Breathing: The Missing Puzzle Piece in Your Training

I’ve talked about why nasal breathing is so important, the guys have a video on how to cue it, and I also gave you three simple ways to incorporate it into your client’s training.

I am now going to explain why breathing is the missing puzzle piece in your client’s programming.

The act of breathing is a functional movement.

When you were born that was the first movement you performed.

Babies breathe beautifully, moving their bellies up and down. Their natural body mechanics are amazing! There’s a quote that I’ve been looking for to no avail, so to paraphrase, babies are born geniuses and the act of living de-geniuses them. Which is totally true! We’ve all seen the picture of a random baby squatting:


Perfect squat!

However, there is something sad about this picture. Today this baby is probably 10 years old and can’t even touch his toes. The body mechanics he had as a young child are long gone, and his nervous system has re-wired itself to move a different way.

Unfortunately, the older you get the more stubborn your nervous system gets.

Breathing 2

When people come into our gym, we repeatedly see the same dysfunctional movement patterns. People lack mobility in certain places and stability in other place. They don’t know how to hinge, they don’t know how to squat, and, they don’t know how to BREATHE.

People don’t have the mobility or stability to hinge through their hips so their body can start hinging elsewhere.

Breathing 3

People’s thoracic spine becomes so locked up that the body is forced to obtain movement from other places.

The same goes with breathing!!

As soon as you stop moving and sitting for multiple hours a day, your diaphragm gets compressed. When that happens, your body starts breathing with other muscles. You start breathing with all your accessory muscles and your nervous system re-trains itself to breathe in a dysfunctional pattern. 

Breathing 4

As a trainer, I’m sure you’re doing an awesome job at teaching people how to move correctly, but, have you overlooked one of the body’s most important movements? Are you teaching your clients how to breathe?

This is especially necessary for those clients for whom it seems that nothing works. Those clients whose correctives won’t stick, and whose movement quality won’t progress as fast as you think it should. Breathing could be the missing puzzle piece in your programming!

It doesn’t have to be very complicated, but be patient. You want to integrate it slowly.

You can’t expect someone to nasal breathe throughout a whole workout. You have to sneak it in there. As a “Fitness Professional” your clients don’t come to you to learn how to breathe.

So here’s a quick tip:

Breathing 5

Remember, it’s a movement. If you were re-training someone’s nervous system to hinge through the hips, you wouldn’t start them off with a 200 lbs. deadlift.


Everything is a progression.

The end :)

Lucy Hendricks




  1. I have been a Athlete, Coach and Trainer for over 30 plus years. I have trained in the trenches receiving multiple certifications from a variety of training programs and have been open to trying various training methods to see which ones are more effective than others
    I realize the importance of breathing when it comes to training, but let’s look at what a majority of people are dealing with.

    In a perfect world, and if you are an individual who does yoga and participate in low impact training classes you probably have no problem breathing thru your nose, but let’ really look at how majority of the real world of training is.

    How are you breathing during and after an intense spin , training class or just got done playing an intense sporting activity?.

    Living in the Midwest, we are dealt with a variety of constant colds, allergies, and past nose issues that make it virtually impossible for the client to breath clearly thru the nose during training

    If you competed or watch sporting events athletes are constantly clearing their nasal passages thru out their contests.
    I have done many tests with clients and unfortunately the problem exists with a high percentage of them.

    Even though I constantly work on my breathing, I find myself wanting to blow my nose many times over a training period do to not be able to breath very well.

    Am I missing something with this breathing? If so please explain.

    Thanks for your time.



      Hi Al!

      Thank you for your comment ! To answer your fist questions. I am able to complete my entire training session with nasal breathing, but it took me a while to get there. With my clients I have a 80/20 rule. Your breathing can really affect which nervous system is on overdrive and I don’t want my clients to be in “Fight or flight” during their warm-up and extended warm-up. I want their body receptive to learning because we’re big on reinforcing certain movement patterns…and when the time comes to crush some heavy weights or push some heavy sleds their body can go into fight or flight and get the job done. I wrote a little about it here

      Here’s another great article that gives you a few things to work on at the end :

      and to answer your second comment about everyone being congested and dealing with allergies…Just because it’s really common it doesn’t mean its NORMAL. There are many reason why someone can be congested…and from what I’ve seen and experienced it can be an easy fix. Someone can be constantly congested because they’re always mouth breathing and by simply switching to nasal breathing they’ll start feeling less congested. You can learn more about that here —> in that article it says “Also, when mouth breathing, the brain thinks carbon dioxide is being lost too quickly and sensing this, will stimulate the goblet cells to produce mucous, slow the breathing and cause constriction of blood vessels. Breathing through the nose also limits air intake and forces one to SLOW down. Proper nose breathing reduces hypertension and stress for most people. Kind of like a speed control (governor) on a car engine.”

      We’ve also found that changing someones diet can have a huge impact on someone’s breathing. Here are a few sites you can visit, I am not an expert in nutrition but I know where to find really good information:

      Look through the information I’ve given you, hopefully it answers your questions! :)

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