How to Strengthen Your Diaphragm Muscle for Running

A strong diaphragm will increase your endurance.

A strong diaphragm will increase your endurance.

So you’ve checked "strong legs" and "strong heart" on your list of health goals. You’re ready to hit the track, right? Not quite. For running, a strong diaphragm is just as important as any other muscle. Strong diaphragm muscles make it easier to run longer distances. If you breathe better, your muscles get more oxygen. That means you can run longer. It also means you’ll have the courage to run up that hill, rather than gasping for air at the sidelines.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Lay down on your back on a mat. Place a pillow under your head and another under your knees.

Put your right hand on your chest and your left hand just below your ribs.

Slowly take a deep breath through your nose, feeling your stomach going outward against your left hand.

Exhale through your mouth, feeling your abs tighten. During this process, try to keep your right hand still.

Repeat for five to 10 minutes.

The Hundred

Remain on your back on a mat. Remove the pillow from under your head and knees.

Lift your head off of the ground, with your arms along your sides and slightly off of the ground as well.

Extend your legs 45 degrees off of the ground. Your abs should be contracted and your back against the mat.

Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth five times.

Repeat 10 times, keeping your body in the same position.

Lower yourself back down to the mat.

Standing Chest Expansion

Stand up with your feet hip-width apart. Slightly bend your knees.

Take a deep, long breath as you extend your arms straight up over your head.

Exhale as you lower your arms back down to your sides.

Repeat five times.

Items you will need

  • Mat


  • Talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

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About the Author

Though constantly traveling the world, Julia Williams is based in Chicago and has been writing since 2006. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting. She is also a licensed fitness instructor, specializing in Pilates since 2003 and has written hundreds of articles on exercise and health.

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