All right. Thanks, everyone. I do appreciate you guys taking the time to come in today to listen to this piece. It is an important piece and it needs to touch on because I see this Facebook and there’s somebody with an article or usually a video talking about, and almost some time I’ve seen it labeled Breathing is Bracing, Breathing is Bracing. It is not bracing, so we need to kind of understand that there’s three functions to the diaphragm. We’ve got respiration function, we’ve got stabilization function and we’ve got my favorite, the sphincter function. We’re not going to touch on that one today, unless I have some really profound gas and you can all hear it. Outside of that, we’re not going to touch on it.
They are integrating together. When we talk about integration of those today, now I’m not saying breathing isn’t important. Breathing is a fundamental piece where you start. If you have respiration dysfunction, you will continue to need to go back and deal with issues. They’re going to come up. They’re going to pop around different places in your body. It is a fact that you will continue to have issues. You will have power loss. It is important that if you have breathing dysfunction, you must deal with it, and so that’s why we talk about the diaphragmatic breathing strategies. We’re not going to go in to that today. We’re going to say that’s taken care of. What we’re going to talk about, what is the difference between diaphragmatic breathing, proper breathing and the stabilization function that the diaphragm also has and how those integrate together. They are not the same thing.
Unless you guys want to talk about sphincter function, we can spend time talking about that. It would be fun. I know [Brandon asked it 00:02:28]. Before you do bracing, we got to talk about posture, so you cannot have proper bracing without having proper posture to begin with. It simply won’t happen. We must have the diaphragm right here, this cone-shaped muscle that hooks to the rib cage here and it drives down, working in opposition to the pelvic floor. These two have to be aligned, and we’ll get into why here in a minute, but this is why our flared rib cage position is a big issue. I used to walk around with this actually.
You’ll find my rib cage actually used to be flared outward and almost raised up until I started doing a lot of this work and it physically changed. That was something that was with me. I remember it like in high school because I would be like, “Man, I could never compete in bodybuilding. I’ll never have the physique because I got this weird jacked-up rib cage.” My rib cage changed in my mid-30s when I started doing this stuff. That is freaking crazy.
The other is this right here, and I’m one that has to deal with that. I’ve got some anterior pelvic tilt there and we’ve got to deal with cleaning that up. A lot of our larger muscle vectors will be in that position, but you’ve got to be able to fix that first because if we don’t have those two working perfectly in opposition to each other we’ve got this opened up here what happens if we fill it. We’re going to pressurize like you’re breathing. You’re going to fill it with air, so I’m going to push out towards the front and we need it to be equally pressurized all the way around.
Any deviation here is going to cause an issue. See this quite a bit like in squatting where people have either shoulder mobility issues or this tilt that just kind of start in this unhinged position right here in the squat. Guess what? They’re just going to over exaggerate, got some tilt, pressurize, definitely I followed all your stuff and I went in to the hole in the bottom of the squat and I went right in the butt wink just because you need to start here. Now, I can pressurize. That’s the beginning.
Any time, and let’s just call it an open scissor, we have that. We have to fix those deficits. Where do we start? We start with assessing breathing. You got breathing dysfunction? You’re going to have dysfunction in your body. You’re going to have energy loss. You’re going to have issues because if the diaphragm doesn’t know how to breathe properly, its other functions are not going to be working well as well. Next, then you go to posture. You got to deal to postural deficits.
This one here, when we talk about why is it important that it’s all the way around it uneven. This is where we start getting in to bracing functions and what does that mean. The difference between breathing and bracing. Breathing, you’re just filling with air, oxygen, so you can fill your body. Bracing, we’re using all the structure all the way around is an outer sheath and it needs to become rigid and resist. Then, we’re going to push against it and those forces need to be equal in all directions all the way around. That’s another complaint I’ve got because a lot of people say, “Yep, I’ve got that. I go to yoga. I really got this breathing function down. Got this big belly breast, big belly breast. I’m a master of it.” When we do some testing and they have a significant dysfunction.
Why? It’s all going this way, right here. We need to be inflating all the way around into the pera-spinal. You get pain in your deadlift right off that floor a lot of times. People aren’t inflating in that para-spinal region. Right back in here, we need to be pushing out. This is where the belt is a good cue to fill that up. There’s issue, I think, last year I helped Stan Efferding a lot with on his deadlift. He has experienced a lot of back pain and we did some quick fixes, focused on filling those areas up. Pain dropped down immediately. Power output went up.
This is an area how we find those deficits. You need to check around and find where am I soft at. This is something, like I said, that a lot of areas if we go back to class school stuff, I think yoga is probably right if we go way back. It’s just the way that some teachers, some instructors, so it’s not a job at yoga in general. It’s just an example of what I’ve seen with some people, which is not indicative of the whole.
We get back into, if we go into fighting. A lot of our classical sports like Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, stuff like that, they have a lot of content on basically breathing and bracing type issues and that’s why it’s really important because that’s where, again, we wan to talk about that, one, both our posture and the fact that we need to be rigid. You need to be able to throw a punch. If I’m going to do something, you’re always going to be in this position. They’re going to be in, I’m going to get into great bench press position. That’s where I get the most pressing power with this fist. I’ll fight you all day long. That’s not the best position for power transfer.
Simply put, you know it. Let’s get to fight, come on. You’re ready to take a punch. Some pretty important pieces there to understand. We talked about it. I’ve got a little example here. The hot water balloon. We got the strong and blown it up. It’s a tight, constrictive vessel and we’re working against that. If you’re not, we can just bend you up and wrap you up like a little play toy, which what do you want to be in your core, your center. Something that we can just sit up and twist up. It doesn’t have a tight, rigid outer sheath. This is the difference. This is bracing. Right there, you can’t tie that baby up. Really important thing to understand.
