3 Tips For Better Breathing

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Many people aren’t aware of the impact breathing has on a workout, especially when performing the most difficult of exercises, like the one-arm pushup or the one-legged squat (or even a maximum weight deadlift). You may have noticed how many muscles you engage when you do something as familiar as a standard pushup, but if you try to perform a one-arm push up, you’ll notice straight-off that you’re going to need every single muscle in your body to make that happen. And it all starts from the inside out – your breathing.

It might sound absolutely bonkers, but a huge percentage of people don’t even breathe properly. If you want to engage in an activity as difficult as any of the ones we’ve mentioned above, you’re going to need help from your diaphragm. It’s a powerful muscle seated inside your belly that controls your breath, which pretty much makes it one of the most important muscles in your body.

When you inhale, the diaphragm contracts, allowing your lungs to expand. Your chest shouldn’t be rising when you inhale. You need to start breathing with your belly more, so stand upright with one hand on your stomach, take a deep breath and try to expand your stomach against your hand. You won’t be able to do it instantly, but with some trial and error, you should be able to.

2When you learn how to belly-breathe, it’s time to exhale while contracting your core. There’s this thing called the glottis, which is an opening inside your throat that can prevent air from exiting your lungs. Learning to use it will help you control your breath better and tense your body from the inside out. The best way to practice is to perform static holds – get into a static position (a plank would be good) and squeeze your whole body as you exhale, abs, glutes, inner thigs, quads, everything. Once you understand the feel of total-body tension, you’ll soon be able to transfer that power to harder exercises.

Breath control is fundamental, so it would be wise to learn the valsalva maneuver – a technique involving the usage of your diaphragm to create a ‘bubble’ of air in your belly, thus stabilizing the trunk during heavy lifting. Seeing as you have to hold your breath, it’s not advised by many fitness professionals, but with the right person, it’s a potent ability. Combine all three of these factors together, and you’ll be better prepared for some of the most difficult fitness challenges that await you.


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