Breathing Effects Training More Than Training Effects Breathing.
Huh? Yes, nasal breathing and breath control in movements is the second most important thing, maybe first when training. You have hair in your nose to filter air and warm it up before it goes through your system, your mouth doesn't. Think about that. Also, you can't out train bad breathing habits. A slight change to your breathing will create quick and long lasting improvement to your ability to increase your endurance and output. Bad breathing habits cause snoring, sleep apnea, reduction in quality sleep, and reduction in muscle recovery. Good breathing habits will improve posture, increase our oxygen to our blood, and reduce muscle tension.
There are two main things you will hear when I'm coaching. "Which muscles do you feel the movement in?" and "breathe". If you can do both, you are setting your health and fitness path to be long and successful.
We hold our breath when we don't feel comfortable in the movement. Most of the time you won't even recognize it. You probably hold your breath in the bottom of a wallball, a thruster, or even a handstand. If we can breathe through a movement slowly we are telling our body that it is safe to move this way. Then we increase the intensity and should realize our body isn't freaking out and forcing a rest before you want one.
Here's a simple task to see how well we breath. Wallballs are pretty common nowadays so let's focus on them. First, perform 25 wallballs as you normally would. Check your heart rate and be aware of your breathing. Is it fast and heavy? Probably a little. Now, perform 3 sets of 5 wallballs really slow. Your pace should match your breathing rhythm. As you squat inhale through the nose, don't worry about depth. Start breathing out through the mouth BEFORE you come out of the squat and continue to give a long exhale as you toss the ball to the wall. I like to breath loud enough that I can hear my air to help see if I'm holding my breath at any point. It should be a seamless inhale to exhale.
Once we can move slow and find that we are focusing more on our breathing than reps we can start to increasing the speed. You might find you take a couple shorter inhale and exhales through the movement and that's normal. Remember our focus is constant air coming in and out of the body and not on depth or reps at this point. Like I said, start with inhales through the nose and out the mouth.
As you get better at this we want all the air coming in and out of the nose to start. Then we start increasing the range of motion. Ultimately when we have a high intensity workout we are forced to breath through the mouth- think like a dog. They breath through their nose all day long. when they are out chasing balls or cars they will start breathing through their mouth.
Retest with 25 wallballs with your new breathing practice. I suggest having someone count your reps because you should be focusing on your breath. When you finish you should feel like you aren't struggling to get air into your lungs and feel like you can get right back into the movement. Check your heart rate too. That's what we want!
If you are unsure this applies to you here's a helpful tip. On your next couple hard workouts be aware of the reasons you are resting. If it's due to you trying to catch your breath, try dialing your breathing technique and let us know how it turned out.
Reach out if you want help to improve your fitness, PR your benchmarks workouts, or understand how your body should be moving.