Principles To A Stronger Squat Episode 4: Breathing & Bracing

Principle 4: Breathing & Bracing

Refer to principle #3 for more info on the progression these blog posts to make you better at everything!

Brace For Impact

Breathing? What does breathing have to do with this? Playing off the last point made about mobility AND stability, the breath is one of the key players in optimizing STABILITY.

If our breathing is off forget about being a GREAT squatter. Breathing is directly related to our core. They work together. If your breathing is not correct, you will not fully utilize your core musculature.

Quick Anatomy Lesson

The diaphragm is our primary muscle for breathing. But it also shares a body cavity with the anterior core i.e. the abs. We need to utilize these powerful muscles to fully maximize bracing out core. Bracing our core is what truly allows three important structural functions to happen.

  1. Protects our spine and allows us to stay rigid. So we can keep tension on the erectors and less on the spinous process itself. Failing to brace the core can cause excessive flexion of the spine. Which may cause shear forces on the vertebrae and overtime may cause debilitating injury.
  2. It allows us to sink into our hips. We want the front of our hips i.e. the hip flexors to be mobile and allow us to really SINK into that hip. By allowing us to sink into the joint, we provide a greater stretch for the glutes, which will create a greater stretch reflex on the way up. In other words, we’ll be able to fully utilize our hips front and back. If you can’t extend your hips (straighten out your hips) you’ll have a tough time coming out of the hole without wasting a substantial amount of energy. So, it pays to be a tight ass!
  3. If you do not stay “tight” and maintain a rigid core your joints will not be as happy to move the way you want them to. Tight core = better functioning joints. Weak core = need to find stability elsewhere. Tightening the muscles is essentially a natural brake pad for the joints. If your brake pads are worn down (or in this case, not tightened) you will be exposing the joints to more wear and tear.



Breathing & Bracing is the primary method to keep the body stable and rigid through the whole body. Much like the post of principle 3, if you keep the muscles tight it’s like the brake pads for the body. So the term “stay tight” is very true for squatting. If you fail to utilize the above, forget about being great at lifting heavy things!

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