How to sing with the diaphragm: 10 steps (with pictures)

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How to sing with the diaphragm: 10 steps (with pictures)
How to sing with the diaphragm: 10 steps (with pictures)

The diaphragm is a flat muscle that separates the chest cavity (the place where your lungs and heart are located) from the internal organs of the rest of the body. This muscle is perhaps most famous for its spasms and being the cause of hiccups, although it also plays a vital role in singing. To sing properly you have to support your breath on the diaphragm, in such a way that this muscle forces the air from the lungs and carries it through the voice. If you want to sing better, learn to strengthen this muscle.


Part 1 of 2: Strengthen Your Diaphragm

Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 1
Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 1

Step 1. Learn to locate the muscles of the diaphragm

Unlike the biceps, it is difficult to feel the muscles of the diaphragm, so it is important that you learn to locate them to strengthen them and sing better. Stand tall and use your hands to find the base of your rib cage. The muscles of the diaphragm are attached here and connect throughout the torso.

  • If you have trouble feeling your diaphragm, lie down on the floor and put a moderate weight on your belly (such as a large book or pillow). Then push that weight using only your belly muscles. At the same time, fill your lungs with air to their maximum capacity and sing. The muscles you use will be those of the diaphragm.
  • The best way to imagine singing with the diaphragm is to think of the muscles in this area as a platform or table. The diaphragm should be firm, stable, and provide a base for your voice to rise through your airways.
Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 2
Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 2

Step 2. Practice diaphragm breathing

To breathe with your diaphragm, breathe in as deeply as you can and expand your belly as much as possible while keeping the rest of your body still. Then exhale and relax your belly. Make sure your shoulders don't move.

  • It is very important that the muscles you use while breathing in this way remain firm and not tense when singing. Your chest, shoulders, and facial muscles need to remain relaxed, not tense, and restricted.
  • Imagine that you are a chimney and that your song comes from the lungs, rises from the diaphragm and is released to the outside through the mouth.
  • Lie on your back and place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Inhale slowly and feel your belly rise. When your chest begins to rise, begin to exhale.
  • Imagine that there is a balloon in your torso, behind your navel. Try to fill the balloon as you inhale and make it release air when you exhale.
Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 3
Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 3

Step 3. Do breathing exercises to strengthen the diaphragm

Regularly exercise your diaphragm muscles. After you learn to breathe properly, you will need to strengthen your diaphragm as much as you can. Take a deep breath from this area and as you exhale, count out loud. Say the numbers slowly and evenly. Don't forget to record your progress daily.

  • Imagine slurping a "shake". Pretend you're sucking on a straw, and don't forget to keep your shoulders and chest still. Hold your hand on your belly to feel the movement.
  • "Pant like a dog." Pant like a tired dog, and don't forget to keep your shoulders and chest still. Similarly, hold your hand on your belly.
  • Imagine that you "go to the bathroom." Although it may sound ridiculous, it is actually a very useful exercise to learn to sing with the diaphragm. Keep your shoulders and chest still as you let out a strong breath, as if you were straining in the bathroom. Don't forget to hold your hand on your belly.
  • Inhale deeply, then exhale through a small straw. The resistance of the small straw resembles when the air passes through the vocal cords while you sing.
Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 4
Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 4

Step 4. Practice breathing exercises along with singing

If you want to strengthen your diaphragm for singing, you will need to include breathing exercises in your singing routine and practice them several times a day. You can practice these simple exercises anywhere or anytime, since you don't need special equipment or other materials, apart from your voice.

Practice breathing exercises while driving to work or watching TV. There are no excuses not to do these simple exercises! You will start to see results in your singing quickly if you have a willingness to practice

Be a Singer Step 2
Be a Singer Step 2

Step 5. Place one finger in each corner of your mouth and push towards your nose while singing a song

As you learn to sing from the diaphragm, sing an intoned song while blowing air through your closed lips. This exercise will ensure that you use enough air while keeping your vocal cords relaxed.

For an example of how to perform this exercise by varying the pitch and volume, check out this video by Celine Dion:

Part 2 of 2: Sing Right

Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 5
Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 5

Step 1. Warm up before singing

Vocal and breathing exercises are essential to prepare your voice before singing. Singing from the diaphragm is only one part of proper singing technique and you have to combine it with other good practices. Before you start singing for an extended period of time, you should do the following:

  • Take a long, deep breath, then hold it for a few seconds. Then breathe out slowly. As you breathe in, raise your arms until your hands touch each other. Finally lower your arms slowly as you exhale. Repeat the exercise three to five times.
  • Start with the lowest note you can sing and work your way up the musical scale to the highest note. While you are doing this, you should not strain or rush, as it is best to sing as slowly as you can. This exercise will help you control your breathing and prepare your mouth cords for singing.
Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 6
Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 6

Step 2. Get into good posture while singing standing up

When singing with your diaphragm, you will need to take longer, deeper breaths. To achieve this, you must have good posture. Keep your back straight, your shoulders pulled back, and focus on holding the posture while you breathe to give as much space as possible for your voice and your breaths.

  • Since the diaphragm is below the rib cage (which protects the lungs), bending over will push your ribs into your lungs, preventing the downward expansion that is needed to take a good breath.
  • If you are tense while maintaining the correct posture, let gravity help you. Stand against a wall so that the back of your head, your shoulders, and your butt are resting against it. See how free the diaphragm feels as you sing!
Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 7
Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 7

Step 3. Sing with your throat open

Look in a mirror while yawning and pay attention to the sensation and opening of your throat. Your throat has to open up this way as you sing, but it should happen as relaxed and loose as possible. You have to practice singing with your throat open to allow air to flow more naturally and freely from the diaphragm and through the body.

Imagine you have a marshmallow the size of a baseball in your throat that is holding it open. Try singing the musical scale while your throat is open. It may take a while to sing the notes as loud as usual, although this is an important part of training your voice to keep it powerful

Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 8
Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 8

Step 4. Work on "both" parts of your voice

Think that your voice is divided into two separate parts that have a link. The high notes are known as the head voice and the low notes are called the chest voice. When singing low notes, avoid singing at the same volume that you sing high notes, as this could make the note louder than it should. To create a full and balanced sound in each of these voices, you have to sing from the diaphragm. However, you must learn to distinguish between the head and chest voice so that you can alternate them with the help of the placement of the musical notes.

Practice breathing exercises regularly to get used to the sensation of alternating between your head and chest voice. Try singing intervals to switch between these two types of voices and improve the transition

Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 9
Sing Using Your Diaphragm Step 9

Step 5. Practice the pronunciation of the consonants

Often the consonants are not heard when singing. Try singing a phrase that has multiple consonants. Sing the phrase multiple times on a single note until each word is heard clearly with the support of full breaths from the diaphragm.


  • Put your hand on the diaphragm. If you feel the muscles moving up and down, it means that you are doing well.
  • It is highly recommended that you get a professional vocal technique teacher. Vocal technique lessons will help you become a better singer.
  • Always prepare your vocal cords before singing. Stretch out and sing some musical scales to prepare your voice.
  • Record yourself as you sing to see if there are differences in the power of your voice.
  • If you breathe from your throat, your chest will rise. Instead, raise the stomach (with the diaphragm inside).


  • Don't force your voice, as you could permanently damage your vocal cords.
  • If you sing with your throat, you can develop nodules on the vocal cords (although the problem will not last long). Nodules can damage your vocal cords.

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