10 Things Breathing Patterns Tell Me About Your Body

I am a pretty simple guy. If something makes sense and it helps me become better at what I love to do so that I can help others do what they love to do, then I am all in! So often in our industry we get caught up in trying to justify everything that we do with boring detailed research and impressing others with how smart we are.

Well, let me be the first to burst your bubble. Clients could care less how smart you are or how much research you can read or show them. Remember to communicate with your clients in their language, not yours!

Clients usually have one of three goals or a combination of all three. (My opinion)

  1. Look good naked
  2. Win and be a champion
  3. Get out of pain so they can do #1 and #2

Simple really. If you can communicate to them WHY and HOW something will help them reach THEIR goals they will do it. When I teach proper breathing for optimizing performance invariably someone asks me how they can get a client to do this when all they want to do is workout. My answer: ‘If they knew what you knew about breathing and how critical it is to fitness and health do you think they would do it?’

Your job is to teach them in a language they can understand.

Now if I just want a quick go for the kill answer to a client that asked a question of why they should be breathing. They just want to train hard. I always ask, ‘How good to you want to be?’ (Insert their goal here). If you want to be your best and reach that goal this will help you get there faster. Enough said!

The points below will help you give a bit more details if needed. This post is not an anatomy lesson or a corrections protocol. That you must learn on your own. This is just a small glimpse into why YOU and YOUR client should care about breathing. If you have dysfunctional breathing patterns where the lungs and chest work too much and the diaphragm not enough, you will pay the price in poor performance and health. It’s that important!

Show me a champion and I will show you someone who owns their breathing.

  1. Labored breathing tells me you have an underlying stability problem and you will over tighten in the outer core to add stability. Tightness leads to inefficiency. Stability is the foundation of power!
  2. You lose endurance when you don’t maximize diaphragmatic breathing since you depend too heavily on the upper chest for air. You will tank out faster. Durability will start to really suck!
  3. Your ribcage loses mobility leading to alteration in lung capacity and altered shoulder mechanics. Can you say impingement?
  4. T-spine mobility is compromised leading to excessive movement in the thoracolumbar fascial matrix altering gait cycle power. Inefficient athlete using more to generate less.
  5. Your body will do everything to get air and at the cost of efficient movement. Respiration is automatic. Breathing is conscious based on emotions and actions.
  6. Increased tightness in your psoas and frontal flexion mechanism leading to ribcage approximation to the pelvis and feed forward head carriage. You lose hip extension power. Now the chain of pain begins and that’s BAD!
  7. Intraabdominal pressure is compromised and the inner core unit is dysfunctional. Stabilizers in your lower back and central core become inhibited leading to increased injury.
  8. Lose hip extension and gluteal activation from the forward flexion pattern and the lats become tight altering shoulder power. Then the lats feed into weakness and the pectoral over facilitate. Say hello rotator cuff tear and decreased throwing power.
  9. Lose the neck. Neck flexors go offline and you get the ‘chicken peck’ neck. Core stability is gone from inability to control the neck. Want headaches and constant neck tension/pain? This is how you get it.
  10.  Too much tension in the traps, not enough in the gut. The body must relocate tension to continue moving and it does not care where it has to go! Too much in the upper trap leads to inhibition in mid/lower and altered fascial lines of the arm lines.

So is breathing important? If you want to be a champion it is!

Optimal breathing is the SECRET WEAPON your clients need.

If they don’t use it….they LOSE!