOUR HEAD. (Thanks, Charlie Weingroff). No kinks in the chain.
With upper body movement, especially single arm work, try to rotate your neck at the hardest part of the movement to be sure you’re not using your neck when your shoulders, abs, and/or back muscles should be doing the work. You should be able to look left and right freely if the neck is just doing it’s posture work. If you can turn the neck or it’s hard, you’re cheating. The neck is doing strength work it wasn’t designed for.
- Get fat through your belly when breathing.
- Pack the neck and double chin it
- Keep the top of your head through your hips in a straight line
- You should be able to turn your head when moving things with your arms