Breathing/ Bracing Pt. 3: Making It Work For You
Now that we have examined what it is, what it looks like, and how to do it we now need to apply what we have learned. Obviously, if this is a new practice it should be performed without load until a practical level of proficiency is reached. For most trainees this will be a pretty quick study. I can get the vast majority of my clients to perform basic breathing exercises in a couple of minutes and full bracing in less time than a normal warm up would take. Which brings me to my next point
How To Program
Obviously, as with any new skill, consistent and regular practice will be paramount to making bracing a reflexive action. I like to have my trainees practice every day for the first few weeks and during that time if there are progressions or regressions that need to be instituted they will. The beauty of these movements is that they don’t require any special equipment so clients can literally do them in front of the tv at night. Once proficiency in the progressions is shown I will usually just incorporate our bracing exercises during the warm up portion of our session. To avoid boredom I will often switch the exercises up. They are great to get a little anterior core activation as well so you can kill two birds with one stone. Some examples of exercises I might program are deadbugs (w/or without marching), posterior tilted planks, 90/90 breathing (w/or without balloon), and hollow holds or rocks.
Wrapping It Up
As intuitive as it should be, most of us were never properly taught to breathe, to say nothing of bracing. Luckily, it is very easy to take a step back and start implementing some of these movements today. Even if it means lessening the load on your lifts for a short time while practicing proper bracing, in the long term it will be worth it. Trust me, injuring your back will suck way more time away from training than a couple of weeks of breathing exercises. Longevity and consistency are the keys to the Iron Game and if you’re hurt you’ll achieve neither.