Breathing happens automatically, even if you are not thinking about it. But if you do, you can unlock stores of energy and unload stress 24/7– plus be stronger, speedier, and more centered during your workouts. But how do you breathe to achieve all that? Here are the best breathing techniques you can use to get the most out of whatever routine you’re doing.
1.During heavy lifting
As is with all general exercises, inhale through your nose before you lift. Then, as you hoist the weight, briefly close your airway, almost as if holding your breath, so that no air escapes you forcefully as you attempt to exhale,says conditioning specialist Tony Mikla, the performance physical therapy manager for the Exos training centre in Phoenix. This braces your core and protects your spine by decreasing the space between your diaphragm and pelvic floor.
2.On lighter strength days
Inhale before the lift, then exhale as you’re hoisting the weight, Mikla says. Inhale again as you lower the weight back to start. “Keep you rib aligned over your pelvis so that the diaphragm and pelvic floor are facing each other, like the top and bottom of a can,” Mikla says. If your pelvis is tilted or your rib cage is off-kilter, “it’s like having a hole in the can and leads to a loss of air,” Mikla explains. “That causes wasted energy.”
3.For steady runs
Use an even ratio of respiration to steps, Mikla says. For example, breathe in for two to four strides, then breathe out for an equal number. You need a balanced amount of oxygen coming in and adequate CO2 going out in order to facilitate muscle contraction, he says. This makes for an ideal exchange.
During the acceleration phase, take a deep breath, then consistently exhale for four seconds; this will help to increase your power, Mikla says. You can also try doing the exhale forcefully through pursed lips to increase your trunk stability.
Breathe in and out through your nose with equal-length inhales and exhales. “This calms the central nervous system,” says Tanya Boulton, a yoga teacher for Pure Yoga in New York City.