Midline Stability: Stay Tight and Breathe

Love to Eat? Introducing

Are you passionate about food, nutrition and recipes? Unleash your inner foodie and check out our brand-new site - share your favorite recipes at Nutrition-WOD today!

Print
By MISSY ALBRECHT, DPT, CSCS, FMS| Physical Therapist/Coach

Midline Stability: Stay Tight and Breathe

You can try for hours and hours to get your midline stable, but if you’re fighting poor mobility you’re going to lose.
When you head into the gym, do you ever find yourself thinking/asking any of the following:

  • What do you mean when you say, “keep your midline stable”?
  • How the heck do I keep my midline tight and breathe and focus on the WOD?
  • When I try to activate my midline, I feel like I just bear down (like going to the bathroom) and hold my breath. Is that right?
  • No matter how hard I try, I can’t get my back in a good position.
  • When I keep my midline stable and try to breathe, my neck and shoulders get really tight.

Anything along those lines sound like you? If that’s a yes, please read on. If you don’t know what I mean by midline stabilization, please read here first.

Steps to Activating Your Midline

Steps to Activating Your Midline

The main goal is to breathe equally into your chest, ribs, and stomach.
Whenever I teach someone to activate their midline, I always end my instructions with “and make sure you breathe.” This always makes everyone laugh because it sounds silly to have to be reminded to breathe, but everyone holds their breath! I’ve had a lot of comments from athletes at the gym saying it’s difficult to keep their midline active and breathe at the same time, especially during the really high intensity WODs that force you to breathe so hard. I just wanted to let you all know that you’re not alone. It’s really a hard task! It takes practice. So I wanted to share some basic tips on how to get better at this.

Step 1: Fix your mobility

You can try for hours and hours to get your midline stable, but if you’re fighting poor mobility you’re going to lose. I’m sorry to break the news, but those tight muscles and stiff joints are way stronger than your focus and willpower combined.

Areas to target for mobility:

*Some of the links above have videos from K-Starr’s Mobility WOD, which now requires a subscription to view most of them. I’m sorry that they aren’t readily available, but I highly recommend the subscription! He does some phenomenal stuff and deserves some reimbursement for his hard work.

Step 2: Learn how to breathe properly

Learn how to breathe properly
We are all guilty of holding our breath at times. There are a few different techniques on how to breathe correctly. Check out this post here to learn about the diaphragm and breathing techniques. The main goal is to breathe equally into your chest, ribs, and stomach. Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed! You’ll feel a huge release in your tight shoulders/neck throughout your day once you really get this technique down.

Step 3: Practice midline stability (while using the new breathing techniques)

Release the tension: Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed!
We all know that practice makes perfect. You can’t expect to practice this challenging skill once and then jump into a WOD where you’re breathing hard and throwing weight around. Make it easier on yourself and practice regularly and frequently! To learn how, read here and watch the video at the end. Also read this to see how the GHD can help build your midline stability. Don’t forget to practice throughout your daily routines too, not just at the gym.

Hopefully those of you who find yourself struggling with midline stability and breathing will find some of these tips helpful. Remember, it’s just another challenge that CrossFit gives you and the reason we all do CrossFit is for the constant challenges! So practice some patience, keep working hard, and don’t forget to have fun!

Printable Version

We Are Scouting Top Writers

Are you passionate about fitness and have something to say? Reach a huge online community and get the discussion going - start writing for Tabata Times today!

Share this post
@TabataTimes on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook 

Contribute to this story by commenting below:

Advertise Here

Most Popular of All Time

CrossFit Los Gatos posted an article
Berkeley CrossFit posted an article
mindcoach published the post Confidence and High Intensity Performance on Tabata Times
I know we just moved out of ski season, but skiing has so much to teach us about mental strength...
Morgan Hill CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

week5 wod4 http://wp.me/p3Bc8L-jj

CrossFitOfFremont posted an article
Berkeley CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Potrero Hill shared a link on Facebook

WOD- Thursday, July 3 SKILL OF THE MONTH: MUSCLE-UP Weekly Homework: do this before class, after class, or at open gym to improve your muscle ups! Week 7/1-7/6/14 1. Swing Hip to Rings 3×8 2. Ring Supports 3×8 3. Ring Rows 3×10 4. False Grip Hang 2x …

Max Fitness CrossFit posted on Facebook

7/3/14 Come in, work on a skill! Make up a WOD.

