Working out can be tough and tiring. Challenging yourself a little more each time you exercise is necessary especially if you’re trying to reach a specific fitness goal. Of course, you should not forget about the other, smaller tweaks that can improve your workout performance. One of those small things that can make a big difference is paying attention to your breathing. The way you breath can actually make a difference to your training. When you breath correctly, you maximize the flow of oxygen around your body, that can give you more energy and help prevent stitches. It also helps to keep calm as we Crossfit on.
Here are some quick breathing tips to keep in mind to get more from your workouts.
1. Fill your diaphragm.
Your diaphragm is a muscle located between your thoracic cavity (chest) and abdominal cavity, and it should be the main workhorse that powers your breathing, whether you’re exercising or not. Yet many of us don’t fully engage this muscle when breathing, and instead take shorter, more shallow breaths that begin and end in the chest.‘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 and can put unnecessary strain on your body.
Have a practice at 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 CrossFit workout.
Breathing correctly builds strength in your diaphragm, which in turn builds your cardio power.
Here are some basic guidelines for both strength work and workouts:
You just need to have a massive gulping big breath that fills your stomach (diaphragm) with as much air as possible before your body takes the load of the weights that your lifting. Hold your breath for the whole rep then exhale when the rep is finished and then inhale again if you need to do more reps. This keeps your diaphragm (core) tight and braced while under load. It will helps to re oxygenate your blood removing waste and bringing more nutrient back to the muscle to go again.
The easiest way to do this is to breath long and deep right from the start of the workout. You can try to time the length of your breath with a number of reps. It is also best to practice this body weight or light weight loads first so the requirement to have your core braced using your breath isn’t as vital. You will develop the skill to have a rhythm for larger loads where you’re timing your breathing with a slight hold whilst under a heavy load then calming back down to regain that rhythm while continuing your workout.
2. Actually do it
Of course, you do need to breathe! Not just in between, but during exercises. It is instinctive reaction to hold your breath during a challenging movement, but this is counterproductive. It will make you tire faster and push up your heart rate.
If you constantly holding your breath, use your words. Counting out load can force you to keep inhaling and exhaling.
3. Don’t overdo it
Now that you’re breathing, don’t do it too much. Hyperventilating expels too much carbon dioxide from your body too quickly, causing you to become lightheaded.
Prevent this from happening by keeping your breathing on a happy medium as much as possible – no giant gulps for air and no rapid in / out breaths. Establish a rhythm and stick to it as much as possible.