Diaphragmatic Breathing is Very Impactful for Sports and Low Back Pain:

Breathing is an extremely important part of stabilizing your core and can become a vital tool when attempting to lift a lot of weight. Your spine is stabilized by a lot of different musculature to ensure that it does not get damaged when a large load is placed through it. Diaphragmatic breathing engages the diaphragm muscle, located just below the lungs. Unlike shallow chest breathing, which is common during stressful situations, diaphragmatic breathing involves the expansion of the abdomen as you inhale and the contraction of the abdomen as you exhale.

One of the key benefits of diaphragmatic breathing is that it helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. This can lead to improved mental clarity and reduced anxiety. Additionally, deep breathing increases oxygen intake, enhancing the efficiency of oxygen utilization throughout the body. Core stability refers to the strength and control of the muscles surrounding the spine and pelvis. The core includes not only the abdominal muscles but also the diaphragm, pelvic floor, and lower back muscles. These muscles work together to provide support and stability for the entire body.

These muscles can all work together to create an environment where pressure can be used to sustain a much larger force than they would be able to on their own. Very interesting studies have found about 80% of people suffering from chronic low back pain had a lack of an active diaphragm contributing to regular breathing patterns. Imagine then, an athlete battling back issues and how impactful a lack of diaphragmatic breathing can be with the demands of athletic movements and forces on their low back and allowing further development of back pain.


Check out this video on Diaphragmatic Breathing:

Diaphragmatic Breathing Video


The Diaphragm is Crucial:

Consider the core shaped like a soda can- the abdominal muscles and obliques making up the front and sides, the erector lumbar muscles making the back of the soda can, the pelvic floor making the bottom, and the Diaphragm making the top.

If a soda can is unopened and there is no break in the system then it is extremely strong and can withstand a lot of force. If the can were attempted to be crushed or even stood on top of it could hold up when it is unopened. However, if the top of the soda can is allowed to be opened then the environment is no longer stable and there is a “leak” in the internal pressure that can be created. This would allow the soda can to be easily crushed when any significant force is applied to it.  This shows that the strength of the soda can was not its material but rather the pressurized environment the material was able to create. 

This applies directly to your spine but now instead of the walls of the soda can it is the abdominal wall and core muscles that create the sides, the bottom is created by the pelvic floor, and the top by the diaphragm, where breathing comes into play. The ability to control your diaphragm and subsequently your breathing will allow you to control the pressurized environment in your abdominal cavity. 

When lifting, especially during squatting, take a big breath at the top of the motion to build the pressurized environment and thus stabilize the spine. Then while holding your breath and maintaining the pressure drop down into the motion. Initiate coming up with the breath held and with slow control let air out as you come to the top of the motion. 

Training your diagram can start with simple breathing exercises like this one here. Check it out and start applying it to your lifts, breath big to lift big.

Diaphragmatic breathing and core stability are the unsung heroes of overall well-being and physical fitness. By mastering the control and contributions of the diaphragm with breathing and strengthening your core, you not only enhance your physical performance but also reduce stress, improve posture, and prevent injuries. Make these practices a part of your daily routine, and you’ll experience a profound transformation in your health and vitality. Remember, it all starts with a deep breath and a strong core.

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