They say shallow breathers don’t use diaphragm. How is this even possible? Or even shallow breathers have to use diaphragm to certain degree?


I’m trying to understand deep breathing (Diaphragmatic breathing)
And is it even possible to breathe without diaphragm? Or even shallow breathers use diaphragm? Just not efficient as deep breathers?
And is it possible to strengthen diaphragm like other muscles?

In: Biology

Your breathing is controlled by three sets of muscles: your intercostal muscles between your ribs; your diaphragm and its controlling muscles; and your abdominals.

Tidal breathing (the minimum shallow breathing you do without thinking) often requires mostly your intercostal muscles with minimum diaphragm involvement and no abdominals.

Panting and deep breathing use more diaphragm and start recruiting your abdominals and really deep breathing fully tenses your abdominals muscles to get as much air as possible.

If your breathing is very shallow, such as after injury or when trying to make your breathing as quiet as possible, it’s often possible to breathe using just your intercostal muscles, with your diaphragm simply being influenced by the change in pressure, rather than causing the change itself.

It is possible to breath without using the diaphragm – using the intercostal muscles (the ones between the ribs)

These muscles make your lungs expand (or contract) outwards, rather than downwards which happens with the diaphragm.

although commonly used to mean larger or smaller breaths, “deep” and “shallow” breathing in this sense does not refer to the amount of air drawn in – instead it refers to where in the body the breathing activity takes place – for diaphragmatic breathing, the expansion of the lungs happens downwards – “deep” in the chest, whereas intercostal breathing takes place higher up (or “shallower”) – the amount of air drawn using either method varies

(the diaphragm also provides utility in core strengthening, so might also be prioritised in weight-lifters and so on)

If you get hurt or a part of your body is stopping your belly from moving outwards as you breath AngryOldLady your lungs will breath from your chest to increase the amount of pressure on your heart to help your heart send blood to the injured sights so that your blood can repair them. 🙂