Diaphragm is a muscle placed below lungs that helps to breathe. Since diaphragm is a muscle we are able to train it and make it stronger which will allow you to improve your breathing technique.
So here are some tips on how to make your diaphragm stronger.
Belly breathing exercise
One of the simplest exercises to strengthen your diaphragm is putting some weight onto it while belly breathing.
Lay down on your back and bend your legs. Now put some weight onto your belly below the ribcage and start breathing.
Your shoulders ought to not rise much and you should feel your belly filling up when breathing in. That’s because the diaphragm is pushing down to make more space for air in your lungs.
The breathing should feel much deeper compared to shallow chest breaths.
At first, you can start with your hand on your belly below the ribcage and after you feel comfortable you can add some more weight onto it. Books work well for the exercise and later you can use something even heavier. I like to use small dumbbell plates.
Practice daily breathing through the diaphragm
Another way to get used to belly breathing is becoming conscious of it. Take some time to consciously breathe through the diaphragm.
I like to count a number of diaphragm breaths, 20 does the job for me. This exercise will help you to start breathing through the diaphragm even when you are not conscious about it.
To make sure you are breathing correctly avoid lifting your shoulders and chest. It is okay if they rise slightly, but it should not be very noticeable.
Power breather is a tool that gives resistance when breathing which makes your lungs and diaphragm work harder than usual.
You can get one from Amazon – Power breather
60 breaths per day using the Power breather is enough to see improvement.
The extra resistance when breathing will strengthen your diaphragm and improve lung capacity.
Belly smash exercise
“Belly smash” is an exercise for diaphragm muscle strengthening.
It is done by placing a football, basketball, volleyball or equivalent ball under your belly while in a plank position. You will be contracting and relaxing your abdominal muscles in this position.
You might feel some discomfort at first, but after some practice it should feel more comfortable.
Diaphragm massage is a great way to improve your diaphragm flexibility. It is done by placing fingers under your ribcage and rubbing the diaphragm while continuously breathing using the diaphragm.
Similarly to previous exercise, you might feel some discomfort and one side may feel less flexible. Try not to overdo the exercise, although you should be able to insert at least a few inches below the ribcage.