Did you know that the way you breathe can actually make a difference to your training?
When you breathe ‘right’, you maximise the flow of oxygen around your body. This gives you more energy and helps prevent stitches. It also helps you keep calm as you CrossFit on.Keep these quick breathing tips in mind to get more from your workouts.
1. Actually do it
You do need to breathe! Not just in between, but during exercises. Holding your breath may be an instinctive reaction during a challenging movement, but this is counterproductive. It will make you tire faster and push up your heart rate.
If you find yourself constantly holding your breath, use your words. A bit of a roar, or counting out loud can force you to keep inhaling and exhaling. Just try to keep the swearing at a minimum! (Said from the man that almost every second word is a swear word lol)
Note: There is a method called the Valsalva Technique, which does recommend holding your breath, however this is only for lifting extremely heavy loads and is not recommended when doing a high rep CrossFit style workout.
2. 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.
3. Fill your diaphragm
‘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.
How to breathe
Some exercise physiologists recommend breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Others say to always exhale as you lift a weight, inhaling as you place it back down.
So here are my basic guidelines for both strength work and workouts:
This one is easy, you need to inhale, and I mean a MASSIVE gulping big breath that fills your stomach (diaphragm) with as much air as possible before your body takes the load of whatever your lifting. Hold your breath for the whole rep then exhale when the rep is finished and then inhale again if you have more reps to do.
This keeps your diaphragm (core) tight and braced while under load. Inhaling and exhaling at the top (or finish position of the rep) helps to re-oxygenate your blood removing waste and bringing more nutrient back to the muscle to go again.
This one is a little more tricky to practise because of the stress we’re under in a workout but that's half the point… you’re probably more stressed in a workout than you need to be because you’re not breathing properly.
You need to stay calm, easy said than done. I talked before about establishing a rhythm. The easiest way to do this is to breath long and deep right from the start of the workout. Try to time the length of your breath with a number of reps.
2 Push Press in inhale, 2 Push Press exhale.
It’s best to practice this bodyweight or light weight loads first so the requirement to have your core braced using your breath isn’t as vital. As you start to get better at this you’ll 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 and regaining that rhythm whilst continuing with the workout.
Take a deep breath! It’s time to book in for a FREE CrossFit trial session. All you need to CLICK HERE and complete the form. One of our coaches will call you right away to discuss your goals.