Whether you’re an athlete or fitness enthusiast, mobility is an integral piece of your training program. Making sure that your body is moving efficiently is a significant contributor to your performance.

And while you might’ve done mobility drills and bodywork using a foam roller, you may not realize that breathing is another way to improve your mobility. Breathing forms a mutual relationship with your mobility.

When tension builds up in your body, it can lead to limited mobility. And quite often, we unknowingly carry around a great deal of tension. But with some focused breathing work, simple breathing drills can lead to instant mobility gains.

To prime your body for mobility work through breathing, here’s a simple and easy way to start:

1. Make yourself comfortable.

Lie on your back with your knees at 90 degrees, heels resting on a soft surface—a bench, chair, or ottoman works great. Make sure your head is comfortable, and your neck is relaxed. Do a quick body scan and notice if you’re holding tension anywhere in your body.

2. Shift your focus to your breathing.

Once you’re comfortable and relatively relaxed, try this breathing drill.

  1. Inhale through your nose for four seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for two seconds.
  3. Exhale through your mouth for six seconds.
  4. Wait for two seconds.

Repeat this pattern for ten breathing cycles. Then start your mobility routine.

3. Consider an integrated approach to your mobility work.

Other factors significantly impact your mobility. Daily habits like rest and recovery, food choices, hydration, and regular physical activity all affect your mobility. When you keep these additional factors on track, you’re setting yourself up for further improvements in your mobility and efficiency of movement.

Three to five minutes of this breathing pattern is recommended before mobility work. But for relaxation or meditation purposes, do this drill as much as you’d like for as long as you’d like.

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