Thurs 2-20-14

When Eggs Grow Stale
A Brief History of Sex at the Olympics
Looking to Quell Sexual Urges? Consider the Graham Cracker
How to RDL

 $450 for 40 sessions, less than $12 per class:

Power Clean (5×3 65%)
OR Make Up Lifts From This Week

“Mental Complex” (Time)
5 Rounds For Time:
15 Deadlifts 115/75
12 Hanging Power Cleans 115/75
9 Front Squats 115/75
6 Shoulder-2-Overhead
**If you put the bar down or rest at ANY time, run 1x around bldg!!

-From Derby City CrossFit

Location: The diaphragm lines the bottom of the ribcage/thoracic cavity, separating it from the abdominal cavity. It has attachments to the lower 6 ribs, sternum, and the upper 3 lumbar vertebrae. It also has connections to the psoas muscle.

Function: It is the most important and efficient muscle for the inspiration portion of breathing, allowing for about 70-80% of the work in a 3 dimensional movement (inferior/superior, anterior/posterior, medial/lateral).

It is the roof of the “core”, allowing for stability in the lumbar spine when it contracts with the other “core” muscles such as the transverse abdominus and pelvic floor muscles.

Lastly, when this muscle moves properly it helps to massage our internal organs and keep them moving properly (they need mobility too!).

Diaphragm Breathing vs. Dysfunctional Diaphragm

Dysfunction means either not activating, lack of strength or lack of mobility around the muscle. This can be caused by a variety of things including asthma, stress, smoking, lung disease, low back pain, pregnancy… the list goes on. The main thing here is to know that even if you’re injury free in this area, you may have a dysfunctional diaphragm from not taking deep breathes during your day because you’re stressed. Once you have a dysfunctional diaphragm, it causes you to go into a problematic cycle of increasing your initial issues. For instance, I don’t breathe properly, and over time I’ve come to rely on chest-breathing while heavily depending on the erector muscles of my lumbar spine to maintain stability at the bottom of squats & deadlifts. Unfortunately, that has stretched and weakened my psoas and anterior core (abs). So, I can’t activate my diaphragm to create better stability allowing me to lift heavier weights. And, with decreased stability comes increased compression on my lumbar spine. Bad cycle.

Check out the closeness of the diaphragm to the psoas, QL and lumbar spine. No wonder it affects the lower back so much!

Going into more depth about the mobility around the diaphragm, imagine that you have a diaphragm that’s not working properly. So, if you aren’t good at taking deep breathes, you still have to breathe somewhere. This usually means you use your neck and upper shoulders to breathe OR you breathe mostly in and out your belly. Using your neck causes those muscles to overwork leading to other issues like headaches, stiff necks, or limited shoulder mobility. Breathing only into your belly doesn’t allow you to maintain good midline stability (core activation), especially when you are out of breath during a WOD. If you don’t believe me, try taking a deep breath into your belly while staying hollow. It’s not really possible! I think a lot of people are a combination of the 2 (neck/shoulder/belly) and long term breathing patterns likes these can lead to a lot of stiffness in the thoracic spine and ribcage. This is because the diaphragm is not being used to help expand this area and keep it mobile.

Diaphragm Fixes
Step 1: Assess your breathing pattern. First things first, get assessed by Dr. Quinn. Seriously. Now, try this test standing, sitting and lying down. Put your hands on your abdomen, ribcage and chest and try to see where you breathe during a normal breath. Then try a few deep breathes (as if you were WOD-ing). Just take note of where you breathe. Then, can you breathe into the side of your ribcage? Can you breathe into the front and back of your upper back? Without getting into your neck?

Here’s an exaggeration of those of you who are stress breathers, really expanding in your neck and shoulders rather than through your chest. This is BAD.

Step 2: Work on your mobility in areas that may be stiff from not breathing correctly. Instead of listing all the areas, I’m sending you to watch three quick videos at the bottom of this post by Jill Miller and K-Starr. They cover all the basic areas to work on to give your diaphragm a good environment to work in. Watch all 3. It will improve your life. Just do it.

Step 3: Retrain your diaphragm to work well. I can’t create normal flexion in my lumbar spine. So, I sit on my hands and knees, with my butt resting on my heels, head neutral, I tighten my abs and then I breathe deeply through my nose to try to fill my back with air. I’m trying to create some flexion in my lumbar and thoracic spine with the aid of air pressure. You’ve got to work on your weaknesses, and breathing is a weakness of mine.

Jill Miller fixes your t-spine and crappy breathing mechanics

Jill Miller smashes your guts and psoas tacked down viscera and matted down abdominals

Jill Miller diaphragm evolution