Don't hold your breath...
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I began a new continuing education course. The coursework has been educational and beneficial. The information from the course has already caused a shift in some of the little things that we focus on on the clinic side and also on the strength side of the office.
The coursework began with what most would call "the basics" of rehab and exercise. There is no exercise more basic than breathing. Everyone does this exercise all day long. Typically at least 20,000 times in a day. That is a lot of breathing.
Breathing throughout the day is one thing, but the strategy that we use for our breath while exercising is a whole new thing. We spent an entire lecture focusing on using our breath to increase pressure and tension in our core to increase our stability. That core stability help to prevent potential injury, but it can also help to increase your strength during a challenging movement.
The easiest way to explain the rhythm of breathing during strength training exercises is simply to think about inhaling while resting and exhaling while exerting. For example, with a squat, you would inhale as you descend and exhale while you stand from the squatted position. To increase the benefit of the exhalation, think about pursing your lips and create resistance while you exhale. Exhaling forcefully through pursed lips, as if you are blowing out a candle on the other side of the room, will cause your core muscles to engage, which increases your stability.
We can also use our breath to improve our posture. Focusing on keeping our ribs stacked over our pelvis. Think of your abdomen as a tin can. When you go to the store would you rather grab a round can or one with a dent in it? If you were to stand on top of a round can do you think that it would break down? What if you stood on a can that had a dent in it? People have a tendency to extend their lumbar spine when they lift overhead. This creates an "open-scissor" position, which much like a dented can, creates an area of weakness. To prevent this, when you exhale think about pulling your ribs down and stacking them over your pelvis.
Next time, you lift anything heavy, focus on using your breath and posture to protect your lower back!
Stay tuned for more tips from my new certification!
Movement is my medicine,