Is your posture impacting your breathing and performance?

Aug 18, 2020

The importance of breathing cannot be overemphasized.

On average, we breathe about 24,000 times per day, but how much attention does the average athlete pay to their breathing?

In order to perform at their best, athletes needs to be able to efficiently and effectively breathe oxygen into their bodies and exhale the waste products out.

Here’s how Pilates For Sports can help athletes develop this process.



When we breathe in we expand our chest and lungs, and our diaphragm contracts and is pulled downward to make room for the lungs to expand. Outside our body, the air pressure is greater and air is drawn in when we inhale. Thus, the diaphragm lowers the internal air pressure and increases the volume of air in the chest cavity allowing us to expand our lungs.

When our diaphragm relaxes, it moves up, the rib cage contracts, the lungs collapse, the cavity inside your body gets smaller the air is pushed up and out your body – we exhale.

So, if we fully inhale and exhale, we will be most efficient at breathing. This is important for athletes as the more efficient they are at getting oxygen into their body the more efficient they will be when performing.

Our posture has a massive effect on our ability to breathe. Try these scenarios for yourself. For each of the scenarios I want you to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.

1) Stand with your shoulders rolled forward and your upper back rounded forward

You will find it is very hard to inhale effectively. Although we have exaggerated the posture, this rounded shoulders (desk posture) is the posture of many people today

2) Arch your lower back and lift your chest up to the roof

Try to to breathe in and out as deeply as possible. You will find it very hard to exhale effectively.

In scenario 1 and 2, your breathing is hindered which means your performance is also hindered. 

3) Stand Against the wall (feet about a foot distance away from the wall)

Stand against the wall with the back of your pelvis and ribcage on the wall (belly scooped in and up). Ideally your head and back of the shoulders should be on too, but if this is not possible due to muscle tightness then make sure your ribcage is the priority and then open the shoulders.

Now, Try to to breathe in and out as deeply as possible. You will find that this is the most efficient posture to breathe in and out. So how can you make this posture your own?


Pilates For Sports strengthens the athletes core and develops balanced muscles throughout the body to deliver a posture that enables the most efficient breathing and therefore best performance for the athlete.

Noeleen O'Shea is the co-founder of Pilates for Sports, an online training program designed to improve your core strength, muscle balance and technique so that you can perform better at your sport with less pain, more power.


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