90/90 Hip lift and balloon fun: the beginning

Most hardcore breathing athletes do “Balloon Breathing”  hanging off a pull up bar. As a matter of history, here is the original 90/90 hip lift breathing drill that’s discussed by Boyle et al ( 2010)

  1. Lie on your back,  feet flat on the wall, knees and hips bent at a 90- degree angle.
  2. Place a 4-6 inch ball between your knees. I’m tough so I use a nice cushion.
  3. Place your right arm above your head and a balloon in your left hand.
  4. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, performing a pelvic tilt so that your tailbone is raised slightly off the mat. Keep your back flat on the mat. Do not press your feet flat into the wall instead dig down with your heels. You should feel your hamstrings “engage”
  5. Breath in through your nose and slowly blow out into the balloon.
  6. Pause three seconds with your tongue on the roof of your mouth .
  7. Without pinching the neck of the balloon and keeping your tongue on the roof of your mouth, take another breath in through your nose. ( the first few times you do this is slightly tricky)
  8. Slowly blow out  into the balloon again.
  9. Do not strain your neck or cheeks .
  10. The original instructions say “After the fourth breath in, pinch the balloon neck and remove it from your mouth.Let the air out of the balloon”. Frankly, i just open my mouth and let it fly around the room ( I have a pile of balloons to hand so I don’t have to move to get another one. My girlfriend says this is  annoying.
  11. Relax and repeat the sequence 4 more times.

 

You can checkout more materials at the Postural Rehabilitation Organisation

 

90/90 breathing was designed to optimise breathing and enhance posture and core stability. The idea being this would improve improve function and/or decrease pain (Boyle et al., 2010, ).

The 90/90 rests on a concept  called the zone of apposition (ZOA) of the diaphragm, which is the part of the muscle shaped like a dome.  In simple terms “MORE DOME GOOD”

If the ZOA is decreased the ability of the diaphragm to inhale sufficient air in a correct way is diminished.  This affects the diaphragms ability to build up  intra abdominal pressure.  If the ZOA is decreased The transversus abdominis activation also decreases with a smaller ZOA (Boyle et al, 2010), which again affects lumbar stabilisation ability .

The set up of 90/90  aligns the pelvic floor and diaphragm in parallel. This combats any upper and lower cross syndromes, and lumbar extension. This results in  the core muscles being fired which increases the ZOA and adds to core stability. As an exercise in the obvious,  dysfunctional breathing and physical activity  takes up the main breathing muscles and throws the load on to smaller muscles and makes life harder. However, according to Lukas  (2018) there is little evidence in terms of studies to support this, although it sounds like a reasonable assumption. However,  the Lukas  study does seem to caste doubt on 90/90 as core stabilisation method

“Taken together, the 90/90 breathing seems rather ineffective as a general core activation for a normal workout.” (Lukas , 2018 page 35). but checkout these drills by Buteyko and these other breathing drills

I think some attention to basic breathing drills is probably useful, but its more relevant if you obviously have a breathing disfunction .

Why not practice on the tube  (not with the balloon ,obviously)

 

References

Alverdes, Lukas  (2018) .Short-term effects of 90/90 breathing with ball and balloon on core stability. Halmstad University

 

Boyle, K. L., Olinick, J., & Lewis, C. (2010). The value of blowing up a balloon. North American journal of sports physical therapy: NAJSPT, 5(3), 179.

 

Some breathing practice

Here are some useful methods to improve your breathing.

  1. Pursed lips

According to the Cleveland Clinic, pursed lip breathing has a range of benefits:

  • Improves ventilation
  • Releases trapped air in the lungs
  • Keeps the airways open longer and decreases the work of breathing
  • Prolongs exhalation to slow the breathing rate
  • Improves breathing patterns by moving old air out of the lungs and allowing for new air to enter the lungs
  • Relieves shortness of breath
  • Causes general relaxation

Practicing this technique 4 to 5 times each day  can help.

  • Keep your mouth closed, and take a deep breath through your nose hold for 2 seconds
  • Put your lips together and blow through them. (some say like a whistle, but don’t whistle. It’s annoying.) This is known as “pursing” your lips.
  • While continuing to keep your lips pursed, slowly breathe out by counting to 4. Don’t try to force the air out, but instead breathe out slowly through your mouth.

