Breathing Techniques for a Better Workout
Breathing is one of those things that most people do pretty well. When you breathe in your lungs expand and your body processes the oxygen. Then when you breathe out, carbon dioxide is expelled and your lungs contract. Simple. Unfortunately many people aren't doing it right.
Now you're probably wondering, "How can I screw up breathing?"
You want to make sure you're using your entire lung capacity. If you're only using part of your lungs, you won't be taking in the maximum amount of energy-producing oxygen.
Here's a simple test to see how well you're doing.
When you take a breath, the oxygen diffuses across the alveolar membrane into the pulmonary capillary. The oxygen then binds to the hemoglobin in your red blood cells and carbon dioxide is released. Sodium bicarbonate dissolved in the blood of the pulmonary capillary also releases carbon dioxide. The high concentration of carbon dioxide in the pulmonary capillary leaves your blood, passes across the alveolar membrane into the air sac and then is expelled from the alveolus when you exhale.
Look at your chest and abdomen while you're breathing. Now place one hand on the part that rises and falls the most during each breath. If your abdomen is moving more, you're doing fine. But, if your chest is doing most of the moving, you're not utilizing the lower part of your lungs. Breathe in through your nose and concentrate on filling your abdomen with air. Your abdomen should rise and your chest should move very little.
If you're working out, you also need to concentrate on when you breathe in and out. Your body's core is unique because it has the dual requirements of respiration and stabilization. With most exercises you should inhale during the eccentric phase (the part of the exercise when you're lengthening the muscle).
Follow These Steps - Core Activated Breathing
STEP ONE - Place your hands on your abdomen. Inhale feeling your abdomen distend. Exhale, imagining a string attached to your belly button, pulling the belly button to the spine.
This technique will engage your deep abdominal muscle, the transverse abdominis. Careful not to exhale so much that your abdominal muscles cave in. Practice this technique for 5 to 10 breathes until you are comfortable with it.
STEP TWO - Flatten out your hands with the palms up and fingers together. Place your finger tips directly underneath your shoulders below your ribs. Push your fingers under your ribs into your sides. While keeping the belly button string taught, inhale into the belly so the pressure builds into your abdomen without your abdomen distending. Exhale. If done properly, your abdomen won't distend but your fingers will be pushed out on both sides.
Congratulations. You just completed on rep of core activation breathing. Now your assignment is to breathe like that for every rep of every set of every resistance training exercise you do from now on.