Exercise Tip of the Week - Think Breaths as Reps for Core Exercises

It is common to see many core exercises prescribed for time. This is not wrong, but we feel there is a more effective way to get the most out of these exercises. Here at Iron Lion, we teach our clients to think of each breath as a rep when they perform core exercises. This has increased our clients awareness of their rib positioning and put them in better alignment to transmit force.  

A main role of the core musculature is to transmit force. To do this, alignment is crucial. Imagine trying to pour a bottle of water with a hole at the top into a glass. Yes, you would lose a lot of water. Well, if our core is not positioned properly we will lose a lot of energy. That energy will go somewhere, and usually it will be the lower back and hip flexors that pick up the slack. So before we start the set, we need to make sure we are positioned correctly so we can have effective breaths.  

Once we are positioned right, breathing mechanics become the focus. In proper breathing mechanics, one breathes into their belly; inhalation elevates the rib cage, while exhalation depresses the rib cage. This creates a rhythm and balance of the entire core musculature. Moreover, sound breathing activates these muscles and allows them to function properly.

During exhalation, the lower back should flatten out and the ribs will be pulled towards the floor. This exhale activates the rectus abdominus, internal obliques, transverse abdominals and internal intercostals, enabling the rib cage to depress and lock on to the pelvis. 

As you can see from in the video, the exhale ignites the aforementioned core musculature.