The importance of diaphragmatic breathing

Diaphragm breath

The importance of diaphragmatic breathing

What is diaphragmatic breathing?

Diaphragm breath

Figure 1. Process of inhalation and exhalation

Diaphragmatic breathing is a technique aimed to help you strengthen your diaphragm, which makes up 80% of all breathing. The diaphragm is the primary muscle for inhalation and exhalation (see figure 1.). When the diaphragm is performing to its best capacity, it can increase oxygen and gas exchange within the body, thus increasing performance.


What effects can be seen using diaphragmatic breathing?

  • Anatomy of diaphragmatic breathingIncreases core stability which helps decrease the risk of certain injuries
  • Reduces the rate of breathing which helps conserve energy
  • Allows the body to tolerate more intense exercise
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Assists with arousal control during high pressure moments in sporting situations

What can I do to strengthen my diaphragm?

One way to help strengthen and control your diaphragm is a technique called ‘belly breathing’.

Start of by laying on your back with one hand on your chest and the other hand on your belly. Allow inhalation through the nose and ensure the belly is rising and your chest is as still as possible, this allows the diaphragm to contract.

Other options include:

  • Belly breathing in a seated position
  • Belly breathing laying on your stomach (prone position)

What injuries are associated with poor diaphragmatic breathing?

Lower back injuries may occur with an individual that has poor diaphragmatic breathing and poor core stability. This can present spontaneously in individuals during everyday activity or sport.

Another common presentation that can affect diaphragmatic breathing is poor posture. As we sit for long periods due to work or recreational time, individuals can start to compress the front part of their torso, causing a more upper breathing pattern.

If you are experiencing poor breathing patterns, or you simply want to improve your diaphragmatic breathing, wait no longer and book in now!


Post by: Physiotherapist  Ray Palencia