In our last blog we discussed different breathing patterns and the way the relate to the relationship between the rib cage and the pelvis. We discussed which of these relationships was ideal for creating the foundation of IAP and the importance IAP has on kinetic chain, balance of musculature and stability. Todays blog will include a series of videos on how start IAB, modifications you can make to create a neutral lumbar spine (to ensure a parallel relationship between the ribs and the pelvis) and some simple progression on how to test your ability to maintain a cylinder/ stable core (discussed in previous blogs).
In this first position we will be on our knees in a modified child’s pose with our forearms making contact with the floor, pushing our upper back into a long tall position. From here we want to start taking some deep breathes and feel our belly expand into our thighs. This is a good starting position to really feel the abdominal expansion we are looking for. While we are getting direct pressure from our thighs as feedback for the front of our abdomen, image you are trying to expand your whole belt-line.
Next start off by laying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. If you notice that your back is arching, elevate them until you feel that you back is flat against the ground. This is to ensure we are starting off with a neutral lumbar spine. While we invite you to try holding your legs up, for some people this can be difficult so you can start off by either putting your feet flat against a wall, lifting them up on onto a chair, couch or exercise ball.
From here, you will start to breath deep into your belly while taking consideration of what is happening with your ribs and you low back. Ideally, we would like to limit the involvement of the ribcage and low back and try to keep those stationary. As you inhale, direct the flow of air and pressure downwards. At first you may only be able to expand into the front of your belly, but keep practicing until you can expand circumferentially into your sides and even into your low back. Repeat this as many times as you’d like. If you started with your feet resting on an object or the wall, attempt to keep them elevated yourself. Shoot for 3-5 deep breathes at first then eventually work your way up to 30 seconds to a minute.
A simple way to progress this exercise (aka make it more difficult) is to press your hands into your thighs while trying to prevent your thighs from moving. It is important to keep in mind that while adding this additional resistance, the idea is to maintain a neutral lumbar spine- if you feel yourself arching, you can either reduce the force you’re pushing into your thighs or remove it all together.
Spend some time mastering these different positions. The idea behind these breathing exercises is to get an idea for stabilizing the core and creating an ideal foundation for limb movement. In our next blog we will go over limb movement while maintaining this ideal bracing/breathing pattern. If you though these breathing exercises were tough, next week weeks movements- while seemingly simple- may expose some of your weakness and improper stability patterns.