Did you know that the way you breathe can actually make a difference to your training?
When you breathe ‘right’, you maximize the flow of oxygen around your body. This gives you more energy and helps prevent stitches. It also helps you keep calm as you train.
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!
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 CrossFit-style repetition training.
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 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.
So how exactly should you 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.
Not every technique suits each individual, so have a chat to your trainer about what works best for you.