Positional breathing drills have been used in clinical and rehab settings by the Postural Restoration Institute for many years – however – more recently they have found their way into the worlds of sports performance, and general fitness.
Positional breathing drills are often mistakenly perceived by fitness professionals as being either too complicated to understand, or not an efficient use of limited gym time. Whilst there is logic behind both of these arguments : if you’re a personal trainer in a commercial gym setting with 60 min to spend with a client each week, you probably don’t want to be spending 30 of them looking at breath work – and its also true that to fully understand the intricacies of the various systems at play when manipulating the respiratory system takes many tears of study…
However, as much as its possible to feel the benefits of taking your vitamins without understanding the mechanisms of their benefit, its also possible to benefit from the improved movement ability that positional breathing drills bring, without getting lostt down the rabbit hole, or spending hours practising them.
A nice ‘catch all’ positioning breathing drill that I use with lots of clients with a multitude of different movement abilities is the modified 90-90 hip lift.
This drill tends to counter the most common compensatory patterns that we see: gross extension pattern, which is most commonly coupled with excessive external rotation of the hips, and a relatively limited internal rotation. As we know, if we see excessive range in one direction, coupled with limited range in the other, what we are almost certainly looking at is an alignment problem, not a mobility problem, so we should consider position before we consider anything else
The really great things about the modified 90-90 are that its quick, hard to do wrong, and even if you do do it wrongly it won’t do you any harm at all… so all in all its a win win!