2) CO-ORDINATED BREATHING

Co-ordinated breathing uses 2 steps:

  • Inhale through your nose before beginning an exercise.
  • While pursing your lips, breathe out through your mouth during the most strenuous part of an exercise.

 

3) DEEP BREATHING

Deep breathing flushes your lungs and makes sure you have  expelled all that dank horrible air that been skulking in the outer reaches of  chest.  You  can now  breathe in more fresh air, accept if you are in London, where its packed full of pollution.

Here’s how to practice deep breathing:

  • Sit or stand with your elbows slightly back. This allows your chest to expand more fully, but you are still breathing through your Diaphragm.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose.
  • Hold your breath as you count to 5.
  • Release the air via a slow, deep exhale, through your nose, until you feel your inhaled air has been released.

 

4)THE DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING

The diaphragm is an important muscle involved in the work of breathing. People with breathing “issues” tend to rely more on the accessory muscles of the neck, shoulders, and back to breathe, rather than on the diaphragm. Diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing helps to retrain this muscle to work more effectively. Here’s how to do it:

  • While sitting or lying down with your shoulders relaxed, put a hand on your chest and place the other hand on your tummy
  • Breath in through your nose for 2 seconds, feeling your tummy move upwards. You’re doing the activity correctly if your stomach moves more than your chest.
  • Purse your lips and breathe out slowly through your mouth, pressing lightly on your stomach. This will enhance your diaphragm’s ability to release air.
  • Repeat the exercise as you are able to.

 

More Placebo, less con

In the old days, drug companies used to test their new fanged expensive products against  a PLACEBO.

According to wikipedia  placebo  “is a simulated or otherwise medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient. Sometimes patients given a placebo treatment will have a perceived or actual improvement in a medical condition, a phenomenon commonly called the placebo effect or placebo response. The placebo effect consists of several different effects woven together, and the methods of placebo administration may be as important as the administration itself”.

These days its often not. I think the drug companies got miffed that their new fangled ( very expensive drug) only got 1 or 2 % better results than a sugar pill.

Very annoying if your corporate mission is to screw cash out of our NHS.

The reality is that getting our body to believe it can be cured has remarkable effects. Let’s face it, often the body cures itself, with no outside help from the drug companies what so ever.

Often “cures” like Reiki, magnets,  supplements  are raved about on social media.

Clearly, these things  have no physical effect (as yet, discoverable). Adding less than .001%  extra  glucosamine to the bodies natural store of  glucosamine really wont cure your shoulder issues.  A deluded fanatic holding their hands 2 inches from your shoulder thinking happy thoughts  wont apply any physical effect to fix your shoulder

But clearly, things like this actually work. Amulets don’t stop bullets, but give one to a boy  soldier  (add  a few tokes of a good spliff  and  a motivational speech:obviously) and they will charge  people firing machine guns at them.

People believe the weirdest things.

That placeboes work is beyond doubt. They often work well as pain relief, because often , after 2 or 3 weeks, pain is no longer an indication of the state of the tissue. Its simply an alarm bell that continues to ring because we don’t know how to switch it off. Ever heard of the guy whose amputated leg still hurts????

People in pain, often feel no pain after placebo  “treatment”

Anything that rallies your subconscious into believing that a wrist band, or blue socks, or vitamin C, or an evangelical prayer will cure cancer, or improve performance ,is probably worth trying out as long as  its only  £10 (ish) or less.

I guarantee you that somewhere, someone, has been cured by a wrist band, or blue socks, or vitamin C, or an evangelical prayer. Ive  cured people like this myself !

I have one plea.

If you respond to placeboes, try and find a cheap one to respond to.

Believe that drinking a glass of tap water  cures pain, or that  touching  trees gives you healing powers. Believe that by simply adding your ailment to the comments below, our online community will send out universal love and fix it .

Try not to believe that a racoon paw improves  virility , or that a Panda’s big toe cures aids.  The animals concerned are rather fond  of the bit remaining on their body just as it is. Thank you

That said, sometimes the most effective  placebo is you spending lots of money and getting lots of attention!

