4 ways to get stronger with breathing techniques

4 ways to get stronger with breathing techniques

Breathing is by far the most natural action in the world. But how you breathe in and out can seriously affect your power capabilities. Discover the secret to controlling your breathing using these four techniques.

The breathing process is simple: air flows in and then is forced out of the lungs. This is an automatic body work. She keeps us active and just alive. Although the breathing process is automatic, in most cases we do have the ability to control this process and decide when to apply such control. And the way we apply this breath during our exercise can have a major impact on our performance in the gym.

This is due to the diaphragm (the muscles that control breathing). The diaphragm is a domed muscle located at the bottom of your chest that flattens out as it contracts. This increases the volume inside this cavity and draws in air. When this diaphragm relaxes, the internal volume of this cavity decreases and expels air.

But your breathing can also change in response to other circumstances, and often for a very good reason. Just ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • What were your actions when you choked on your last intense workout? You probably just took big breaths to lower your heart rate.
  • How did you usually do the breathing when trying to complete your hardest set? You most likely just held your breath to help yourself create more tension as you climb.
  • If during the ascent you noticed that you were trembling, what did you do? You continued to climb, holding your breath and intensely pulling in your abdominal muscles.

The result of all this is that your body begins to innately perceive the function of breathing during your exercise and stress, and it adjusts accordingly. Studying the natural energy of breathing means that we are able to improve strength lifts, stabilize the spine, and increase our recovery through simple breathing. Many even use breathing for weight loss.

Below are four breathing practices to help you practice breath control as you learn to focus your mind, tighten your spine, and eliminate daily stress.

Anytime: breathing yoga

Anytime: breathing yoga

Breathing practice (in Sanskrit as "ujayi" - ocean breathing) is an active type of breathing, which is best practiced in a comfortable, sitting position. It's common in yoga classes, but it's also worth practicing at home and outside the gym.

Before you learn to perfectly control your breathing, you must feel what the ujayi breathing teaches. This will help you understand exactly how correct breathing works and how you can develop the ability to slow it down or speed it up. When you master it in the right way, you can ideally use it as a powerful tool in your training.

How to do it correctly:

  • Sit down straight, expand your chest, relax your shoulders.
  • Keep your eyes closed and start breathing into your nose. Slow down your breathing by slowly entering a count of 4 and a similar exhalation to a count of 4.
  • When you have this rhythm for yourself, begin to squeeze the back of your throat as you breathe. This will create a slightly rumbling ocean sound that accompanies this breathing exercise.
  • Continue the technique for 5 minutes, keeping your focus on breathing support.

Pre-workout: alternate nostril breathing

This breathing practice teaches you to pay attention to each subsequent breath. This is the perfect preparation to help you focus your body and mind before exercising.

How to do it correctly:

  • Get into a comfortable sitting position, let your shoulders relax, your chest open.
  • Keep your eyes closed and start breathing slowly, calmly through your nose. Perform 10 inhalation-exhalation cycles before moving on to the next step.
  • Use the thumb of your right hand to cover your right nostril. Inhale slowly with the left nostril.
  • Cover the left nostril with your right ring finger and exhale with your right nostril.
  • Use your right thumb to block off your right nostril and inhale with your left. Then cover the left and exhale with the right. Continue this pattern for up to 10 breaths.

During training: breathing with fixation and hold

This exercise directly affects the strength and success of your strength lifts. Understanding exactly how to pull your core muscles towards your center to strengthen your spine, while always maintaining a rhythmic breathing, means stronger, safer workouts for you.

How to do it correctly:

  • Get into a standing position, letting your shoulders relax, and your legs and hips.
  • Breathe in forcefully through your nose and hold your breath, pull your ribs back and down slightly.
  • Hold this position on a slow count of five, then exhale through your mouth, only releasing about 50% of the tension you created throughout your torso.
  • Breathe in deeply through your nose, keep absolute tension, slowly counting to five, then exhale through your mouth.
  • Perform four breaths in this way, then rest for 30 minutes.

After completing this breathing pattern for three rounds, use it during your climbs. How? First, tune in to the lift, inhale deeply through your nose, draw in your belly and also your ribs, lift, then exhale.

Post-workout: restorative breathing

This ultimate breathing practice seems easy enough to practice, but can be difficult to maintain over time. The ideal time to practice this is while you stretch after exercise or at home. This practice can be challenging as your mind will wander and your breath will change. And your goal is relaxation and consistency.

How to do it correctly:

  • Breathe through your nose very slowly and gently for at least 5 minutes.
  • You do not need to be in a meditation style sitting posture while you practice.
  • But if this is a comfortable way for you to focus, then do it this way.

Otherwise, do breathing workouts while you cool down, stretch, or even drive home from the gym.