How to Strengthen the Diaphragm Muscle

by Nick Ng

About Nick Ng

Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.


The diaphragm is a broad muscle below your ribcage and above your pelvic floor muscles. It works with your obliques, transversus abdominus and ribcage to expand and contract your belly when you do abdominal breathing. People tend to perform chest breathing rather than abdominal breathing, which requires constant practice and conscious effort until it become a subconscious act, according to physical therapist Gray Cook, author of "Movement."

Supine Abdominal Breathing

Step 1

Lie on the ground on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground about hip-width apart.

Step 2

Put your hands on top of your belly. Breathe deeply into your belly through your nose so your belly pushes out.

Step 3

Hold your breath for one to two seconds. Exhale through your mouth, pushing your belly toward your spine.

Four Point TVA Breathing

Step 1

Kneel on the ground on your hands and knees with your knees about hip-width apart. Keep your head, spine and hips in alignment.

Step 2

Inhale through your nose and push your belly toward the ground without moving your spine. Hold your breath for one to two seconds.

Step 3

Exhale through your mouth, pushing your belly toward your spine. Perform two sets of 10 to 20 breaths.

Anterior and Posterior Fasciae Stretch

Step 1

Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart and raise your arms over your head. Push your pelvis forward and inhale deeply through your nose.

Step 2

Bend your torso forward and exhale through your mouth. Reach for your toes as you exhale. Hold this position for one deep breath.

Step 3

Roll your spine up slowly and return to the starting position. Perform two to three sets of five to six reps.

References (2)

  • Movement; Gray Cook; 2010
  • Stretch to Win; Ann and Chris Frederick; 2006

Photo Credits:

  • Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or