Breathing properly to brace properly

“Stay tight through the midline!” – Jason Highbarger

Maintaining rigidity through the midline while performing lifts is crucial. With a rigid and strong core, power can be efficiently transferred from the upper to lower body. However, if the core is not properly braced, lifts will probably suck and injuries are much more likely to occur. So the million-dollar question is…how does one brace properly? The answer is a simple: breathe properly.

By breathing properly, all the layers of the core – superficial and deep – will be engaged and tight resulting in a natural weightlifting belt that’s already attached to your body, your core. This will allow you to be more rigid and efficient in your transfer of energy from upper to lower body. This breathing is most applicable to any barbell lifting (snatch, clean and jerk, squat, deadlift, press, etc.), as many gymnastic movements require a hollow position.

Proper breathing utilizes the diaphragm to draw air and create pressure in the core. My chiropractor/DNS-geek/friend, Jen Nelson, has been fixing me for the last 2 months. Almost all my issues were the result of breathing using my chest, rather than my diaphragm. As we’ve fixed my breathing, many of the other issues have solved themselves. That may not be the case for everyone, but correcting poor breathing patterns will only benefit you.

You can easily practice your breathing by placing your hands on your stomach. Take a deep breath; as you breathe in, your hands should move out. Another way to practice it is to lay down flat on the ground with a medball or other weighted object on your stomach. From there, imagine breathing into your stomach and making the medball rise on inhale and fall during exhale.

Learning to use your diaphragm will help you maintain tension in your core during lifting. This will allow you to lift more weight and avoid injury better. Improper breathing patterns can cause a multitude of other issues, which may seem unrelated to breathing. Breathe into your stomach and reap the benefit of actually using your core in the way it was intended.

How to Breathe Properly During Squats

In this short video, California Strength Head Strength Coach, Ernie Hernandez, explains how we teach our athletes and lifters to breathe during squats and big lifts. You want to take a deep breath using your diaphragm before the lift, which helps to increase intra-abdominal pressure and provide extra support to stabilize the spine and brace your core.

Crossfit Watsonville



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