Ce la vie

Ofcourse this is nothing but a shoddy advertorial for me as a personal trainer …………..but dont you feel better already

Unblock your nose

As I discuss here, and here, breathing has become a “thing”.

However some have problem breathing through their nose: here is the useful procedure from the Buteyko system

According to the argument  reduced  CO2 levels causes an increase in mucus secretion and constriction of the airways. and helps block it up.

The following, so it is claimed  is a simple exercise which could  unblock the nose (in as little as five minutes.)

The technique  increases   the   carbon dioxide levels in the blood, which  so its claimed, will open the nasal passages.

✦   Sit upright on a straight-backed  chair.

✦   Calm your breathing.  Take a small breath (two seconds)  in  through  your  nose,  if possible,  and  a small breath out (three seconds). If you are unable to take a  breath  in  through   your  nose,  take  a  tiny  breath  in through the corner of your mouth.

✦   Pinch your nose and hold your breath. Keep your mouth closed.

✦   Gently nod  your head  or sway your body until  you feel that you cannot hold your breath any longer. (Hold your nose until you feel a relatively strong need for air.)

✦   When  you need  to breathe  in, let go of your nose  and breathe  gently through  it, in and  out, with your mouth closed. Avoid taking a deep breath  when you breathe  in, and calm your breathing  as soon as possible by focusing on relaxation. Repeat to yourself ‘relax and breathe less’.

✦   Continue   to  do  this   exercise  until   you  can  breathe through  your nose  fully. If your nose  does not  become totally unblocked,  wait about  one  minute  and  perform this  exercise again.  Initially you may need  to do this  a number    of   times   before   your   nose   is  completely unblocked.

the basic aim is to improve your co2 tolerance.  even during a hevy cold you should breat through your, presumably, snotty nose

Holding breath   traps  additional   carbon   dioxide which has been produced from the physical activity involved in moving the muscles. It is quite common  for the nose to become blocked again shortly after doing this exercise. This is because  the underlying  breathing  has not been  changed and the body has not become  accustomed  to the increased carbon  dioxide  level. However,  after  some  time,  and with regular practice of breathing  exercises, the body will adapt to a higher  level of carbon  dioxide and  the nose  will remain unblocked.

Give it a try

The Buteyko control Pause breathing test

Dr. Buteyko developed a test to measure depth of breathing and consequent retention of carbon dioxide, resultant oxygenation and health. He named it the ‘Control Pause‘ breathing test. Get yourself a clock or stop-watch & try for yourself:

  1. Sitting down, close your mouth and breathe normally through the nose for  30 seconds
  2. Take a normal breath in through your nose
  3. Allow a normal breath out through your nose
  4. Gently close your nose with thumb & forefinger and start to count the seconds on the clock
  5. When you first feel the need to breathe, release the nose and take a breath through the nose
  6. Remember to keep your mouth closed throughout

The number of seconds that elapsed is your Control Pause. Less than 10 seconds, and you have health problems. Less than 25, your health needs attention. 30-40 seconds is satisfactory, while 60+ seconds is excellent.

Here are some more  tests based on breathing out, then timing (thanks to conscious breathing.com for the summary)


Exercise 2 – hold your breath while walking

 

    • Step 1 Sit down in an upright position, with your back straight, and relax for a few minutes.
    • Step 2 Stand up and take a small breath in and a small breath out in a calm way through your nose (approx. 2-3 seconds on inhalation and approx. 2-3 seconds on exhalation).
    • Step 3 Pinch your nose after the exhalation is finished and hold your breath and start walking while counting the number of steps you take.
    • Step 4 When you are not able to hold your breath any longer, let go of your nose, inhale and exhale calmly through your nose and note how many steps you took. Try to wind down by breathing calmly as soon as possible.

 

Health status Hold breath sitting Hold breath walking
No symptoms, optimum health 60 seconds 120+ steps
Very good health, most symptoms are completely gone 40 seconds 80-100 steps
Good health, symptoms present when exposed to a trigger 30 seconds 60-80 steps
Symptoms are often present 20 seconds 40-60 steps
Many different symptoms always present 10 seconds 20-40 steps
Medications, diseases, very heavy breathing 3-5 seconds 10-20 steps
Dead 0 seconds 0 steps

I chat  more about breathing and CO2 here

Breath holding C02 and stuff

The problem , or joy, of fitness is that it often can, or should, take you back to those basic physics, chemistry and biology lessons you had at school.

