As some of you may know, Ryan and I met each other years ago at a seminar all about diaphragmatic breathing. We walked away with a lot of good information, but weren’t sure the best way to implement it and still give members the type of workouts they were asking for.
What we finally landed on was incorporating breathing into the end of workouts as a cool down. The problem we encountered, however, was there often wasn’t enough time to adequately explain to people how to do the breathing to get the most out of it, and people would also have to leave at a particular time. As a result breath work was often left out, or at least not well understood by our members.
The solution (which, embarrassingly, only took 2 ½ years to think of)? Do it at the beginning.
Generally speaking, most people tend to breathe into their upper rib cage, leading them to flare their ribs out (think Superman pose), which leads to an ineffective position for bracing their core. They also tend to walk around in a chronic state of inhalation.
I know what you’re thinking: “How can 1 minute of breathing fix these issues?”
Spending some time focusing on your breathing gives you an idea of where it is coming from and how to breathe from your diaphragm instead of your upper rib cage. Keeping the tempo we emphasize helps even more – 3 seconds in, 6 seconds out, and holding the exhale for 3 seconds. The deep exhale forces you to use deep core muscles to try to get all the air out. Holding the exhale helps combat that chronically inhaled state. Frequent work on this helps change your rib cage position and let you utilize your core the best way possible.
Ideally everyone would also incorporate this same breath work at the end of workouts in order to get the body out of “fight or flight mode”. Outside of the gym it would be great to breathe like this for a minute or a few minutes right before bed. Your body will gradually start to feel less stressed and recover better, as well as have improved posture and enhanced recovery.
It may seem a little weird, but long story short, we’re working on breathing because we want you to be the strongest, healthiest, and lowest stress version of yourself possible. So lie down, breathe deep, and get ready to get the most out of your workouts.