We breathe 14-20 times per minute and 20,000 times per day. What if…just what IF by adding 60 seconds to the start of your daily workout/pre-round routine, you can hit the “distress” button, improve posture, and help you produce a more stable and powerful swing. Through back breathing, it is possible. I can’t wait to show you how! Time to take notes, look weird, and just breathe . So what is this “back breathing” stuff? What makes it so different from our auto-pilot, daily breathing? Back breathing is the ability to use our diaphragm the way it was designed. How can you tell? It is our ability to inhale fully without elevating our ribs, and then fully exhaling. Why is it important for golfers to fully use their diaphragm? So glad you asked! The answer is core stability. Think of our core as a team of “stuff” working together to protect of our spine, get into golf posture and grip it and rip it.
This team I speak of, consists of our inner most core musculature and all the other fascial and muscular connections that connect to our spine. By making back breathing a priority, it will not only improve how we feel and set the stage for a powerful game. Over time, physical and physiological stress can wreak havack on our bodies. Let’s face it, the majority of us are high-stress, fast-paced athletes who sit too much. Due to such repeated stress, our body, the MOST important piece of equipment we have, takes the hit. Let’s take a visual break. Think of your rib cage and pelvis like an egg. We typically walk, lift, and play golf as a “broken” egg: ribs flared out and butt sticking out. This position inhibits our ability to effectively recruit our abdominal muscles. As a result, our core stabilizers are forced to take a back seat and in turn shallows breathing, flares out our ribs and our lower back takes on the stabilizing roll. HUH, shallow breathing? Yes, think as if I were to run up behind you and yell “BOO!” Tightness results in a domino effect.
If our backs become tight, our hip flexors are overused, and our posture starts to crumble. Breathing in such a position also tightens our upper extremity muscles: trapezius, latissimus, rotator cuff muscles, and scalenes. Guess what? Those muscles NEED to be loose in order to rotate in our golf swing and lift without pain. So instead of quitting our job or hanging up our clubs, how can we help fix this? Set aside time, and get after it. As physical therapist, Connor Ryan states, “The best rehab is done in the gym.” Training in controlled, properform, is an ideal way to prevent injury and compensation. We know back breathing activates our inner most abdominal muscles that line our spine and keep our pelvis in an optimal position; so, in doing so we are allowing over compensating muscles to relax, and giving the stabilization roll back to its rightful owner. As a result, we are TRAINING our core and BRAIN to hold our “egg” together through muscle memory. This is NOT magic, and not a one-time fix.
As with anything, this takes work and NEEDS to be done daily. I prescribe this to my golfers before EVERY lift and EVERY round. It’s as natural as brushing your teeth and can be conveniently done anywhere. Implementing back breathing into your daily routine will hit the reset button on your stress, train muscle memory, and improve movement and athleticism. I promise you, this is worth your time. You have invested in your game, course memberships, and practice time; what’s another 60 seconds of your day to invest in the MOST important piece of equipment. Enough talking! Go back breathe your way to more birdies!! Click here for the video.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?