How to Increase Core Strength by Improving Your Breathing

“Core strength” is a popular fitness buzz term, but what’s the big deal all about? You might think core training is all about lying on a yoga mat doing interminable “crunches.” Well, there’s more to core training than aiming for a flat tummy or a “six-pack.”.

We use our core to put on shoes and when turning to look behind us. Also, reaching that box on your top kitchen shelf, or sitting in a chair are activities rely on a strong core. You might not notice a weak core until these activities become difficult.

What is your core and “core strength”?

Your core is a collection of muscles that stabilizes your central muscles and spine. Your core region consists of more than your abdominal muscles. It also includes your back muscles and the muscles around your pelvis.

A strong core makes everyday activities easier to do and helps with balance. And, oh yeah… it makes you look thinner.

Check your core muscle strength with this test: Take a deep breath, then exhale slowly. While you exhale, pull your stomach towards your spine and hold it for 10 seconds.  If you can’t last that long, your core needs some work. (Signs You Have Weak Core)

Your Breathing Helps Build Core Strength: Common Breathing Problems

Frequently, I see beginners holding their breath while doing an exercise. This creates an oxygen deficiency and can cause dizziness. Sometimes people resort to shallow, quick breaths. But that forces a body to work overtime.

How to Learn to Breathe Correctly

Blow up a balloon! When you blow up a balloon, you activate your abdominal muscles, align your spine and pelvis, and contract your diaphragm. Blowing up a balloon works all your deep core muscles.

  1. Sit with knees bent, in a neutral position without leaning on the chair back.
  2. Inhale deeply with as much air as possible, pushing your belly out.
  3. Then blow into the balloon slowly, exhaling as much as you can. Your deep abdominal muscles activate as you blow into the balloon. (How Breathe Right Way)

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Jacqueline Gikow, is a movement/fitness coach, medical fitness specialist, and health and wellness coach. Her holistic, health and wellness practice, Audacious Living NYC™, centers on pain relief through better movement. She is certified through the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBCHWC), the Functional Aging Institute (FAI), Medfit (MFN), and the Arthritis Foundation (AFAP/AFEP). Her fitness practice includes in-home and remote, one-on-one fitness training and coaching in New York City. Jacqueline can be reached at: Her fitness group, on Facebook, is