Breathing Dynamics and Exercise

Breathing Dynamics and Exercise

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Proper breathing is discussed and taught in many ways and forms. All of this is a step in the right direction, but what if the person physically can not lengthen tissues to expand certain key structures that are essential to the breathing mechanism? In the remote course, Breathing and the Diaphragm, Aparna Rajagopal and Leeann Taptich teach different methods to identify breathing patterns, dysfunctional breathers, and how to determine motor control issues from mobility or strength issues.

Breath is utilized widely in the exercise world. Pilates uses breath for core stability. Yoga utilizes breath to help connect the body. Strength and conditioning coaches and personal trainers emphasize breath to provide power to lift. Breathing mechanics, aka proper breathing, is also core to any type of abdominal exercise.

Respiratory muscles are directly involved in these core abdominal strengthening, stability, and stretching exercises (1). Research led by DePalo, way back in 1985, concluded that the diaphragm is actively recruited during resistance exercises such as sit-ups (2). Inefficient breathing can lead to muscular imbalances, and motor control changes that can affect motor quality. Therapists are taught at length about tissue and joint mobility versus motor control or strength issues. These same principles can be applied to assess and treat the diaphragm, breathing, and abdominals.

In regards to working with patients, Aparna shares, "Different cues work with different patients. While verbal and tactile cues to correct patterns can work with some of our patients, they do not necessarily work in all of our patients. We need different ways to correct patterns in patients that have a tissue or joint mobility issue. Such issues can cause restriction and force the patient to breathe in a specific way."

Aparna and Leeann deep dive into mobility and learn to assess and treat joint restrictions of the ribs and the thoracic spine during their remote course Breathing and the Diaphragm scheduled for October 23-24, 2021. These mobility techniques combined with specific motor control and strengthening exercises can improve myofascial restrictions that restrict breathing.

Breathing and the Diaphragm will help build a foundation to improve your patients' functional activities. No matter if it is coughing, having a bowel movement, performing wall ball in CrossFit, or hitting a tennis ball!



  1. Luca Cavaggioni, Lucio Ongaro, Emanuela Zannin, F. Marcello Iaia, Giampietro Alberti.Effects of different core exercises on respiratory parameters and abdominal strength. J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Oct; 27(10): 3249–3253. Published online 2015 Oct 30. doi: 10.1589/jpts.27.3249.
  2. DePalo VA, Parker AL, Al-Bilbeisi F, et al.: Respiratory muscle strength training with nonrespiratory maneuvers.J Appl Physiol 1985 2004, 96: 731–734.
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