Feb 18, 2016
We all hear the advice not to hold our breath when doing an exercise, but is that all we need to know? A lot of people have asked me how they should be breathing during exercise, so I have written this article with some helpful tips
Breathe with your belly and not your chest
It is important that you are breathing properly throughout the entire day and not just when you are exercising. The most common mistake that people make is that they breathe into their chest and not their belly. This means you are not using the correct muscles to breathe and can increase bad posture. It also means your breathing is inefficient.
You can do a quick test to see if you are breathing with your chest or your belly. Lie on your back on the floor. Place a hand on your chest and a hand on your belly. Take a deep breath in. If your chest rises first then you are breathing with your chest!
Bodyweight training & Weights
The simple rule for this is to breathe in on the easy part of the exercise (when you lower the weight or your body) and breathe out on the hard part (when you lift the weight or your body). On a push up you would breathe in as you lower down and breathe out as you push up. This allows you to use the air in your lungs to help strengthen and stabilize your core as you do the difficult portion of the exercise
If you are doing steady state cardio such as jogging the key thing with the breathing is to maintain a rhythm. The most common pattern that people use is breathing in for four steps and then breathing out for four steps
Have you ever found that during the exercises like HIIT you are ok but then as soon as you stop you are suddenly out of breath? This is because when you do short, intense exercise your body has been working without oxygen (anaerobically) and so as soon as you stop it is trying to make up for the lack of oxygen. To help your recovery, so you are ready for the next set, it is important that you focus on deep breathing, in a slow and controlled way that allows as much air into your lungs as possible