The Breath Belt
The Breath Belt is a lightweight, breathable belt that uses a double enclosure to create compression around the abdominals. With 10 cross-stabilizers, it produces a supportive level of compression without being rigid like a weightlifting belt, although it can be used as one. This pliability is what makes the belt so effective.
Because the belt is both flexible and compressive, you instinctually breathe into it, diaphragmatically. It responds accordingly, expanding and restricting with the rhythm of your own breath. In this sense, it provides fantastic tactile breathing cues. We were born into this world breathing diaphragmatically, yet our lifestyles have made the overwhelming majority of us shallow breathers. The Breath Belt restores what was once a subconscious habit. Over time, the belt will actually help re-integrate some of those early breathing habits, even when you're not wearing it.
While breathing from the diaphragm against active resistance, you'll experience the following benefits:
- Active stabilization through the core, helping to reduce back pain and stabilize the spine.
- Lengthening of the abdominal fascia and hip flexors, thereby freeing the QL and the Psoas to function properly. Anecdotally, my left QL has been the main beneficiary of the Breath Belt. This also balances the hips and actively decompresses the spine.
- Major glute activation. If you're like me, you have or you've had glute disfunction. Personally, when performing glute bridges a year ago, I'd feel it primarily in my hamstrings. With the belt on, my glutes are firmly in the driver's seat. Even without the belt on, my glutes are more active since using it.
- Improved posture. Although the Breath Belt is flexible and gives you full range of motion, it encourages a virtually-automatic posture improvement.
- Better breathing, obviously. When you breath from the diaphragm, you improve performance, speed recovery, and create an overall more relaxed state. If you already perform breathwork to neutralize anxiety, calm the mind & body, etc… the Breath Belt is a great companion.
- Intra-abdominal pressure efficiency. The Breath Belt will help teach you how to create, maintain, and utilize intra-abdominal pressure.
- Hip hinge motor patterning will improve. With the constant feedback from the Breath Belt, you'll be aware of your movement at all times. This is especially evident in movements involving a hip hinge, which makes the belt so relevant in every-day life, and not just when deadlifting, etc…
In addition to these benefits, the Breath belt also includes three pockets where you can introduce additional resistance via lacrosse balls and other soft tissue instruments. Two of these pockets can be found on each side of the front-center, where you would find your Psoas. Because humans have notoriously tight hip flexors/psoas, this can provide a nice targeted release. Additionally, there is a wider section in the back where you can place additional resistance either in the form of a ball or something larger like a Hip Circle to create broader resistance. If you have QL issues, for example, this is an area that can benefit you.
How to Wear the Breath Belt
In terms of putting the belt on, it's simple.
When to Wear the Breath Belt
The great thing about the Breath Belt is that it can virtually be used at any time. It can be worn underneath your clothes or directly on top. You can easily wear it just sitting at your desk at work for posture awareness, breathing awareness, etc… You can wear it while driving home from work to reset your core after a long day. Wear it while you brush your teeth just to bring awareness to your body/core for a couple of minutes. The opportunities are endless.
In terms of training, I would recommend wearing the breath belt during your warm-up, either fully or partly. This will get your core prepped for load and it will turn on your glutes. Wear it while you train, especially during your sets leading up to your top working sets. Once there, throw on your more rigid lifting belt. By using the Breath Belt during your warm-up sets, you're consciously becoming aware of your breath and how to harness the power of intra-abdominal pressure. It's a great cueing aid.
About the Creator
Former NFL player, Jesse Ohliger, created the Breath Belt in order to solve his own 10-year struggle with chronic hip and low back pain. After several unsuccessful rehabilitations and surgery consultations with some of the best NFL and NCAA doctors, Jesse was left to find his own path to recovery.
He drew from numerous modalities to create the Breath Belt, including yoga and Pilates as well as anatomy and breath work. In his work, he realized that there was something missing in the connection between breathwork and hip function. He ultimately created the Breath Belt to help alleviate fascial restriction, stabilize the spine/core, free the Psoas and QL, and enhance overall breath mechanics.