Breathing and Bracing: Why It Matters

You look up at the clock, sweat dripping down your face, heart beating through your chest, hands on your knees, it reads 5:00 minutes.  You think to yourself “How can it only be 5 minutes into a 20-minute workout and I can barely BREATH?”  If you have done any meaningful exercise in the past I am sure this has happened to you, probably more times than not.  What if I told you with proper breathing you could completely eliminate this scenario from happening to you except on those rare occasions, like max effort sprints.  What if I  told you not only could you could eliminate this, but you could improve your endurance, you’re stamina, your ability to dig deeper into workouts, your scores on benchmark workouts, hell, even your lifting numbers, would you be interested?  I’m here to tell you, you can, with the SKILL of breathing.

Yes, breathing is a skill, you see, the human body is a self REGULATING machine not a self OPTIMIZING machine.  The human body has a built-in neural network so complex scientist can barely begin to map it, we have the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest).  These neural networks are amazing at trying to keep your body regulated, like Goldilocks, its best in the middle,  the human body never wants to get too high or too low.  That’s why we have to train, to get stronger, healthier, fitter, and faster, naturally, it doesn’t want to do these things.  We must train to optimize it, otherwise it would just regulate itself into the bare minimum of what we need in our  day to day life and in 2019 that’s not fighting off a lion or hunting for your next meal, it’s sitting at a computer and relinquishing all power to our AI overlords…. but I digress.  However, if we overtrain, overstimulate and overwork, we will become too highly stressed and the pendulum will swing too far the other way leading to things like adrenal fatigue and a whole host of other issues.  This is where practicing breathing comes into play, while yes we breathe every day and rarely actually think about it, we are breathing to just regulate our body not optimize it.  So what does training optimal breathing look like?  While it depends on your goal, are you breathing for aerobic performance, for weightlifting, for swimming, hell are you breathing for singing?  These all require different optimization of breathing, but what they all have in common is you must train to breathe to optimize these activities.

One thing has become abundantly clear in research these past few years, and that NASAL BREATHING, just google it real quick.  Nasal breathing has shown to improve aerobic output, lengthen the time to failure on sprint intervals, increase the body’s ability to brace during heavy lifts.  It’s even been shown to link to longer healthier lives, as individuals who use primarily nasal breathing in their daily lives are shown to have lower levels of STRESS, thus leading to fewer occurrences of sickness, fatigue, lower inflammatory markers, and reducing other unhealthy side effects of chronic stress.  All of these massive health benefits are coming from just nasal breathing. If we think about it, it makes sense, the human body can go for days without food, without water, but for most it can only go for minutes without breathing (unless your David Blaine), so if we look to optimizing our breathing first and foremost not only can we improve our fitness but hell we can improve our overall health and longevity, this is why BREATHING IS KING.  I am just scratching the surface with this stuff, if you want to learn how you can optimize your breathing, how you can train it every single day, and how you can finish a workout faster than you ever have and literally walk away like nothing happened to come to the Breathing and Bracing Seminar at UpReach Crossfit  May 11th starting at 8:30 am, I promise you will leave understanding why this is so important and how you can make your breathing better today!

-Coach Sean Ranney