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.

 

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