All too often, we forget about the role breathing plays in exercise, from simple yoga poses to the most high-intensity workouts. To some extent, it’s natural to assume your body will adjust as needed, such that your breathing will catch up (or slow down) to whatever it ought to be. This, after all, is more or less what happens when we run or walk. However, it’s not always that simple. To get the most out of your workouts, and to go about them in the healthiest way possible, it’s also necessary to learn some specific breathing techniques.
Exhale On Lifts, Inhale On Returns
Regular weightlifters who have had some experience with training will be familiar with this technique, but it’s something that should be the foundation for everyone’s resistance training routines. So, if you’ve ever wondered how to breathe while lifting, or if you’re susceptible to getting a little bit inconsistent with your breaths, remember that you should exhale while exerting, and inhale when easing up. As a broader guide to workout breathing described it, contracting the respiratory muscles (by exhaling) will help brace the load and maintain lumbar stability. The “easy part,” letting a weight back down, allows you to slowly relax your body as you take in more oxygen.
For Abs, Squeeze On Exhalation
This is a trick a lot of people don’t know until they’ve been told to try it, and in fact it’s popular in some workout programs that you can subscribe to or buy tapes of. The idea is that as you exhale, you should squeeze from below the navel, basically contracting your abdominal muscles so as to get a little bit more out of a workout. It actually makes very clear sense: inhaling and exhaling with any degree of force actually uses your so-called stomach muscles, which makes this a way to effectively double down on an ab workout.
Breathe Deeply To Center Yourself
I mentioned yoga poses previously, and it’s actually these kinds of exercises that teach us how to stay relaxed, centered, and ready for more vigorous activity through deep breathing. A blog post about breathing techniques for certain kinds of activities pointed out that deep breathing exercises can make your respiratory process more efficient, which is a lasting benefit rather than a momentary one. This basically means that by practicing these techniques – things like alternate nostril breathing, Sama Vritti, etc. – you can essentially prime your system for optimal breathing when going about other activities. So if you want to get the very most out of your workouts, both in cardio and resistance training, it’s best to devote some time to practiced, deep breathing.
Laura Ciotte is a personal trainer and tutor/assessor for trainee personal trainers. She is based in Worthing, West Sussex and likes travelling, motorbikes and good food.
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