Look at your skeletal system. We have Halloween coming up, so we see skeletons all over the place. Take a look at them. Huge mass of structural bones. All this stuff everywhere. Right here in the middle portion, there’s nothing – just a thin bone connecting the top to the bottom. Where does that force to create stability come from? It all comes from right in here, in the torso.
I’ve recently, I’m going to leave the names out, but over the last few months I’ve been interviewed by several well-known fitness publication magazines and they call me up. “Chris, we need to talk, you’re the breathing guy. We’ve got some articles that we want to put together. Follow all your work.” I get on the phone. All right, been watching all your stuff. I’ve been a big fan for a long time.
The question is, do you breathe in on the way down on a squat or do you breathe out? I don’t know. Give me some context. It depends. Do you breathe in between reps and then hold? How many reps do you hold before you breathe? I don’t know. It depends because we’re using the diaphragm for both respiration and bracing.
Think about it as a dial. If you’re going to run marathon, you’re going to need a lot of damn oxygen. Bracing isn’t going to be that critical. You’re going to crave for that dial down and you’re going to be using very little of the stabilization function. You start doing a MetCon. You’re in CrossFit. You don’t see MetCon. There’s going to be some requirement for stabilization, less for breathing but still a fair bet.
Do a 120 rep around squats. You’re going to be needing to breathe like pretty frequently, but you still need to brace, so you might be holding it for different pieces of that. Doing a 5 rep max or a 3 rep max. You might hold your breath for like two or three reps then catch your breath. Do a max single, you’re going to breathe once. Do a max double, you might still just breathe once. Let’s say you’re doing some intensive kettleball swings. You might be breathing on both functions just because the amount of oxygen intake. You might have to learn to mix those strategies.
Where you at? Well, me, I’m Chris Duffin so mine goes to 11. I don’t know. Those dial is messed up, 10 for all you. I crank it to 11. That’s where you are at. It depends. We’re using both functions, but this is why… I brought up the MetCon as an example. This is why we don’t want to do basic core loaded human movements to fatigue failure. It’s simple. You want to use up the breathing respiration function and your diaphragm is fatigued. What’s going to happen to your bracing? What’s going to happen to your back? Because you’re in a heavy loaded core movement. We don’t want to mix those two. You want to make sure that we’re not doing that type of movement when we’re going to be failing on the respirations front.
That’s what we talked about integrating those two functions together. There is no answer. I can’t tell you if you’re going to do a 5 rep squat, what that looks like for you. If you understand that it is a spectrum and where you need to fit on that spectrum to get those bracing functions align, that’s what we need to do.
I’m going to digress and jump a little back into bracing function again for a couple other reasons. When we talk about that rigid outer sheath, let’s talk about a training perspective. Like I said, we need to train that. Does that mean we need to do ab work to develop that outer sheath? No, it doesn’t. It actually means we might need to use the difference. One of the ways that we do assessment, I’m looking at that structure, is to get in a brace function and look to see if we got any [inaudible 00:14:29], any lines, big tight standing obliques. The hour-glass shape, the classical hour-glass shape. We do not want to see.
We want to see nice, smooth, rigid conformed. I’ve got those beautiful looking nice obliques and pointing down to the goods, we don’t want that showing up and being as prevalent. We don’t want those ab lines unless you’re like super… There’s going to be there because they’re muscle when you’re lean. There’s a difference between that and having that show when it shouldn’t be showing and having because that’s what is called. I’ve got a broomstick lying here in the background. How do we treat this function with hypertonic muscle? We’ve got to get it to relax. If we’re holding tension in these areas all the time, we got issues. We’ve got dysfunction.
I’m not a big lever in doing our typical flexion work for ab development. It is not just from the [inaudible 00:15:29] school of saying, well, that’s bad for loaded spinal flexion. Let’s not talk about that piece at all. Let’s talk about the piece of we’re training those two systems independently. Just like my big issue with doing hip, too heavy of hip thrusts is we get into some anterior tilt too much. We’re not able to get full hip extension. We’re still training to glut. We build a nice, big booty that it is in the integrated into the system core. We don’t have that athletic carryover because we’re not training the neuropatterns for this to work with a stabilized core. It would be grounded to the floor and transferring that power out.
Same thing if you’re doing loaded work. How’s the diaphragm actually working to inflate. It’s not. Again, this is why a plank, a rollout, stir the pack, but again a lot of people could be doing that strictly just ab based. You want to get in to that piece where you’re focused on making that rigid, your breathing into it, pushing against.
What did we have in that last slide? Pushing against our hot water balloon, that big outer. We want to make that outer sheath rigid and hard, but we need to be filling it with air. We need to be working both. On top of that, and I see this is a big issue in power lifting. People just want to work on the air side and I think that’s bracing. I think I get on the topic why that isn’t, but just creating a big flowy full of air. The biggest air possible in that bracing. You got one piece but not the other. Learn to work both together as a system. Then, once you’ve got that, figure out where you’re at on the dial.
Takeaways. Here’s what we need to focus on. Breathing dysfunction. If you’ve got it, fix it. Nothing else matters until you do. You will continue to have issues. Two, posture. You must have the correct posture before you brace. Bracing, we need to integrate both that outer sheath with having the correct posture. We already said filling with air working against it. Then, lastly, understand where you’re at, where you’re at on the dial. Breathing is not bracing. They are integrated. You must know how to do both for performance aspect and safety aspect.