How To Enhance Your Training With Breathing

Breathing is something we all do automatically (I will save you the neuroscience) but the question is are you breathing correctly and why is a correct breathing technique beneficial to enhance your training?

The easiest way to test whether or not your breathing is correct is to place one of your hands on your stomach and one on your chest. As you breathe in, the hand on your stomach should rise up and it should drop down when you breathe out; the hand on your chest remains stationary.

A majority of people do not have this pattern, instead they only feel the hand on their chest rising up and down. This indicates that they are only activating 1/3 of their lung capacity. This type of breathing activates the ancillary muscles around the ribs (intercostal) which should only be activated during fight or flight situations. Using them during standard day to day activities will lead to feelings of tightness and soreness in the muscles surrounding the ribs and eventually upper back along with shortness of breath.

If your breathing pattern only raises the hand resting on your stomach than you are performing abdominal breathing (also known as diaphragm breathing). This is the most effective way to breathe as it activates the entire lung, causes an internal massaging action on your internal organs and also strengthens the core muscles. In fact if you watch a newborn baby, you will notice they all perform abdominal breathing. It is something we knew and performed instinctively.

How does performing this technique enhance your training?

As mentioned above most people only activate 1/3 of their lungs. Performing abdominal breathing will give you access to the entirety of the organ and as such allow you to have long spurts of stamina. It also allows you to cool down faster after an intense sparring session. Learning to utilise the technique fully can also assist in healing injuries and increasing longevity.

You can train the technique easily enough, use the testing method mentioned above as a training method. Practice until you perform abdominal breathing subconsciously and consistently until it becomes your natural breathing style.

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