How do I strengthen my diaphragm

Strengthening the diaphragm and lungs - exercises to do at home

A healthy and strong lungs is very important for good performance. It is also of particular importance in the prevention of pneumonia caused by the flu.

You have different muscles that are important to your breathing. The main motor is the diaphragm muscle, which separates the chest from the abdomen. When the diaphragm tightens, the muscle flattens, exerts pressure on the abdomen, the lungs can expand and air flows into the lungs. If the diaphragm muscle relaxes, then the lungs contract due to their elastic properties, you breathe out.

Diaphragm often weakened from shallow breathing

Shallow breathing, so-called mouth-chest breathing, systematically weakens the diaphragm. It is the same as with other muscles in the body, if they are not used properly they will become limp and weak. In cardio practice, we often see people who report shortness of breath and consequently a reduction in physical performance. We can repeatedly measure a weakening of the diaphragm muscles here, which is not infrequently the main finding.

Strengthen your diaphragm - breathe properly in everyday life

If your diaphragm is weakened, we recommend that you pay attention to your breathing in everyday life as a first step, the nasal and abdominal breathing. You should breathe in through your nose deep into your stomach. Exhalation can be done passively through the slightly open mouth. The breathing ratio for healthy and calm breathing should be 1: (2-3), i.e. 1 time part inhalation and 2-3 time parts exhalation.

Strengthen the diaphragm - practice targeted and consistent at home

You can systematically train your diaphragm with a few simple exercises at home. We distinguish between exercises with a leadership resistance and those with a reverse position.

Leadership resistancethinks that you are breathing into your stomach against resistance. The easiest way to do this, for example, is to put your hands on your stomach.

Reverse positionmeans that the head is down while the trunk is positioned above the head, the most drastic example, the headstand. In reversed positions, the contents of the abdomen fall towards the head and the diaphragm must press the contents of the abdomen upwards against gravity during nasal and abdominal breathing.

Guide resistance for the diaphragm - prone position

Lie flat on your stomach on the floor. Take a deep breath in your stomach. The diaphragm displaces the abdominal contents against the floor as a guide resistance. Your body should rise when you inhale and visibly decrease when you exhale. The duration should be 5-10 minutes per day. With a breath ratio of 1: 3, you will experience a distinct feeling of relaxation.

For people who are not flexible enough, the exercise can be done with the help of a table. You simply lie down on a sturdy table with your upper body on your stomach, your legs are bent and touch the floor and do the exercise.

An even simpler exercise with a ball can be done in the evening in front of the television.

Reversal position for the diaphragm - shoulder bridge

Lie on your back on the long floor. Pull your legs up against your buttocks so that your bent knees are facing the ceiling. The arms are initially next to the body. Now bring your arms straight over your head. At the same time, lift your buttocks so that there is an angle of 35-45 degrees in relation to the floor. You now have good muscle tension in your trunk. Now your body has a slope so that the contents of the abdomen fall on the diaphragm. If you now inhale with nasal and abdominal breathing, then you have to push the contents of the abdomen upwards against gravity. So the diaphragm is more stressed and trained.

If you cannot keep the body tension in the trunk (initially), you can put a book under your buttocks. For diaphragm training, it is primarily important that the diaphragm must push the contents of the abdomen upwards.

Yoga as an integrated concept - also for training the diaphragm

From a physical point of view, yoga also trains strength, flexibility and flexibility. Coordination and balance also increase the strength of the diaphragm. We therefore recommend learning an individual set of exercises under professional guidance. So you can train for 15-45 minutes per working day 5 days a week and you are fit for a healthy day.

... continue in the self-help course "More Lung Power"



Ⓒ Cardiopraxis - cardiologists in Düsseldorf & Meerbusch