Coaching Part 1, Breath...

I've recently been on a tear with talking, interviewing and understanding some of the great coaches in MMA, CrossFit, Gymnastics and Strength and Conditioning.  In every conversation there have been a lot of common threads, four of which I will elaborate share with you over the next few days.  Today is part 1. Breathing!


Besides the obvious reasons for breathing and that thing called staying alive. There are many benefits to breathing with a slow and controlled tempo. 

It was most made evident to me by Coach Hughes from The Pit Austin. He explained that heavy rapid breathing has always differentiated his rookie fighters vs. his well seasoned athletes. It's true. Watch elite runners and fighters, they all have very controlled breathing even when they are pushing it to their limits.  Watch Olympic Weightlifters, they have very controlled breathing throughout the lift.  

Rapid breathing causes quick expansion of the outer chest wall and accessory neck muscles. This will tend to increase your rate of fatigue. Not only will it increase your fatigue physically, it will fatigue you mentally.  When breathing that quickly, you are hyper ventilating, and thus actually decreasing the amount of oxygen into your brain.  This will cause you to make slower mentally. You will tend to make slower and irrational decisions.  So what's the solution?  Breath through your diaphragm. It will bring more oxygen to your brain and body.

Practice breathing in to your diaphragm, and also being able to hold a brace position. Valsalva is a fancy word that describes the action of when you are bearing down when going to the bathroom. This creates abdominal pressure and gives your upper torso and abdomen a rigid bracing mechanism to be able to withstand mid line disruption.  There should always be 20% of that valsalva within your torso and abdomen area whenever you are breathing.  This will help you prevent injuries and cause you to perform better athletically. Check out the video below that will teach you how to breath correctly!