If you follow my blog posts, you may have noticed I have referenced breathing on more than one occasion. Usually when I have referenced breathing it is in regards to meditation. One of my favorite meditation exercises is counting my breaths. As soon as any other thoughts come into my mind besides the number of breaths I have taken I start over again at 1. What you may not be aware of is how you breathe affects your workout.
The moment you start gasping for air out of your mouth is the moment that your body starts to go into panic mode. But if you can instead control your breathing via through your nose you can maintain a much greater level of focus, especially in a high intensity aerobic work out. Focusing on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth in a controlled manner can greatly improve your pacing ability.
Similar to aerobic workouts breathing is also important in anaerobic workouts like lifting weights. Breathing becomes extremely important when a movements primary stabilizer involves one’s abdominals. Next time you find yourself having to do any kind of squatting movement in a workout focus on the following breathing pattern: deep breath in before squatting, squat while holding your breath, breathe out aggressively while standing up. Breathing like this is especially helpful in weighted back squats, front squats, and overhead squats.
A couple of notes on the breathing during a squat:
– We don’t hold our breathe just to do it, imagine you are trying to brace your abdominal muscles to take a punch; think stabilization.
– Do not start to breathe out until you have started your recovery out of the bottom. This will help you past your sticking point.
– When breathing out in the recovery of the squat press your tongue against the roof of your mouth and push the air out like you are breathing through a straw. (this is breathing aggressively)
See you soon,
Rochester Barbell Club
USAW level 1 club coach
Crossfit Level 1 Trainer
Good stuff Nic! I remember my first thai boxing fight, all of my coaches kept telling me to remember to breathe. I kept thinking, “how will I forget to breathe?”. Well, I did forget, at least how to breathe properly. And although I was in the best shape of my life, I was struggling hard to find my lungs. Some of it had to do with a massive adrenaline dump from being so nervous as well. Still, good advice!
It’s true! Just focusing on my breathing helped me get a 10# squat PR. It sounds funny at first, but after a while it becomes comfortable.