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Build a strong diaphragm

Build a Strong Diaphragm

Jul 05, 2021

Crazy fact to start us off: (OK. Not totally crazy. One that kinda makes sense when you think about it … but here goes...)

Take a breath in and out, and think about this -- Your lungs don’t have muscles. They’re just little balloons that inflate and deflate.


I’m so glad you asked. (Or didn’t. But we’re going there anyway.)

To start off, you have an incredible system of musculature that pulls air into your lungs, then expels it. That system is made up of what we call the three diaphragms (pelvic floor, respiratory, and kyphotic diaphragms) plus a whole lotta structural rib and abdominal muscles to form the “tube” in which those operate. The pelvic floor diaphragm forms the bottom of the tube, the kyphotic diaphragm (think of that as the “tent” formed around your collar bones”) forms the top of the tube, and your respiratory diaphragm (the middle) is where we’ll chat from here!

The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle that starts under your sternum, wraps around your rib cage to the start of your lower back, and does endless amounts of work all day, every day to pull air into your lungs, then relaxes to allow that air to leave again. When you inhale, it contracts DOWN toward your feet and when you exhale, it relaxes UP toward your heart. Weird, right!?


As it makes this movement, air is pulled into your lungs, your core stabilizes, your ribs travel … and even your organs move around! Kidneys can move up to ½ mile per day with good respiration! 

When you’re just standing, sitting or laying around -- that’s already a lot of work! But if you’re lifting, running, biking, playing with your kids … anything that requires more breath … that’s a LOT to ask! Having a fully mobile, strong and active diaphragm is something you can easily develop, and will greatly improve athletic and fitness performance and decrease anxiety, sleeplessness and back pain!

Let’s take a quick breath together:

Place one hand on your belly and another on your chest. Breathe all the way in. And all the way out. Notice:

  • Do both your belly or chest move pretty evenly?
  • Do you feel like you can fully inflate?
  • Can you get to the bottom of an exhale and relax?

If you’re struggling with any of these things, then its time to incorporate some strength training for your diaphragm into you training!

Strengthen your diaphragm with this easy drill:


For more tips on breathing better to feel better, click here. 

Build a bulletproof diaphragm by adding this exercise as a warm-up to your strength training. Not only will you notice that you're able to breathe better, but your performance will get a nice boost too!

Until next week, 
Annie Forest
Owner and Coach


Are you ready to have the strongest diaphragm on the block? Join our resident breathing expert, Amanda Bauer, for our Breathing Fundamentals - a 4 week self-study course to learn how to develop a bulletproof respiratory system (diaphragm included!) and transform your life. Register and get started today!



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