Babies are perfect. Many of the qualities or behaviors that babies display are uncorrupted, unadulterated, and natural. Their ability to perfectly squat, roll over, digest, breath, crawl, as well as make the most grumpy person smile is noting short of spectacular. There is a growing movement toward the inclusion of “primal movements” in personal training and group fitness classes (to those who take my classes, that’s what you call “foreshadowing”). Primal movements are just what they sound; movements that humans have not only been doing since the beginning of time but movements or behaviors that are the first things that we learn as babies. Those movements and behaviors are what I want to talk about in this series. The first, is also the most important “primal movement” you do and it technically isn’t a movement at all; per se.
How do you breath? I mean physically breath. Are you a chest breather or a belly breather? Stop reading and take three normal breaths. I’ll wait. The majority of you are chest breathers. I’m a chest breather, I can admit it but I pledge to change that, and I’ll tell you why. The diaphragm is your “prime” mover when it comes to breathing; your prime movers are the muscles that do the most work during a movement or action and your assister muscles, the ones that help out, when breathing are your external intercostal muscles and internal intercostal muscles (the muscles in between your ribs). If you are a chest breather you use mostly intercostal muscles and less diaphragm, if you are a belly breather you use your diaphragm more. It makes sense to use the prime mover more than the others, does it not? What does this have to do with a baby you ask? Ever watched a baby breath while sleeping or laying on his/her back? Is it their chest or belly that raises up and down? Most of the time it will be very distinctly their stomach. Your diaphragm is located just below your lunges. It pulls your lunges down and sucks air into your lunges. That action of the diaphragm pulling down pushes you lower visceral organs (intestines, stomach, liver ect) out; making your belly stick out. This accentuation of the “gut” may be a huge reason why we move away from being belly breathers. Take another three normal breaths and pay attention to how much air you can take in (don’t cheat and belly breath if you didn’t before), now take three breaths and in-vision that your are breathing air into your stomach. Which method allowed you to take the deeper breath? If it wasn’t the belly breathing you did something wrong. Haha just kidding, but really I think you might have, try sitting up tall. The ability to breath is essential to life. No breath means no life. So being able to maximize your breath should be something that takes precedence over appearance. I know, I hate how my belly sticks out when I belly breath too. But if it means being able to take in more air (oxygen) to allow me to work, train or be active longer in duration (both in a workout and life) I’ll give it a try. Hey, I’ll try anything once, twice if it tastes good. I know it seems like a pretty small inconsequential thing to change but we need to start with our foundation. Breathing allows life.
Whats that; your trainer always harps on “keep a tight core”? And belly breathing feels like your core is loose. Having a tight or engaged core is important but there is more to a strong core than just abdominal and postural muscles. What is interesting is that having full or partially lungs, like you should at the bottom of a squat, actually provides intera-abdominal pressure which causes core stability. Breath is the glue that holds it all together.
So breathing is the foundation, where do we go from here? Well if the first thing that you do when you are born is breath, the next movement you do is as primal as it gets (get your mind out of the gutter!). You roll over. Rolling is an amazingly simple concept but is also shockingly difficult to do as we get older and start letting our limbs do all of the work. I’ll tell you what I’m talking about next time.
Again, Thanks for reading
(King Cobra Fit)