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How to Do Rib Cage Breathing in Pilates

Learn how to warm up for Pilates Mat by doing rib cage breathing from Core Pilates NYC instructor Sarah Ruback in this Howcast workout video.


Next in our warm up series we have rib cage breathing. So there's a lot of question about how do I breathe in Pilates. In Pilates we work on breathing laterally through the rib cage. Meaning like, the ribs going side to side almost like billows puffing up and pulling back down. This is different than Yoga breathing which is fully a belly breath going out and in. So Pilates even though the belly will move when you breathe and that's a good thing, you want to think of the movement happening more through the rib cage because most of the exercises you'll be focused on scooping your abdominals in and up.

So getting started here with rib cage breathing, bring your hands to the sides of your rib cage here Madeline. That's it and just soften your ribs toward the mat. Now as you inhale consciously press into the heels of your hands to open the rib cage so you'll feel a big expansion here. And then as you exhale just naturally let the ribs close. They'll do it on their own and then at the very end of that exhale scoop your abdominals in and up.

And again. Take a deep inhale widen through your ribs. Let your chest life, feel your belly lift. You're completely filling up with air here then exhale. Feel the ribs hug together. Scoop your abdominals and then think of length through your spine and just continue this way. Breathe in deeply and then exhale threading the fingers and ribs together then hold it here in your scoop.

So in Pilates you hear a lot about this word scoop and what does scoop mean. Okay, remember our neutral pelvis from before. You have to keep your bones in that position, but have the feeling that you're literally scooping like an ice cream scooper from your pubic bone up to your belly button. So that's what we mean by scoop.

We also kind of talk about it's like putting on really too tight pants. That feeling jumping into that. You want to keep that through the abdominals as you work. One last time Madeline. Inhale, breathe through the hands and then exhale. Scoop your abdominals and then think of length through your head all the way through the tail bone. Then reach your arms long by your sides. And there you have rib cage breathing.

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