Breathing is important and you should practice it more often…

Seventy9 Sports Therapy, injury clinic, Farnham, physiotherapy, sports massage, injury prevention, rehabilitation, sports therapy, therapies, injury, massage, exercise, movement, strength, breathing, breathe, inspiratory muscle training, IMT, POWERbreathe

Breathing is important and you should practice it more often...

This video from @owaindoull perfectly highlights just how hard our breathing mechanism is working under exercise stress. You can also see how many times per minute we are engaging that mechanism.

Important to note how his whole rib cage is expanding, rather than just pushing his belly out. A common fault when learning to breathe more efficiently is to neglect the expansion of the rib cage in favour of pushing the belly out. This allows the diaphragm to move but does not fully expand the lungs. If we don’t expand the lungs, we drive the breath increasingly more shallow, leading to “upper chest breathing” where the shoulders elevate - often causing scapula dysfunction and neck tension - and we increase our breathing rate (hyperventilation) to offset the lack of overall breathing volume.

Additionally, if your sport requires extreme positions - cycling/triathlon, skiing, hockey, flat water kayaking, etc - then we should train our breathing mechanism in those positions. The time trial position that Owain is adopting will create a stressful position for his diaphragm, taxing his breathing patterns further (Charlton et al, 2017).

We approach this issue by training better breathing patterns in a low load/controlled environment before layering exposure to breathing stress, therefore allowing the basic mechanism to become an automatic process prior to exposure to exercise.  In addition to this, assessing/diagnosing and treating areas around the ribcage/neck/1st rib that are tight and restrictive often helps to reduce breathing restriction and allow space for better mechanics to be learnt and drilled.

As well as developing better breathing patterns, inspiratory muscle training has been highlighted as a method for improving breathing performance in athletes.  Tools such as the POWERbreathe allow a calibrated and quantifiable inspiratory load that can be applied in both relaxed stance and the extreme positions found in certain sports.  Think of it as a gym for your lungs!

Find yourself short of breath or hard to relax your shoulders during exercise? Maybe it’s the way you breathe? Why not email us or book an appointment to find out how we can help with our range of treatments including sports massage in surrey.


Further Reading:


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Charlton, J.M., Ramsook, A.H., Mitchell, R.A., Hunt, M.A., Puyat, J.H., Guenette, J.A., 2017. Respiratory Mechanical and Cardiorespiratory Consequences of Cycling with Aerobars. Med Sci Sports Exerc 49, 2578–2584.
Dickinson, J., Amirav, I., Hostrup, M., 2018. Nonpharmacologic Strategies to Manage Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am 38, 245–258.
Dickinson, J., Whyte, G., McConnell, A., 2007. Inspiratory muscle training: a simple cost‐effective treatment for inspiratory stridor. Br J Sports Med 41, 694–695.
Faghy, M.A., Brown, P.I., 2016. Training the inspiratory muscles improves running performance when carrying a 25 kg thoracic load in a backpack. European Journal of Sport Science 16, 585–594.
Griffin, S.A., Walsted, E.S., Hull, J.H., 2018. Breathless athlete: exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction. Br J Sports Med 52, 1211–1212.
Hartz, C.S., Sindorf, M.A.G., Lopes, C.R., Batista, J., Moreno, M.A., 2018. Effect of Inspiratory Muscle Training on Performance of Handball Athletes. J Hum Kinet 63, 43–51.
Janssens, L., McConnell, A.K., Pijnenburg, M., Claeys, K., Goossens, N., Lysens, R., Troosters, T., Brumagne, S., 2015. Inspiratory muscle training affects proprioceptive use and low back pain. Med Sci Sports Exerc 47, 12–19.
Karsten, M., Ribeiro, G.S., Esquivel, M.S., Matte, D.L., 2018. The effects of inspiratory muscle training with linear workload devices on the sports performance and cardiopulmonary function of athletes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Physical Therapy in Sport 34, 92–104.
Mendes, L.P., Moraes, K.S., Hoffman, M., Vieira, D.S., Ribeiro-Samora, G.A., Lage, S.M., Britto, R.R., Parreira, V.F., 2018. Effects of Diaphragmatic Breathing With and Without Pursed-Lips Breathing in Subjects With COPD. Respir Care.
Menezes, K.K.P. de, Nascimento, L.R., Ada, L., Avelino, P.R., Polese, J.C., Alvarenga, M.T.M., Barbosa, M.H., Teixeira-Salmela, L.F., 2018. High-intensity respiratory muscle training improves strength and dyspnea after stroke: a double-blind randomized trial. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
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Papp, M.E., Henriques, M., Biguet, G., Wändell, P.E., Nygren-Bonnier, M., 2018. Experiences of hatha yogic exercises among patients with obstructive pulmonary diseases: A qualitative study. J Bodyw Mov Ther 22, 896–903.
Poulsen, M.K., Thomsen, L.P., Mifsud, N.L., Nielsen, N.-P.B., Jørgensen, R.M., Kjærgaard, S., Karbing, D.S., 2015. Electrical activity of the diaphragm during progressive cycling exercise in endurance-trained men. Respir Physiol Neurobiol 205, 77–83.
Shei, R., Chapman, R.F., Gruber, A.H., Mickleborough, T.D., 2018. Inspiratory muscle training improves exercise capacity with thoracic load carriage. Physiol Rep 6.
Walsted, E.S., Faisal, A., Jolley, C.J., Swanton, L.L., Pavitt, M.J., Luo, Y.-M., Backer, V., Polkey, M.I., Hull, J.H., 2018. Increased respiratory neural drive and work of breathing in exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction. J. Appl. Physiol. 124, 356–363.
Wirth, B., Ferreira, T.D., Mittelholzer, M., Humphreys, B.K., Boutellier, U., 2016. Respiratory muscle endurance training reduces chronic neck pain: A pilot study. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil 29, 825–834.
Yong, M.-S., Lee, Y.-S., Lee, H.-Y., 2018. Effects of breathing exercises on resting metabolic rate and maximal oxygen uptake. J Phys Ther Sci 30, 1173–1175.