Lung Power for Runners

Mindy Solkin, a trainer from New York, teaches runners in her area how to improve their running endurance by strengthening and utilizing their diaphragms. Many sources stress the importance of breathing in the prevention of lung and muscle fatigue. “When you take deeper breaths, you use more air sacs in your lungs, which allows you to take in more oxygen to feed your muscles,” says David Ross, M.D. “When I’m running, I concentrate on taking slow and deep breaths to strengthen my diaphragm.”

Some of Mindy Solkin’s tips for strengthening your lungs are listed below:

1. Open your mouth. Since your mouth is larger than your nostrils, it is more efficient in oxygen uptake.

2. Breathe in Patterns. Breathing in a rhythmic pattern with your steps is a good way to strengthen your diaphragm. For example, start out with the 2-2 method. Breathe in while you step left and step right; breathe out while you step left right. As time goes on, increase your breathing pattern to a 3-3 pattern and then a 4-4 pattern.

3. Perform breathing enhancing exercises.

THE SWAN: lie face down with your hands underneath your shoulders (like you would be at the beginning of a push up). Inhale and lift your head, shoulders, and chest while pushing your hands into the ground. Slowly exhale and return to the starting position.

For more breathing enhancing exercises visit

Writer: Alyssa Wozniak

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