What is something that every human being has in common on this earth?…
If you haven’t already guessed from the title, it’s the fact that we BREATHE.
Breathing is, unsurprisingly, a very overlooked factor of exercise and is taken for granted in life in general, too.
The CompressionZ team thought it would be a great idea to put together a summarised, all in one, “ultimate” guide to everything “breathing” when it comes to exercise to help you, a member of the CompressionZ community to get even more out of their exercising!
Running, especially for beginners can be challenging enough… we know!
Form, tempo and strategy are all aspects of running and if you’re still struggling with any one of these three things, focus on mastering these until you move onto getting your breathing perfect.
If you feel like you’ve already got these three aspects sorted then pay attention:
Although there may not be one golden rule, there are a few things that you can try and then it is up to you to choose what works for you personally!
1 - How Often?
Many runners like to take one breath every two-foot strikes whilst jogging. More commonly known as the 2:2 rhythm, you take a breath in for two-foot strikes (left then right or vice versa) and then for the next two foot strikes you breathe out.
2 - Mouth or Nose?
This has been an ongoing debate for years and has shown no signs of slowing down… not even today, in 2016.
There has been a range of studies comparing oral vs. nasal breathing and from a non-bias perspective, the results look pretty inconclusive. A breathing expert, Alison McConnell says “My advice is to breathe through the mouth during exercise simply because it is the route of least resistance” she also mentioned that “Breathing via the nose just makes things needlessly hard.”
On the other hand, many experts have been known to say that nasal breathing has a range of benefits including an increased amount of CO2 saturation within the blood which is supposed to create a more calming effect.
Another argument for nasal breathing is that it can help warm the air entering the lungs (helps on cold, winter workouts!)
If you are involved in sports like football, soccer, basketball or any other high-intensity sports, you are often faced with situations that can literally take your breath away.
But what should you do before getting ready to take a “blow” or a tackle?
The breathing expert, Alison McConnell advises that the best way to do this is to take a deep breath and to brace the core. This will not only make sure you do not find yourself seriously out of breath but also help you to perform at your best and to “hold your own”.
Don’t pant like a pansy!...
Panting furiously in the middle of a competitive game can not only make you panic and lose focus but can even come across as a sign of weakness to the opposition. If you can control your breathing with deeper, calmer breathing patterns, even when you feel like all you want to do is gasp for air then you will come across as more capable and strong from a psychological standpoint, too!
Gym - Strength Training:
Competitive, professional strongmen or strength competitors often don’t breath for multiple reps of exercises like squats or bench press.
This is NOT recommended for even intermediate strength training athletes as this can be very dangerous when not done in the right way.
A safe way of breathing is to do one of the two main options below:
1 - Taking the bench press as an example, when at the top of the exercise (arms extended) you take a deep breath and then complete the repetition, only breathing out once you return to the top of the rep. Then, take another deep breath and repeat.
2 - Breath in at the top of the rep and as you bring the bar down to your chest, the positive part of the exercise (in this case, pushing the bar off of your chest, towards the point of full arm extension) you breath out slowly. Then take a breath at the top of the movement and repeat.
Gym - Muscle Building:
When it comes to muscle building in the gym, breathing is often overlooked and can be surprisingly different to strength training.
Although it differs from exercise to exercise, you want to stay closer to the option “2” of strength training. However, there are some vital differences.
Let’s take abdominal training as an example… breathing is arguably more important than any other exercise for abdominal training!
For a basic abdominal crunch, you would lay flat on the ground with your knees up towards the ceiling. As you pull yourself up with your abs, you take a slow and long breath out until you have no more / little more air to blow out of your lungs. At the same time, you contract your abdominals intensely and with this breathing pattern (as opposed to breathing sporadically) will completely change the effectiveness of the exercise.
Breathing sporadically, for example, could take 12-15 reps before you feel the “burn” in the abs, with proper breathing it could take as little as 6-8 reps.
Try it out for yourself!
So now its time to unwind… finally!
If you take part in Yoga, you may have heard that breathing is important, but you may have also heard contradictory information.
We are now going to expose the myths…
Many breathing and yoga experts have agreed that equal breathing is an excellent strategy to practice whilst participating in Yoga.
This style of breathing has been proven to help lower blood pressure, calm the nervous system and even reduce stress.
More intense styles of Yoga require a different type of breath… known as victorious breath. This is to simply breathe in and out via the nasal passage whilst maintaining a small contraction within the back of the throat.
We hope that you have benefited from this post and have picked up some tips and tricks on breathing to implement in your next workout.