Breathing is something tend to forget about when it comes to our routine because it is already something our bodies does involuntarily without us even having to think about it.
The act of breathing in itself is simple, your body uses your lungs to pump oxygen rich air in to your body, and again uses the lungs to remove the carbon dioxide rich blood from our bodies.
While our body naturally controls breathing involuntarily, we do have voluntary control over our breathing which we can use to help further improve our performance in the gym or during any type of sport or athletic event.
Most people would guess that the key to controlling your breathing would be power over your lungs, which would be a good guess although they would be wrong. The most important thing to consider when trying to control your breathing is the diaphragm.
The diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle that is located at the bottom of the thoracic cavity, directly below the lungs. When this muscle contracts, it flattens out opening up the chest cavity, which essentially pulls in air from the environment in to the lungs.
Conversely to expel air the diaphragm relaxes, which causes it to move back further north in the body, reducing the size of the cavity, expelling air out of the lungs.
Your breathing will change in response to the work you’re doing to compensate for the oxygen lost as a result. The body does this naturally without the presence of mind needed to do so.
The next time you are working out intensively, take note of how your body responds to these changed. Typically if your heart is racing, you will slow down your breathing, taking in long deep breaths otherwise known as “sucking wind”.
Being able to effectively control your breathing can help you perform better in your workout in a multitude of ways. Here are some areas where learning how breathe properly can greatly affect the results you see from your workout.
Here are some techniques you can use to help you control your breathing, reduce stress, and get more out of your workout.
Controlling and Holding Your Breath Throughout Exercise
The first thing you need to know is how to control your breathing during exercise. Being able to control your breathing allows you to firm up those core muscles which help to stabilize your spine during your workout.
Being able to control your breathing and stabilizing yourself means that you are going to be able to lift more weight, and in a more safe and controlled manner.
You should be using this breathing technique for every type of weight training exercise you do.
To start, begin in a relaxed or loose position. Grab your weights and bring them to the starting position, where ever that may be depending on the exercise.
You want to take a deep breath through your nose, and then begin to exhale through your mouth as you are pushing or pulling through the exercise.
For example if you are doing a flat bench press, start with the bar on your chest, take a deep breath, and begin to exhale as your are pushing the weight up. Make sure to pull your belly in as you inhale to active those core stabilizing muscles.
Controlling Your Breathing While Winding Down
After we are finished working out we are tired and exhausted so many of us don’t want to be bothered with stretching let alone breathing techniques.
After you are done exercising however, it is the perfect time to work on our breathing techniques which can help us control our breathing through exercise.
If you are looking for that little extra edge when it comes to your gains, whether you want to believe it or not breathing can help you get there.
Yoga has become extremely popular as of late, and you can find classes pretty much anywhere. Yoga is all about learning different breathing techniques and how you can use them to better yourself in training.
Being able to slow down your breathing effectively during weight training will help you to lift more, and if you’re concerned about endurance training it can greatly help you there as well.
Getting the most out of our muscle is all about supplying them with ample oxygen and this can be done more effectively through learning how to breathe properly.