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BIM Lab: Breathing Resets

While everyone appreciates breathing’s importance in helping to stay alive, breathing’s impact on movement and recovery is something that is far less appreciated.

Every time you take a breath of air in, the position of your ribcage changes and the pressure in your thorax increases. For the upper extremities, the change in shape of your ribcage impacts the position of your scapula, as it relies on the ribcage for stability. This new position of your scapula can impact the ability of your shoulder to move into horizontal abduction, internal rotation, and external rotation. For the lower extremities, the increased pressure in your thorax results in a change in the relationship between your sacrum and your ilium (parts of your pelvis). These changes can impact the ability of your hip to move into adduction, internal rotation, and external rotation.

Although there are many dysfunctional breathing patterns, one of the most common ones is being stuck in a state of hyperinflation. In this state you will have a limited excursion from exhalation to inhalation, which can result in hyperventilation. This not only affects movement (as discussed above) but also impacts the body’s ability to recover. Hyperventilation also leads to sympathetic dominance of the autonomic nervous system, reduced blood flow to the brain, heart and limbs, and reduced inflammation control. Put simply, your body will not be in a state that promotes recovery.

So, knowing all this information, what can we do about it? 

The first step is to practice your breathing! Adding a breathing reset to your warmup will get you into a better position and improve your movement efficiency for the coming workout. Additionally, it is beneficial to add a breathing exercise to the end of your workout to help get into a relaxed state where your body can repair and recover for your next workout. 


Here are two breathing resets with three levels of difficulty that you can add to your daily routine: 


1) Bear Breathing


Level 1 – Lazy Bear

SET-UP: Start in an all fours position on the floor. Ensure your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips. Your head should stay in a neutral position with your ears inline with your shoulders.


Level 2 – Bear Breathing

SET-UP: Start in the lazy bear position. Lift your knees 1 inch off the floor.


Level 3 – Walking Bear Breathing

SET-UP: Start in bear breathing position. Walk opposite arm and leg forward.



  1. Reach your arms long as if to push the floor away until you feel a stretch between your shoulder blades.
  2. Posteriorly tilt your pelvis to round your lower back slightly.
  3. Hold this position as you take 3-5 full breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  4. Relax and breath normally for a few seconds.
  5. Repeat and perform 2-5 repetitions.


  • Imagine that you are pushing the floor away and lifting your chest from the floor each time you exhale.
  • Keep your ribs in the exhaled position throughout the exercise.


2) Pullover with Hamstrings


Level 1 – Pullover on Bench:

SET-UP: Start lying on your back with your hips and knees bent at 90 degrees and heels placed on a bench.


Level 2 – Pullover on Box:

SET-UP: Start with your heels on a small step or block instead of the box. The lower the object, the more difficult the exercise will be.


Level 3 – Pullover on Floor:

SET-UP: Start with your heels on the floor instead of raised. This will be the most difficult variation of the exercise.



  1. Hold onto a dumbbell or kettlebell and press it directly above your shoulders with straight arms.
  2. Dig your heels into the bench/box/ground and tilt your pelvis posteriorly to flatten your back into the floor.
  3. Exhale fully as you reach toward the ceiling.
  4. Reach back overhead until your arms are approximately at a 45-degree angle to the floor.
  5. Hold this position as you take 3-5 full breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  6. Return to the starting position.
  7. Perform 2-5 repetitions.


  • Reach your arms maximally upward and maintain the downward pressure into the floor with your heels. 
  • After your first breath, attempt to keep the ribs in an exhaled position and breathe against your active abdominal muscles.


As you can see, breathing is more than just the process of inhaling and exhaling air. The entire body responds to the changes in pressure and it results in orientations of the body that will either enhance or limit your movement. Breathing further influences your autonomic nervous system which can have a profound impact on your body’s ability to recover. 



You can try adding these to your training program and of course let us know how they go! And, if you have any questions or want to know more about anything featured in this post, please feel free to contact us at 

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