How to Breathe Yourself Stronger

How to Breathe Yourself Stronger

Editors note: We have a guest post today from Chris Gibson BSc CSCS of Frontier Performance in Exeter who has been working to make clients from general population to athletes stronger and healthier for 15 years. We like the way he does things and think you will too!

Over the course of a normal day we breathe over 20,000 times. Now that’s a lot of breathing, all of which is done subconsciously. But here’s the thing, improper breathing patterns can reinforce poor posture, diminish mobility and have a negative impact on performance.

So how do we improve our breathing patterns, and tap into the many benefits?

The answer is in diaphragmatic breathing. By breathing with your diaphragm, gas exchange in your lungs will be more efficient; your breathing rate will slow; your nervous system will relax; circulation and digestion are aided; your immune system is boosted; you have a heightened sense of well being and finally, the diaphragm contributes to good posture and core muscle strength.

In order for us to understand how breathing can help us add some kgs to the bar, produce more power and move more efficiently, we first need to look at a couple of poor breathing patterns that are all too common.

1 - Chest Breathing 2 - Belly Breathing 3 - 360 degree diaphragmatic breathing

1 – Chest Breathing
2 – Belly Breathing
3 – 360 degree diaphragmatic breathing

The first two photos show 2 common poor breathing patterns we see regularly here at Frontier Performance.

1 – Chest Breathing: What we can clearly see here is those big chest breaths often cause an excessive lordosis in the lumbar spine and an anterior tilt in the hips.

2 – Belly Breathing: Again we see excessive lumbar lordosis and an anterior pelvic tilt.

Both these breathing patterns put the spine and pelvis in a compromised position. Loading these patterns would mean that we transfer force inefficiently and are at a greater risk of injury.

3 – The third photo shows correct breathing, creating circumferential expansion of the trunk (a 360 degree breath). By creating pressure through the lower back, abdominals, obliques, then up into the chest and upper back and then bracing we place the spine in a stronger, healthier position for maximum performance. Knowing how to breath properly and brace your spine will make a huge difference to your lifts.

A drill we like to use with all our clients here at Frontier Performance to teach this diaphragmatic breathing is the 90/90 breathing drill. This drill teaches the breathing pattern before we progress to strengthening it. It allows the client to get kinaesthetic feedback from the floor ensuring correct positioning. Check out this video by Quinn Henoch of Darkside Strength coaching the drill and give it a go.


Spend some time trying to master this simple breathing drill and watch your lifts shoot up! It could be the missing link in your strength and even health and wellness. Do not underestimate the power of a high quality breath. If you want to find out more about Chris or Frontier Performance visit their website here.