Abdominal Exercises and Breathing Difficulty

craigfisher256
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Abdominal Exercises and Breathing Difficulty

Some weeks back, after working on my rib anchor while swimming and walking, I developed breathing difficulty since my abdomen was now quite tight but upper chest was not loose enough to compensate.  I found it difficult to take full breaths.

I've now "loosened my tummy" back and feel much more comfortable breathing-wise, but I feel I've regressed as far as stretch-sitting/glidewalking is concerned.  My story may seem a bit exaggerated, but my efforts (both in the tightening and re-loosening of the abdomen) were also VERY exaggerated.  I was desperate.

So............

If I do the abdominal exercises in the book (which I really wasn't), will these simultaneously help open my chest/intercostals/pectorals for breathing, or might I end up in the same funk a second time?

I want to be able to sit and walk well, but I also want to get some of that life-restoring Oxygen in my lungs.  Is it possible to do both now, or do I have to wait a couple years for my rib cage to expand?

Thanks.

Lori Szalay's picture
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Hello....

Assuming your ribcage is large enough for normal breathing, you need to work on loosening your intercostal and/or pectoral muscles. This can be achieved by priodically engaging your inner corset (deep abdominal muscles) and inhaling deeply - this forces the intercostal and pec muscles to stretch. Force only a little bit, because if the muscles are super tight, that could pull on the cartilage in your ribs.

The abdominal exercises in the book don't directly stretch the pecs / intercostals. I recommend to engage the deeper abs and force inhalation as described above to do this. And maybe lay off ab workouts until you've got more malleable intercostals.

It may also be good to explore the difference between strengthening and chronically engaging. Think of a lion. Super strong muscles that are very relaxed most of the time. Or think of a baby's belly. It has tone but is relaxed.

craigfisher256
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But is this generally a thing that happens?  As people improve their abdominal tone (which is absolutely necessary I assume for sitting), it becomes harder to breathe?

(from reading the book, I'm slightly confused as to whether the abs or inner corset is more important for sitting, but it seems obvious from experience that you can't stretchsit with a flabby tummy... at least not very long before your shoulders and neck get exhausted)

(also, just to be clear, I had a doctor examination and there's no other problems with my lungs)

Lori Szalay's picture
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If done correctly, your shoulders and neck should not feel tense or get fatigue if you engage your inner corset.  Breathe out to deflate your belly and then imagine a zipper being zipped up from your belly to your ribs and hold that lenghth, and yes you have to learn to maintain the inner corset as you breathe.   After engaging your inner corset, make sure you shoulder roll and relax into the length that you have given yourself from the engaging.  Tensing your shoulders and neck will be uncomfortable.   Also, your breathing will become easier as you practice using your inner corset more; remember it takes time for your body to adjust to new techniques that you introduce. Best of luck! 

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