Strengthen Your Breath Muscles with this Simple Drill

I’m a huge fan of breathing.

I’m fairly sure I’m not alone in this, after all, more people do it than don’t….

Bad jokes aside, it’s kind of a big deal.

Most don’t appreciate just how important breathing well is.

Which is why I harp on about it so much.

The whole breath training idea was given to me by my Karate instructor, Jack Parker.

Expect to hear a lot about Jack over the next while, he’s the reason I had to run off to England over the weekend.

But about 25 years ago, Jack taught us all a breathing drill he’d got from a Yoga teacher. Since then the subject has never been far from my mind.


breathing-with-the-diaphragm

Of late I’ve been spending more and more time trying to get our Thai Boxers to breathe better so they can increase work output and improve recovery time.

Not only that, I’ve been using breathing and breath control to reset peoples shoulders.

Almost everyone I know has either pain or tightness, often both, in their shoulders, upper traps and even the neck.

Often this tightness restricts their shoulder range of motion, maybe encourages them to carry the head forwards and may cause pain when they do a pressing exercise.

This tightness can be hard to release, after all, who wants to foam roll their neck?

But once we realise that the person with the pain & tightness is also breathing high into the chest, which means their using the tight muscles to inhale with. We can do something about it.

Teaching people to breath into their diaphragm is relatively quick and has an almost instantaneous effect on the shoulders.

But drilling the correct breathing into a habit, takes a little more work.

This is one of the drills we use to dial in better breathing. It probably has a fancy name, but I just call it Loaded Diaphragm Breathing.

Have a look at Jamie, a competitive Mountain Biker practising the drill:


He’s got an 8kg kettlebell there, enough weight to stimulate him but not enough to cause compensation.

And that’s key.

Too little weight may not give enough stimulation, too much will prevent the correct mechanics developing.