How to Stretch the Diaphragm and Longitudinal Muscle

The diaphragm and longitudinal muscles of the stomach play an important role in everyday functions. The diaphragm is responsible for supplying the force behind every breath you take; your longitudinal muscles help stabilize your body when you are moving around. By stretching out these two sets of muscles regularly, you help your body avoid injury and keep yourself feeling healthier.

Woman in cobra pose on yoga mat outside Credit: deeepblue/iStock/Getty Images

Stretching Out the Diaphragm

Step 1

Lie on your back on a flat surface so that you are spread out in a relaxed position.

Step 2

Place a small sandbag or a large bag of rice on your stomach, just below your belly button. This will place added pressure on your diaphragm, causing it to stretch further.

Step 3

Take in deep breaths and push up the sandbag or rice bag while doing so. This is known as sandbag breathing, according to the Institute for Integrative Healthcare Studies.

Step 4

Continue this procedure 10 times; you should notice that you are now using your diaphragm more while breathing.

Step 5

Repeat this exercise on a daily basis to ensure that your diaphragm is well stretched.

Stretching the Abdominal Longitudinal Muscles

Step 1

Lie face-down on the floor and slide your elbows back until they are lined up with your shoulders.

Step 2

Prop yourself up on your elbows, keeping your arms a little closer than shoulders-width apart.

Step 3

Arch your back, pushing your stomach toward the floor and lifting your shoulders up toward the ceiling at the same time.

Step 4

Push the stretch until you feel a light amount of pressure and hold the position for 30 seconds.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandbag or rice bag

  • Yoga mat


Never push your stretch to the point where it hurts; this only leads to injury and defeats the purpose of stretching at all.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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