Changing the breathing technique

Today’s the last day of my advanced gym programming course that contributes to my personal training diploma, leaving me a couple of weeks to embed all the information – and there’s a lot of it – until my assessment.

While I think I get most of it, it’s only when you actually start revising the information you’ve accumulated that you get just how much you get.

One of the things Abbey, our tutor has been drumming into is earlier this week is the need to get clients – and ourselves to breathe properly. Stop reading now, stand up and take ten deepish breaths and watch how you breathe.

Some lungs

What was your body doing as you were breathing? Most people will be raising their rib cages massively on the intake and pushing their tummies out on the breath out… if you did the same, you’re not breathing efficiently.

What you should be doing is breathing with your diaphragm. It’s the big muscle that flattens to let air into your lungs when you take a breath and when you breathe in, your tummy should raise, when you breathe out, you should pull your tummy in to expel all the air from your lungs.

Now try breathing again to see if you get it right. For something to become a habit for the body, it can take thousands of repetitions and so you may have to practise this thousands of times to get it right in future. Try doing it for ten to 15 minutes each night when you first get into bed.

From an exercise perspective, breathing properly should make one’s body more efficient and hence help improve performance, so this week I have been trying to breathe properly on my runs.

The trouble of course is that my body had begun to adapt to my previous breathing style and I’d become a fairly decent runner by using it. Now to re-adapt, I have to take a step backwards and slow down when running to get it right. Theoretically, when I start to get it right and crank speed back up, I will use my oxygen supply more efficiently.

It’s the kind of example that illustrates the need for a personalised training program on occasion when people want to step up.

Another example would be the lad from the course I am using for my practical assessment. While he spends six days a week in the gym and is pretty big and chiseled, his flexibility is poor and the range of movement he uses is restricted.

When weight training with heavier weights, as he’s not going through the full range of motion for an exercise, he is not working efficiently. I want to take him a step back to some lighter weights to help strengthen the tendons and ligaments that attach muscle and then work on his flexibility, so when he moves back up, he will be able to go for heavier weights and get more from his next program.

Click here for a link to Garmin Connect for a map and details of the run

Miles today: 3
Target: 1026
Miles to date: 1,427.68

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