A Simple Exercise To Develop Better Breathing Habits with Exercise

by | Mar 28, 2013 | Breathing | 0 comments

Tips to Incorporate Pilates-Style Back Rib Breathing to Movement and Exercise

In the last breathing article I shared with you two breathing exercises to help start retraining healthy breathing habits to feel your breath go into the back of your ribcage to lengthen the spine and improve posture.

Hopefully, you’ve been practicing and it’s getting easier to feel your ribs moving as you inhale and exhale!  Today we are going to progress this concept and focus on better breathing habits when you move.

The simple Seated Hinge & Roll Up exercise is a great way to practice your Pilates-style, posterio-lateral, back-rib breathing technique while your body is moving through space.

The Seated Hinge & Roll Up Exercise

  • Sit on the edge of a chair in a good tall, posture position.
  • Arms can hang by the sides, or rest on the knees if needed for more support.
  • Inhale to sit taller.
  • Exhale and start hinging the body forward, tilting from the hips to move the pelvis, lengthen the ribs away from the hips and finish by curve the spine forward laying the chest on the thighs.  (The torso will be draped over the legs.)
  • Hold in this forward over the legs position and take 3-5 breaths into the back ribs.  Inhaling opens the back ribs and lengthens the spine, exhaling allows you to drape deeper over the thighs to stretch the back, and relax the neck and shoulders.
  • Inhale and exhale to begin rolling back up to sit tall.  Start from the tailbone, move the hips, and stack the body back up tall from the bottom of the spine, one vertebra at a time, until you’re up in a beautiful tall seated posture position.
  • Repeat this exercise 3-5 times.

Notes:  If you’re back muscles are stiff or tight, and it’s uncomfortable to lay forward on your thighs, place a pillow or two on your legs to lay forward in a higher position.  As you get more comfortable, your back ribs stretch apart, and your back muscles become more flexible, you’ll be able to take the pillows away, work in a bigger range of motion, and do the full exercise hinging forward to lay your chest on your thighs.

If your abdominals are weak and you find it challenging to roll back up to sit tall, place your hands on your knees and use your arms to assist.  (Strive to use as much abdominal support as possible)  as your back muscles and belly gets stronger, you will be able to roll up without hand support.

This simple Hinge & Roll Up exercise is great as a warm-up for better breathing habits.  it also can help stretch and strengthen your back muscles, mobilize your hips, improve body awareness, activate your abdominals, and train sequential articulation of your spine.  LOTS of great health benefits with one easy exercise.

Practice this as a morning wake-up exercise for your body.  Take Seated Hinge & Roll Up breathing / stretch breaks in your chair at your desk throughout the day.  Or do a set before you go to bed, to relax and unwind. Any time is a great time to pause, focus on better breathing habits, and stretch and strengthen your back muscles to move well and be well.

Tune in and touch base with your body.  What do you notice about how you feel,  how you sit, and how deeply you are able to breathe before and after your Seated Hinge & Roll Up exercise? By checking in with yourself, you’ll start to realize how powerful better breathing habits can be to improve your posture, movement, and whole-body health.

Click to read the other articles in this breathing series:
Better Breathing Habits to Improve Posture and Reduce Pain
Two Simple Breathing Exercises: Improve Posture and Be Well

Aliesa George: Over the past three decades, Aliesa George has helped assist people with their personal health journeys by sharing, teaching, and developing Pilates, Foot Fitness, and other Mind-Body programs.


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