Why is breathing right important during resistance training?
Exercise • • 1 minute to read • By Pankaj Narsian, INFS Faculty
Author- Pankaj N, CSCS and INFS Faculty
Introduction to breathing
Taking a breath is the most natural action for an individual; it is needed to sustain life and survive. But when it comes to physical fitness, breathing patterns often ranks last in order of priority. An individual tends to focus more on exercise selection, training intensity, volume, rest periods, etc. Although the mentioned variables are essential, the proper breathwork should form a part of the initial technique and base work.
How does breathing work inside the human body?
Oxygen is fuel for the muscles and organs. Without oxygen, the brain, heart, and kidneys cannot function for more than minutes. When we breathe in, we take in oxygen from the atmosphere. Assuming individual life is at sea level, the air contains approximately 21 percent oxygen and 78 percent nitrogen. Once this air enters the mouth, it passes through the larynx (the organ commonly known as the "voice box"). Next, the vocal cords, the windpipe, the right and left passageways that bring air to the lungs, then the bronchioles, and later to the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in your lungs that separate the air into oxygen and carbon dioxide. The newly separated oxygen is then attached to the haemoglobin in the red blood cells part of the blood plasma. Then, with assistance from the circulatory system, it is transported through the body and delivered to all muscles and organs.
What's the best technique for breathing?
The recommended technique to use during exercise or at rest is diaphragmatic breathing. It involves contraction of the diaphragm muscle, expansion of the abdomen, and deepening of inhalation and exhalation, which decreases the breathing frequency and maximizes the number of blood gases.
How to initiate diaphragmatic breathing ?
The diaphragm muscle is located between the chest and the abdominal cavity. Start with slow breathing using the nose or mouth, filling up your abdominal area, and then slowly exhaling as the stomach collapses. Diaphragmatic breathing ensures adequate core activation during exercise, and deep breathing helps to deliver enough O2 to the muscles, preventing fatigue.
How does an individual benefit from focussed breathwork during resistance training?
An increase in core pressure assists in spine stabilization, apart from the fact that it brings in more oxygen and helps in the faster clearance of carbon dioxide. Additionally, the breathwork can help maintain the blood pressure during the set, especially in the case of beginners who tend to hold their breath for long, resulting in lightheadedness.
For example, an individual performing the squat should exhale while coming up from the bottom of a squat (concentric phase) and inhale while sitting down into a squat (eccentric phase). This breathing pattern can help with better core stabilization assisting the individual in generating better force while performing the squat.
While breathing is automatic since an individual will breathe even while resting/sleeping. The breathing pattern can have a strong influence on athletic performance. Thus, coaches should guide clients on the correct breathing pattern to ensure optimal performance in daily life function.
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