If you have trouble getting a good core brace during the overhead (military) press, you're not alone. And also, you may find it difficult to breathe in general during higher rep pressing. The same general problem will probably also occur during the front squat. I have written a step by step training plan to help you learn how to breathe during front squats and the same principles apply for the overhead press. Having the elbows up and a bar in the clean position makes it difficult to get a deep breath. If you can learn to use diaphragmatic breathing1 and follow the other guidelines in the article, you should be well on your way to solving this problem.
Continue Reading » Having Trouble Breathing and Bracing Your Core During Overhead Press?
The scalene muscles are three paired muscles of the neck, located in the front on either side of the throat, just lateral to the sternocleidomastoid. There is an anterior scalene (scalenus anterior), a medial scalene (scalenus medius), and a posterior scalene (scalenus posterior). They derive their name from the Greek word skalenos and the later Latin scalenus meaning "uneven", similar to the scalene triangle in mathematics, which has all sides of unequal length. These muscles not only have different lengths but also considerable variety in their attachments and fiber arrangements. As you will see from the descriptions below, these muscles are in a very crowded place and are related to many important structures such as nerves and arteries that run through the neck.
You may have noticed that it can be difficult to get a good deep breath in between reps of the front squat. Not everybody has this problem to the same extent, but most everybody would have noticed that the front squat makes breathing a bit restricted. The position of the elbows, combined with the heavy load on the shoulders, restricts the chest. It is easy to simulate this effect right now as you read this: simply raise your arms up over your head and try to take a deep breath into your upper chest. You should notice that the chest wall is restricted and it is close to impossible to take a full breath this way.
I was reading over my comments secondary to the article on the valsalva maneuver and some of the things I said struck me as important enough to mention again as a separate blog post.
All the time we are instructed to do "belly breathing" or to "breathe into the belly". There is an idea there that has something to do with correct diaphragmatic breathing but it has been mixed with some incorrect interpretations. The basic question is:
Continue Reading » Belly Breathing? Is This the Correct Way to Breathe?
Previously I've called upper chest breathing either inverted or paradoxical breathing. In case you haven't gotten the news flash, it's bad. Now, I'm seeing something called 'reverse breathing' being promoted for martial artists. Wikipedia says that it is "Ancient Chinese Secret".
The practice appears to be an almost perfect instruction on incorrect breathing. The idea is to expand your abdomen while breathing out and pull your stomach in while breathing in. Absolutely ridiculous and a good way to 'gas out' for a martial artist. Here is a some excerpts from an article at DragonDoor. It's full of nonsensical gobbledygook but these are the highlights of the instruction:
Continue Reading » Reverse Breathing