CrossFit Dark Element shared a link on Facebook

http://cfdarkelement.com/whiteboard/

CrossFit Dark Element shared a link on Facebook

http://cfdarkelement.com/daily-wod/

CrossFit Sweatshop posted an article
CrossFit Oakdale shared a link on Facebook

http://cfoakdale.com/2014/07/03/kevins-climb-completed/

Concord CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Welcome some new faces :-) great job tonight Courtney, John and Megan!!!

CrossFit Potrero Hill posted an article
CrossFit Mill Valley shared an image on Facebook

Worlds colliding to save lives. Juggling for Jude #poweredbymammoth

CrossFit 209 Sport shared a link on Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=735577119822185&id=163071317072771

CrossFit 209 Sport posted on Facebook

What will you be making for your 4th of July BBQ??? Let's hear it!! https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=410308475776149&substory_index=0&id=271313329675665

CrossFit 209 Sport shared an image on Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=284606848385040&id=148284738683919 More info on knee pain!!

CrossFit Oakdale posted on Facebook

http://www.playbuzz.com/erikw/what-crossfit-exercise-are-you

CrossFit Cypher shared an image on Facebook

It's the new planking? AM crew helds it down!

CrossFit Cypher shared an image on Facebook

It's the new planking? AM crew helds it down!

CrossFit Cypher shared an image on Facebook

It's the new planking? AM crew helds it down!

CrossFit Cypher shared an image on Facebook

It's the new planking? AM crew helds it down!

CrossFit Cypher shared an image on Facebook

It's the new planking? AM crew helds it down!

CrossFit Los Gatos shared an image on Facebook

Noon class finishing strong today! Kb's, push jerks and C2b pull ups! Oh ya ;)

CrossFit Envy shared a link on Facebook

Oops, forgot to mention, use the link to sign up and help a brother out :-P.

CrossFit Envy shared a link on Facebook

Hey everyone! Inov-8's, along with Skins and CEP compression gear, and other great gear for CrossFit.

CrossFit Modesto posted on Facebook

Just a little FYI guys, Friday July 4th. Coach Chris will be in at 5:30am for a workout and Coach Billy will be in at 9am as well! These are the only two classes for Friday, so prepare for some fun!

CrossFit Davis shared a link on Facebook

Make Coach Elliot happy and sign up for the Tommy Kono Meet coming up in August! There are sign up sheets at the gym! Talk to Elliot or any other coach for more info!

Tamalpais CrossFit posted on Facebook

July Happenings: Friday July 4th- 8 & 9am Classes only! Sunday July 6th- 9am Swim WOD at COM Kentfield Pool Sunday July 6th- Oly Strong moves to 10:15am on Sundays Tuesday July 8th- 11-11:45am CrossFit Kids starts, 2 spots left, register today! Parents WOD while your kid plays! Saturday July 12th- Crosstown Throwdown TCF vs Santa Rosa Strength and Conditioning – 11:45-2 pm at TCF, sign up on competition board located in SRB- all levels welcome! July 21st- Clarke Holland attends and dominates the CrossFit Games 2014

FTF Fitness posted an article
CrossFit Petaluma posted on Facebook

Schedule for the week of July 4th: Friday, July 4th: 10am class @ CSC only Saturday, July 5th: 10am class @ CSC only Make your way up to CrossFit Sonoma County to pick a Hero workout to complete in honor of Independence Day! The gym will be open from 10am-11:30am. Come in and throw down before a day filled with food, family, and fireworks!

