Our breathing underpins everything we do AND according to “The Warrior Coach” is the key to unlocking abundant energy, perfect health and optimal performance. I’d like to be less puffed out at Taekwondo training so I can work harder. I asked for some tips and here is what I discovered…
Some people love running with friends. Not me.
I prefer to run on my own.
Mostly because I’m about as slow as a turtle swimming through peanut butter. Still lapping everyone on the couch though! Haha.
I have mild asthma. When I can’t get control of my breathing and start seeing stars, panic sets in which of course just makes the whole thing worse.
So the hardest part of running for me is concentrating on keeping my breathing steady. It actually works really well as an active meditation because it takes up all of my focus.
So talking of breathing, you might recall my previous article containing 6 Taekwondo tips from Australia’s most qualified female instructor Carmella Hartnett.
Tip #4 was “Work on your breathing”.
The concept tweaked my curiosity so a gazillion Google search tabs open later I discovered GOLD in New Jersey, USA.
Jon is a 9th Degree Black Belt (Kudan) in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. Yeah I had to Google that too! It’s a martial arts organisation based in Japan which teaches a range of arts under one banner. Think ninjas and samurais.
He has also trained in Okinawan Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Russian Systema, BJJ, Krav Maga, as well as Internal Martial Arts of Yiquan and Aiki.
He is a certified Underground Strength Coach-Level 2, a certified Personal Trainer as well as founder of Warrior Fitness Training Systems .
In 2008, he wrote the book Warrior Fitness: Conditioning for Martial Arts , and since then has created numerous other online training and coaching programs helping people around the world become the strongest, most capable versions of themselves!
Of particular interest around huffing and puffing, he’s written Evolve Your Breathing: Essential Techniques for Optimal Breathing.
It’s a program of powerful breathing exercises that teach you how to adapt and perform under stress. Plus there’s a raft of associated health benefits too.
But just because I’m am ALWAYS looking out for my Taekwondo Tribe, I put the hard word on Jon for a few tips based on his research and experience I could share with you.
Either I’m pretty scary OR Jon is just really open and willing to share what he knows to benefit others. He agreed very readily so I’ll let you decide the influencing factor there. 😉
#1 Breathing through your mouth? Slow down
Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. If you are pushing too hard in an exercise (cardio or otherwise) and are forced to breathe in through your mouth, slow down the pace until you can maintain your breathing.
Remember – every exercise (and technique) is made up of 3 essential parts: movement, structure, and breathing. If one of these 3 is off, then the technique is wrong.
#2 Don’t hold it
Breathing should be constant with natural pauses between breath cycles, no unconscious holding of the breath (unless specifically working on a breath holding exercise) .
#3 Exhale on effort
Always exhale on effort. In every exercise there is both a yin and a yang phase, an effort and a returning or releasing. For example, in the push-up the effort phase is the pressing up from the bottom position, therefore tighten your core and exhale to connect the body and strengthen your effort.
#4 Follow path of least resistance
Certain actions will naturally favor an inhale or an exhale. In those cases, then yes, follow the path of least resistance. Normally when the body contracts air is expelled from the lungs by the movement; allow it to happen. When the body expands, air is naturally sucked into the lungs; allow it to happen.
#5 Out of breath? Breathe faster!
Catch your breath by increasing the pace (over and above your body’s heaving) and then consciously slow it down. The mind navigates the body, so tell yourself you are calm and guide yourself back to a normal breath rhythm.
#7 Posture up
Keep your spine straight. Good posture is essential for unimpeded breathing. Never hunch over when out of breath. Instead stand tall and focus on moving the air unimpeded in and out of your lungs.
#8 Try this!
Stress busting breathing exercise. Stand in a natural position or sit comfortably on the floor with spine straight to perform this exercise.
- Begin by exhaling through the mouth for 5 seconds.
- Do not inhale. Try to extend the breath pause for 5 seconds.
- Before tension begins to creep in, inhale for 5 seconds.
- Hold the breath on the inhale for 5 seconds.
- Repeat the cycle 10 times.
- As this becomes easier, and your capacity expands, try increasing each side of the square to 6, 7, 8, 9, or even 10
If this has whet your appetite for improving endurance through breathing techniques, here’s the link again to purchase Jon’s book: Evolve Your Breathing.