Did you know that the way you breathe can actually make a difference to your training? When you breathe ‘right’ it gives you more energy and helps prevent side stitch cramping. Getting your breath under control keeps you going strong during your workout! Keep these quick breathing tips in mind to get more from your workouts. 1. Actually do it You do need to breathe! Not just in between, but during exercises. Holding your breath may be an instinctive reaction during a challenging movement, but this is counterproductive. It will make you tire faster and drive up your heart rate. If you find yourself constantly holding your breath, use your words. A bit of a roar, or counting out loud can force you to keep inhaling and exhaling. (Just try to keep the swearing at a minimum!) Note: During heavier weightlifting sets you will need to take a “blocking breath” to brace yourself before you lift the weight. 2. Block Breathing (Valsalvas Maneuver) During intense load-bearing exercises, this technique increases the intra abdominal and thoracic pressure and helps to stabilize the spine. This is used in movements like the squat, deadlift, and press. By creating the rigidity throughout the abdomen the athlete will more efficiently transfer energy from the ground through your body to help you perform better in certain movements. 3. Fill your diaphragm ‘Chest’ or ‘shoulder’ breathing is a no-no when working out because you are not totally filling your lungs with the good stuff (air). Taking shallow breaths uses the wrong muscles, leaves a portion of the lungs not utilized, and can put unnecessary strain on your body. Practice breathing with your full diaphragm. You’ll notice you need to stand or sit up straight to do so, which is great because posture also makes a difference to your workout. Breathing correctly builds strength in your diaphragm, which in turn builds your cardio vascular endurance and recovery. 4. Practice Box Breathing Box breathing is a technique that is used to teach you how to control your breathing and build up efficacy in oxygenation. It’s simple. You can use an app called Pranayama and make a custom program. It’s a 20 sec breath, so you are breathing 3 breaths per min. You breathe in for 5 seconds, hold that breath for 5 seconds, slowly exhale for 5 seconds, and hold the empty position for 5 seconds. Using the app is great because the tones change every 5 seconds so you can relax, meditate a bit, and not watch the clock.
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