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April 25, 2024

Breathe MotherF**ker‍

"Breathe MotherF**ker"

That is my favorite quote from the legend himself Wim Hof. Simple. Effective. Needed.

This week I am going to do a brief intro to breathing and its importance as well as breathing corrective we can do to make sure we do it effectively and help our biomechanics. More blogs to come on the different types of breathing correctives, different ways to breath and the importance of it from different perspectives other than just survival.

Breathing is one of the weirder things to me. It is something that probably no one thinks about for their entire lives (other than when you are maybe out of breath..) even though it is something you do approximately 15 time per minute, 900 time per hour, and 21,600 times per day.

So we dont think about something that we do 21,600 times per day…

I see blogs and social media posts about walking and the amount of steps you should be taking per day(some from me as well). HOWEVER, something we do twice as many reps of we never talk about. Weird right?!

Furthermore, without breathing you die. If you don't walk, your life sucks and is sad, but you don't die! 

Okay breathing is important, but why am I talking about it?

Simple answer is because it is one of the simplest ways we have to effect our body's chemistry and physiology. It can even help us biomechanically!

Those are big words that kinda mean nothing, so let me break this down

Our body is basically just a constant cascade of chemical reactions that happen harmoniously so we can live our lives. All those chemical reactions have limited inputs. Air, water, and food. From those inputs we are able to do everything from simple things like breathing to extraordinary difficult things like running ultramarathons. Regardless of what you are doing though, the inputs remain the same.

Before anyone thinks or says anything; I am well aware that the inputs are vague and there is a difference between foot containing eggs, steak, and veggies and foods containing high fructose corn syrup. Bear with me.

The input that we need the most frequently is air. We need to both intake and expel air at a high frequency in order to function properly. Oxygen is utilized by our body for a variety of things, however, the main one is creating ATP (the body's form of energy).

The air we expel is used to get rid of CO2 which is the final byproduct of utilizing that energy.

This is why we breathe more when we workout because we are utilizing more energy, so we need more intake of oxygen and more expulsion of CO2.

I say all of this to make the point that breathing is important. And our body’s prioritize functions that it performs. If we were to make that priority list for the body the first two things listed would be breathing and contracting the heart.

That means that the body will prioritize these functions over everything else. 

This leads me to my topic this week of how breathing can affect our biomechanics, and correctives we can do to fix them.

Think about it this way; the rest of our body will adapt in order to get in air the easiest and more efficient way.

Now lets talk about the anatomy of our respiratory system. 

We have two lungs

A diaphragm

A ribcage

And accessory breathing muscles. Too many to list right now, but lets stay focused mainly on the abdominals.

2 out of 4 things listed above are the same from right to left side. The other 2 are not.

Any guesses which are the same and which are not?

Our abdominal muscles at least from a size, length perspective are supposed to be the same. And our ribcage is the same anatomically speaking right to left side.

Our lungs and diaphragm are not though!

Our left lung is smaller than our right. It has 2 lobes instead of 3 lobes like the right lung. The left chest cavity also houses the heart which takes up space on the left side leading to the left lung being smaller as well.

Our diaphragm is a domed shaped muscle that attaches to our rib cage and then goes down to our lumbar spine. It goes to L2 on the left side, and to L3 on the right side. So the right side diaphragm is longer/bigger than the left.

Given this information which side to you think has an easier time getting air into it?

Did you say the right side? YOU JUST WON A BRAND NEW CAR! Not really, but you did just learn something:)

Okay, so whats the point?

Going back to my original premise that our body will adapt in order to breathe lets think about what it might do.

When you take a breath, what happens to your ribcage? It expands out in all directions.

So what do you think the left ribcage is going to do in order to compensate for the less effective left lung and diaphragm? Expand? Yup!

It will expand and stay expanded.

Place your hands on the bottom of both your left and right ribcage and take a breath in. Does your left side feel more expanded at all times compared to your right?

9/10 times its a yes.

This can lead to a variety of different things both up and down chain. Me going into extreme detail would lead to this blog post being about 10000000 pages longer than it already is, so lets just say that it leads to a lot of asymmetries throughout the body, and dysfunction throughout the body. Sometimes that dysfunction is pain free and doesn’t affect a whole lot, and sometimes it affects everything and causes pain/discomfort.

From my perspective, as a strength and conditioning coach, I do breathing correctives in order to accomplish 2 main goals. Teach your body how to breathe and take in air effectively and similarly from left to right side. And put your body is a position where it can function the same or at least similarly from left to right side.

Keep in mind this is mainly for non competitive people like myself and most of my clients. If you are a high performing athlete, sometimes you asymmetries can actually help. Again, though, a topic for a different day. 

Most of the breathing correctives listed focus on 2 things.

  1. Making sure your ribcage is moving similarly or the same on both sides.
  2. Making sure you can breathe using your diaphragm as the primary respiratory muscle instead of all the accessory muscles.

Give these a try and remember the most important thing about breathing correctives. YOU NEED TO BE RELAXED WHEN YOU DO THEM.

Biggest mistake I see with these drills is trying to hard to feel a good muscle contraction instead of trying to just feel a light muscle contraction of the CORRECT muscles.

As always if you have any questions, reach out to me at

Yours in strength,


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