8 Effective Breathing Exercises For Singers Saturday June 10 2023, 9:15 PM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
8 Effective Breathing Exercises For Singers

Breathing Exercises For Singing 

Breathing correctly plays a crucial role in maintaining sufficient air while singing through phrases.

Instead of relying on shallow breaths from the throat, singers should develop a habit of diaphragmatic breathing, which involves drawing air from the chest.

Before you get into certain exercises, I want to make sure you know the role that the diaphragm plays in good breathing techniques for singers.

To understand your diaphragm better, imagine it situated in your chest. It expands when you inhale and contracts when you exhale.

By opting for more shallow breathing with your throat, you'll likely experience breath depletion and may need to pause mid-phrase to gasp for air or compromise the quality of your notes.

Contrary to popular belief, taking a deep breath does not require sucking in your stomach. Instead, focus on allowing your stomach to expand as you inhale, creating a sense of wideness.

Related Post: 14 Vocal Exercises For Beginners Learning How To Sing


Deep Breathing

This exercise focuses on expanding your belly while breathing to engage the diaphragm fully. Find a comfortable position, either lying down or sitting up straight.

Place your hands on your stomach. Inhale slowly through your nose, allowing the air to fill your lungs while consciously pushing your stomach out.

Feel the expansion in your abdomen. Exhale slowly through your mouth, allowing your stomach to naturally fall.

Alternatively, you can place your hands on the sides of your rib cage with your fingers pointing toward the front. Inhale deeply through your nose, actively expanding your rib cage against the resistance of your hands.

Feel your rib cage expand outward as you take in air. Exhale slowly and completely.

Repeat this deep belly breathing several times, emphasizing the sensation of your stomach rising and falling with each breath. This exercise helps you develop diaphragmatic control and increases your lung capacity.

Straw Breathing

Using a regular drinking straw, this exercise adds resistance to your breath, promoting better breath control. Place the straw between your lips, keeping a relaxed posture.

Inhale slowly and deeply through the straw, feeling the slight resistance. As you exhale, maintain control over the airflow and gradually release the breath through the straw.

The resistance created by the straw forces your diaphragm and intercostal muscles to work harder, enhancing breath support and lung capacity.

Practice this exercise regularly to improve your breath control and strengthen your diaphragm.

Related Post: All About Straw Singing (Also Known As Straw Phonation)


Sustained Sighs

This exercise helps develop breath control and encourages a steady flow of air while singing. Stand in a relaxed posture with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Take a deep breath, filling your lungs completely. As you exhale, release a long, controlled sigh. Focus on maintaining an even and continuous flow of air throughout the sigh.

Gradually increase the duration of the sigh as you become more comfortable, aiming for a smooth and uninterrupted exhale.

Sustained sighs improve your ability to make it through phrases without running out of breath, ultimately enhancing your vocal performance.

Breath Holds

Start by taking a deep breath, filling your lungs to their fullest capacity. Hold your breath for a few seconds, counting mentally (e.g., 5 seconds).

Then, exhale slowly and completely, emptying your lungs. As you become more comfortable, increase the duration of the breath hold.

This exercise challenges your lungs to hold more air and trains your body to use air efficiently during singing or speaking. Regular practice of breath holds will help you develop greater breath control and lung capacity.


Inhale-Exhale Ratio

As a level-up from the previous exercise, this one trains your breath control by practicing different durations of inhalation and exhalation.

Begin by inhaling for a specific count (e.g., 4 counts), making sure to take in a full breath. Then, exhale for a longer count (e.g., 8 counts), ensuring a controlled and steady release of air.

This exercise can be adjusted based on your comfort level. As you progress, increase the duration of both the inhalation and exhalation counts.

Inhale-exhale ratio exercises improve your ability to sustain longer phrases while maintaining a steady airflow, enhancing your overall vocal performance.


Lip Trills

Lip trills, also known as lip buzzing or lip bubbles, are an effective exercise for warming up your voice and improving your breath control. Gently press your lips together, creating a buzzing sound as you exhale.

The sound should be produced by the airflow and the vibration of your lips. Practice sustaining the lip trill on a comfortable pitch, focusing on maintaining a steady and controlled breath flow.

Lip trills help relax tension in your vocal mechanism, engage your diaphragm, and develop breath support. Incorporate lip trills into your warm-up routine to enhance your vocal flexibility and control.

Related Post: How To Lip Trill And Why It's So Important


Similar to straw breathing, hissing exercises are a great way to improve breath control, vocal airflow, and overall vocal stamina.

Begin by standing or sitting in a relaxed position. Take a deep breath and then exhale slowly and steadily through a small opening between your teeth, creating a hissing sound.

Focus on maintaining a controlled and consistent stream of air throughout the hiss. You can experiment with different durations and intensities of hissing. 

Practice this regularly to strengthen your breath control and refine your vocal technique.


Panting is an exercise that helps increase your lung capacity and strengthens your breath control. Stand or sit comfortably with good posture.

Take a quick, shallow breath in through your mouth, followed by a forceful exhale through your mouth, almost like a dog panting.

Repeat this panting pattern several times, focusing on quick inhalations and exhalations. The rapid breathing engages your diaphragm and trains your body to take in oxygen efficiently.

This exercise improves breath control and helps you build stamina for longer phrases and energetic performances.

Related Post: 7 Singing Techniques To Try For A Better Performance

Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page.

Check Out My Latest Single Release Below:

You May Also Like