Berkeley CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit 209 Sport posted on Facebook

4th of July hours 8 and 9 AM only!!

bevchildress published the post Do You Struggle With Chronic Disease? on
I live with Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease. I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping it at bay and...
mlsweezey published the post Baby Got Back: My New CrossFit Ass and Other Image Crushing Muscles on
Random Person: “um, do you workout?” Me: “No. This totally happens by accident. Strangest...
Morgan Hill CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

My awesome 7pm Metcon class workin' hard!

United Barbell shared an image on Facebook

Recognize any of these shoes?? You've got 1 day to message me (Jenny) or come and claim them or they will be donated to the needy UB Oly Shoe-less.

United Barbell shared a link on Facebook

Dare to be Great

CrossFit Modesto shared an image on Facebook

Last nights Pull Up Skill,Clinic was full as can be! We had people get their first Kipping Pull Up, we had others improve their technique, and started others on their way to getting pullups! It was great time yesterday, good work to all those who attended!

CrossFit HEALDSBURG posted on Facebook

Schedule for 4th of July weekend Thursday, July 3rd 6:00am 8:30am 9:30am 12:00pm 5:00pm Friday, July 4th 8:30am 9:30am 12:00pm Saturday, July 5th 9:00am Have a safe and happy 4th!!

South Sacramento CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

24:17 top time for the ladies for Shakira!

South Sacramento CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Mr. Sub 20 Michael! 19:40 score to beat.

American River Crossfit shared a link on Facebook

07/02/2014 http://wp.me/sGeX1-07022014

CrossFit East Sacramento shared a link on Facebook

Today's blog post is up on the CFES Blog - [4th of July Outta The Box WOD @ Guy West]

CrossFit Envy posted on Facebook

Prehab/activation: SMR - low back / erectors 2 min Banded hamstring mobilization 2x10 glute bridges 2x10 supermans -then- 10x2 Banded Speed deadlifts Take a few minutes to find a reasonable work weight for Banded deadlifts. It will be in the 50-70% range of your best Deadlift... But use a weight that allows you to PULL FAST off the floor, and lockout fast, even with the band. Hold each lockout for a 3 count, and deload the bar between reps. Guys use the blue or red band, and girls use red. -then- 4 rounds for time: 400m run 500m row 60 double unders

CrossFit Envy posted on Facebook

Competitors Program Week 6, Day 3: 6x3 Power Cleans from the blocks @ 70-75% (at the knee or slightly above) -then- AMRAP in 10 minutes: (4,8,12...) toes to bar *unbroken 25' handstand walk after each round *if you complete the round of 24, then stop and mark the time -then- 4 rounds for time: 400m run 500m row 60 double unders

mindcoach published the post The Importance of Performance Goals on
I’ve written several posts and articles on the mental strength skill of goal setting, so this...
CrossFit West Petaluma shared a link on Facebook

Red, White, and Blue! http://blog.genesispetaluma.com/?p=2664

CrossFit Folsom Lake shared a link on Facebook

It's a new month! What are you going to do with it? These folks are making it happen! http://t.co/AJV8iYk8OR

CrossFit Davis shared an image on Facebook

June! Another great month at CFD!

Corey's Gym posted an article
CrossFit Petaluma shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit Sacramento posted on Facebook

Attention All Members.....The gym will be open on the 4th of July from 8-10am. There will be 1 class at 8 and open gym at 9. The gym will be closed on Saturday July 5th. Have a great Holiday weekend!

CrossFit Davis shared a link on Facebook

New On Ramp starts tonight! We are running a new schedule now that allows you to start on any Tuesday and attend classes for 4 weeks! For more info visit www.crossfitdavis.com or send an email to info@crossfitdavis.com

CrossFit Echelon posted an article
CrossFit Anywhere shared an image on Facebook

Who hit today's Swim WOD? If you missed it, have no fear. 5:30 and 6:30 classes are heading out soon. Get there!

Good Times CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Anywhere shared an image on Facebook

There's still time to sign up for the Rowing Clinic with Scott Frandsen on July 12th at 10am. Learn how to row with Power and Efficiency from the Olympian and Rowing Coach. $60 per person. Sign up at the gym.

CrossFit Genesis shared an image on Facebook

@TabataTimes on Twitter

Watch the latest episode of GPTV