View Full Version : Diaphramatic Breathing: Keep abs in OR relaxed??

01-25-2006, 12:33 PM
I am in a HUGE debate with another instructor. We both agree about diaphramatic breathing....BUT
Party #1 says: keep your abs tight and sucked in. You can do "deep breathing" effectively with abs in.
Party #2 says: relax your abs so you can deep breath more efficiently...DON'T suck your abs in.

I need documentation!!!!

I e-mailed Mad Dogg: their response was>>
"Abs are to be RELAXED in order for you to breathe more efficiently and deeper. If you contract your abs and suck them in and keep them tight....then you are restricting your deep breathing......"

I have read many posts in regards to "diaphramatic breathing"...but I can't seem to find where it mentions what your "abs" are doing....HELP !!!!

Thank you in advance for your assistance !!


01-25-2006, 01:26 PM
I have always been told that one's abs must be relaxed to make this work. Some years ago there was an article about this in Velo News and they illustrated the point with a photo of a pro racer during a climb who looked like he had a pot belly (no, not Jan Ulrich in the off season). He was actually just breathing properly.

01-25-2006, 01:50 PM
In Yoga, when you do diaphragm breathing one of the goals is for your stomach to expand. The diaphragm muscle pulls downward upon contraction so it makes sense that your abdomen would expand as the organs are pushed down with the contracting diaphragm.

Perhaps the person who thinks that their abs should be tight is thinking of the type of breathing you do in pilates. That is not diaphragm breathing, though. In this breathing you are expanding your ribcage.

Good luck!

01-25-2006, 02:53 PM
I have to agree that the diaphragm has to be distended in order to breath fully and efficiently, as pointed out, it's not possible to do that if your abs are pulled in. The same method is applied by opera singers who push out with the diaphragm to get a better intake of oxygen and therefore belt out their songs more efficiently.

My guess is the person who says they should be pulled in teaches other formats (eg., hi/lo, or Step) where they always tell their participants to pull in your abs. I know an instructor at one of the clubs I work at, says the same thing, and no longer teaches cycle....

01-25-2006, 04:10 PM
Like the others who've replied I was taught as a participant, in my Orientation course, and workshops to keep the abs loose so you can get the most O2 into the body ... I won't quote the whole paragrah in the Spinning Instructors manual on this but quoting pg 1.17 "During inhalation, the lower rib cage expands and the abdomen will protrude. During exhalation, the lungs will recoil and the abdominals will retract naturally" ...there are many photos of pro riders on the various tours looking like they have beer guts ... cause they are doing diaphramatic breathing with loose abs ... I just sat here and did with and without loose abs and wonder how anyone could think they are getting the max air by tightening the abs up :eek:

PS eric8235 had a good laugh over the Jan line :D

01-26-2006, 01:11 AM
I've been trying to dial in on this subject myself since I started teaching. The best cue I've gotten from an MI is to suggest that you might sneak up behind a rider and poke them in the belly. Their abs should be that tight.

When lifting, punching, kicking, etc., we want our core to be as firm as possible. When running, cycling, rowing, etc., we want our belly to expand to allow our lungs to fill.

It is possible to have firm abs and an expanding belly. It's a matter of which muscles you conciously tighten. Don't relax the abs and belly - you need those muscles to support your back. Try to keep them contracted as you let your belly bulge. Our bellies round out, but they're not mushy.

Still working on the "dialing in."