Lately more and more people have been chiming on training breathing — which is great! As a young trainer, I really enjoy and value all the differing perspectives on this topic as it helps me sift through the information and get an idea of what the experts are doing with it. That said, it is an area I want to read more about myself to better understand why it is becoming an area of focus for trainers.

My favourite point I’ve heard so far is Charlie Weingroff’s stance on training reflexive stability of the core. Though it wasn’t specifically about breathing, he made a wonderful distinction between corrective exercise for the core and conditioning the core.

This painted a very clear picture for me — along with the all-to-common “its so common sense, how didn’t I think of that?!”

Let me state that prior to hearing this, I was very skeptical about the practical application of the proper breathing information. I was not keen on using 5 minutes of my time to have a client lay on their back and breathe…just breathe. I also just felt that something like that is out of my scope — I thought that breaking it down this much was for a rehab professional.

But Charlie’s thoughts were perfectly succinct. I realized I had been training core stability with a high threshold strategy — which excludes the element of timing which is so central to spinal stability. I realized this wasn’t necessarily right nor wrong, just that depending on the client’s level of “fitness” and the exercise, I had to train more than just a single stabilizing strategy. Then the realization that training breathing while training a simple core demand hit me. So simple.

This includes things like planks, side planks, anti-rotation presses, chops, lifts, etc. When we get to the big stuff like bench pressing, split squats or any other “conditioning” exercise, that is where the high threshold strategy stuff has gone — basically the whole bracing approach. I’ll admit though that even this is very grey (gray?) to me as over-bracing isn’t optimal either.