Here’s an email I sent to all of my clients. Keeping your clients educated is SOOO important. I talk about breathing and how it’s so important to breathe right. Do you have dysfunctional breathing?…. Fixing your breathing could change your life!
What I have realized over the last 7 years of training and coaching clients/athletes, is that almost no one knows how to breathe properly. And, don’t get me wrong, I could add myself to this group, up until a couple years ago. This is no big deal, right? It’s only the FIRST functional movement we did as babies.
Some of you at the gym may be wondering:
“Why do you keep telling me to keep my eyes parallel?”
“Why are you telling us to close our mouths?”
“Why do we have to breathe all the way out?”
“Why are you telling us to focus and practice on our breathing when we’re at home?”
I know, I know! It sounds crazy and pointless, but believe me, it’s reeeally important! If you’ve been a longtime client of mine, you’re probably used to all of my breath training craziness.
So why do I care if you’re breathing correctly? Why does it matter?
Consider this: we breathe between 20,000 and 25,000 times daily. If you’re mouth breathing, shallow breathing, or holding your breath all the time, you may not be getting ideal oxygen levels throughout your body. This includes your brain, and more importantly to you workout fans, your muscles. So breathing properly may help your performance in the gym and in your daily lives. I don’t seem so crazy now, do I?
When your lips are sealed and I have you take a breath in for 3 seconds, air gets to the lungs and oxygen to your blood. When you exhale for 5-6 slow seconds, oxygen gets to your brain and muscles. Exhalation is just as important as inhalation because it removes waste! Some people never breathe all the way out! So, I guess you could say they’re full of…carbon dioxide.
So as you can see, if you improve your breathing, everything at the gym will also improve! Below I have my description of the importance of proper breathing when training. I’ve mades it simple to understand:
Breath work is vital to maximizing strength in any client whether they are male or female, young or old, athletic or non-athletic. Helping someone to use proper breathing techniques has many benefits from oxygenating blood for maximum contraction of max lifts, or to calm someone that might be new to resistance training.
Data and research have proven that without proper breathing, brain function is compromised. If a trainer/physical therapist, etc is trying to coach someone to move properly to avoid injury, or to rehab an injury and they are not breathing properly, we are sabotaging our own work and negatively impacting our outcome and our clients.
So, what in my opinion is optimal breathing? Optimal breathing occurs when:
– Eyes are level with the floor (parallel)
– Lips are together, without strain
– Nasal breathing is established in all bodily positions
– Breathing is silent
– Breathing is rhythmical
– Neck and shoulder muscles are not tense
Are you starting to see how important breathing properly is?
Here are a few things you’ll need to work on to achieve optimal breathing:
Keep your eyes parallel to the floor. When you begin focusing on this, you’ll start catching yourself looking down ALL the time.
Breathe in through your nose for 3 seconds, and out for 5-6 seconds. Once you get the breathing down, you won’t have to focus on it so much, you will naturally breathe in and out for about the right amount of time.
Keep the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, your teeth are not touching, and your mouth is shut!
Fill in your belly!
· If your diaphragm is not being used while you’re asleep, all your other muscles are having to help you breathe, and you’re not getting the restorative sleep your body needs to recover. If you can’t recover, we can’t push you as hard at the gym.
Breathe in through your nose, breathe ALL the way out, and see how many steps you can take without taking a breath in. 12 steps? 25 steps? Try getting up to 50 steps without dying. Practice that twice a day! It’ll help your body get used to being in a state of exhalation. It sounds really easy until you actually try it! I only got 25 on my first try.
Consider buying a Nasal Cleanser, e.g. Neti Pot.
I’ve been doing it for almost two weeks and I CAN BREATHE THROUGH MY NOSE. I thought it was normal to always be congested on one side.
Don’t look at me like I’m crazy when I tell you learning how to breathe correctly, it will change your life!
There you have it guys! Not only do you now understand why breathing is so important, but you have some easy action steps that you can implement immediately to help you get on the proper breathing path.
Hope this help you and don’t forget to share this with everyone you know, since we all need a refresher course in breathing right.