Crocodile Breathing: a foundation for strength & control

Proper breathing should be the foundation of any rehab or exercise program. The chiropractors at Mountain Health & Performance give rehab exercises/plans to all of our patients as a part of their treatment plan to compliment manual therapy.


Crocodile Breathing is a way of encouraging activation of the diaphragm which is the main muscle of respiration. When you use your diaphragm to breathe as opposed to the more typical “shallow breathing” using the chest and shoulders it has a variety of health benefits.

Crocodile breathing is diaphragmatic breathing done laying on your belly with the body completely relaxed. It can help improve the following:


1. Neck & shoulder tension

2. Lower back tension

3. Sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system balance

4. Core/stability for exercise

5. Thoracic Spine (middle back) mobility





  • Lie on your stomach with your forehead resting in your hands, the body completely relaxed.

  • Begin breathing.

  • Locate where you feel your breathe “rising and falling”.

  • If you feel movement in the neck, chest or upper back focus  on drawing your breath into the low back/abdomen.

  • Begin to gently push out the sides of your waist with your inhalations and allow everything to relax on the exhalation.

  • You want to feel a “ballooning in and out” of your belly, back and sides (think 360-degree expansion of your midsection).

  • Continue to breathe for about 5 minutes daily.

  • Use this technique to begin your workout or during periods of increased stress, pain or tension.

  • Put a pillow under your hips or legs if you have low back pain or tension (see if this helps).