Rope Climbs

Push Press 135/95

Paleo Challenge Winner is…. Cassie
She won a free month of CrossFit


Breathing sounds simple, right?  We do it all day, every day so it makes sense that we’d be pretty good at it by now. Turns out that’s not always the case.

When we breathe throughout the day, many of us naturally tend to take short shallow breaths. While shallow breathing can work fairly well to deliver the amount of oxygen needed to sustain our energy demands throughout the day, it often leads to poorer performance during training sessions. Most of the time when we train, our bodies demand a high amount of oxygen to prevent our muscles from fatiguing and our mind from losing. When we have this greater demand for more oxygen, there is a tendency to continue taking these short shallow breathes, just much more rapidly.

Shallow breathing only allows us to use a small portion of our available lung capacity. In order to use our lunges most effectively…you guessed it…we need to learn to take deeper breaths.

How do you know if you are taking deep or shallow breaths? Put your palms against your lower belly, blow out all your air, and take a deep breath. If your belly compresses when you take that breath and expands when you exhale, you are taking shallow breaths. If your belly expands when you take a big breath, and compresses when you exhale, you are taking deep breaths…which is a good sign. Of course, in order to take a deep breath, you have to have good posture. If you find yourself in a hunched over position, you’ll find filling up your belly with air VERY difficult.

The goal of course, is to be able to continue this pattern of deep breathing as we fatigue during exercise. And as you probably have realized by now, our body reverts back to what we’re comfortable with and used to as we fatigue (which is why running technique breaks down so easily as you become tired). So if breathing deeply to your belly is not what your body is used to throughout the day, you probably won’t be able to utilize it as you fatigue during your training. How do you change that? Just like anything, it requires Practice. The more practice, the better. If you can train the automatic processes of your body to breathe deeply all the time, you’ll easily be able to do so as you fatigue during your training. And then you’ll be able to recover quicker, move faster, and have an easier time maintaining focus during your workouts.

Try it out. Do you naturally take shallow breaths or deep breaths? Post in comments what type a breather you are!