When discussing aerobic and anaerobic fitness, these days, you’ll quickly come across the bohr effect, whether or not  you actually remember it. And you should.

The Bohr effect, according to wikipedia

increases the efficiency of oxygen transportation through the blood. After hemoglobin binds to oxygen in the lungs due to the high oxygen concentrations, the Bohr effect facilitates its release in the tissues, particularly those tissues in most need of oxygen. When a tissue’s metabolic rate increases, so does its carbon dioxide waste production. When released into the bloodstream, carbon dioxide forms bicarbonate and protons through the following reaction:

{\displaystyle {\ce {CO2 + H2O <=> H2CO3 <=> H+ + HCO3^-}}}{\displaystyle {\ce {CO2 + H2O <=> H2CO3 <=> H+ + HCO3^-}}}

Although this reaction usually proceeds very slowly, the enzyme carbonic anhydrase (which is present in red blood cells) drastically speeds up the conversion to bicarbonate and protons.[2] This causes the pH of the blood to decrease, which promotes the dissociation of oxygen from haemoglobin, and allows the surrounding tissues to obtain enough oxygen to meet their demands. In areas where oxygen concentration is high, such as the lungs, binding of oxygen causes haemoglobin to release protons, which recombine with bicarbonate to eliminate carbon dioxide during exhalation. These opposing protonation and deprotonation reactions occur at an equal rate, resulting in little overall change in blood pH.

The Bohr effect enables the body to adapt to changing conditions and makes it possible to supply extra oxygen to tissues that need it the most. For example, when muscles are undergoing strenuous activity, they require large amounts of oxygen to conduct cellular respiration, which generates CO2 (and therefore HCO3 and H+) as byproducts. These waste products lower the pH of the blood, which increases oxygen delivery to the active muscles. Carbon dioxide is not the only molecule that can trigger the Bohr effect. If muscle cells aren’t receiving enough oxygen for cellular respiration, they resort to lactic acid fermentation, which releases lactic acid as a byproduct. This increases the acidity of the blood far more than CO2 alone, which reflects the cells’ even greater need for oxygen. In fact, under anaerobic conditions, muscles generate lactic acid so quickly that pH of the blood passing through the muscles will drop to around 7.2, which causes haemoglobin to begin releasing roughly 10% more oxygen.[2]

The net result of this is an increasing interest in the management and training of Co2 tolerance.  as according to Conscious breathing.com CO2  has many important functions

  • AntibacterialA study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden showed that the growth of staphylococci was 1,000 times higher when the bacteria were exposed to normal air for 24 hours, compared with exposure to air saturated with 100 percent CO2.
  • Increased oxygenation. Carbon dioxide forces the oxygen to leave the blood so it can enter into our muscles and organs and be of use. This is called the Bohr effect, ( you see, it was worth reading that paragraph)
  • Widens smooth muscles. CO2 has a widening and relaxing effect on our smooth muscles. These muscles are found in our blood vessels, stomach, intestines, bladder, and womb can’t be controlled by our will.

Naturally the alternative health market claims loads of extra things: increased CO2 tolerance cleans the skin, cures cancer, boosts digestion, cures/prevents dementia, builds your bones, blah, blah, so  this  accounts for the focus on breathing in witchcraft , various religions and yoga,

However, wild claims aside, Who knew. the hippies were right.

So to start you off, here is an interesting totally safe way to start, its called  4 count breathing. Simply inhale to a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and hold with empty lungs for a count of four. and build up the time you do this. Free diving had introduced many more periodisation types of  breathing exercises but you need to be cautious when doing them especially if you are competitive and inclined to try and hold you breath for 3 minutes out of the blue,  ” cause i heard that was a good figure”

Obviously, I’ll guide you through  effective  breathing and  help you build up your C02 tolerance

 

contact Andrew@crossfitlondonuk.com