Your breath is powerful in the performance of your strenuous activity.
Harnessing the power of breathing can change your workout, I will go over the importance of being the master of your breathing, and how much it can improve your performance.
First there are two ways to breath;
1. Apical Breathing –Â Also referred to upper chest breathing. It contains most movement in the upper chest. This can be caused by many things. Asthma, Smoking, stress or bad posture are some examples.
2. Diaphragmatic Breathing – This is the most efficient way to breath, it is in fact the most natural way. This way of breathing uses the diaphragm, muscles between your ribs and some muscles in the neck, this makes breathing much more efficient.
Take notice in your body when you breath – do it now!
What happens? Do your shoulders rise, but your diaphragm doesn’t engage much? This is a sheer sign of apical breathing. Â This article by the Canadian College of Message and Hydrotherapy explains apical breathing.
Unless there is a medical condition present, this can be consciously corrected.
To put it in a nutshell before I get deeper into detail, when we don’t breath efficiently we are forced to breath more often, which results in more blood going to the muscles being used to do the action of breathing more often than truly required, that blood is not being sent to the part of the body that needs it most.
When you are doing a strenuous activity, I will use weight lifting as an example; your goal is to get the most amount of oxygen into the system as you can, to assist with your muscle contraction, this is absolutely vital for someone who is looking to get gains in the most time efficient matter. The key is to link breathing to muscle contraction, for weight lifting it is important to breath out as you contract or lift. This makes you more powerful.
We all too often hit the gym focusing only on reps, sets and form, when breathing is a key factor that can ultimately take that workout session from a 5 to a 10 in potential results. When we neglect this factor we do it at the cost of diminishing the effort we put in and we also risk muscle and other tissue injury. Your breath is powerful!
Master the skill of breathing
Next time you are at the gym allow your breathing to guide your rep, for every rep there will be an efficient inhale and exhale. This may require you to slow down and really focus on the type of breathing you are performing.
If your doing activity that is rythmatic like running, swimming or cycling the key is to link up your breathing to your body’s rhythm.
When doing mobility and flexibility, relax and take deep long breaths. Release the breath on exhale instead of pushing the breath out.
This does not necessarily mean you need to breath at your full lung capacity, if you are breathing in the most efficient way. A full breath can throw you off and it may not be necessary for what you are doing.
I encourage you to play with this and master it, I have and I can feel it in my strength. I am more relaxed and focused and it allows me to quickly enter my “mind to muscle” zone.
Share this with your athletic buddies, it is vital for optimal performance
Your breath is powerful!
All the best in your journey to success,