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Episode 156: Respiration Training Progression

Video Highlights

- The starting point to developing respiratory competency.
- How to add load to increase the difficulty of respiratory control.
- Progressing to respiratory competency under stress and load.

Today we’re going to take another look at advanced versions of respiration training to improve performance.

In last week’s video we talked about three different base level respiration training drills focusing on what we call pursed lipped or straw breathing. We talked about doing those in the seated position and then doing walking and then actually doing something a little bit more physical like push-ups or squats or some kind of body weight exercise to increase the difficulty of respiratory control.

What I want to do is I want to give you one additional sequence to focus on. The first three that I talked about in last week’s blog I said you might master those in a week. It may take you months but I want you to have another goal in mind which is an advancement of the whole pursed lip breathing practice. In the original version we went through, we talked about breathing in through the nose for a count of two or three or whatever is comfortable for you. Then doubling that through pursed lips for an exhale. In for two, out for four.

In last week’s video I talked about then taking a pause because in the human respiratory cycle there is generally a two to three second what’s called natural respiratory pause that happens at the end of the exhale. It’s just a normal part of how we go through our lives and most of the time it happens unconsciously. One advancement or greater challenging version, a more challenging version of this drill is to get rid of the natural respiratory pause. Instead of into the nose for two, out for four, wait for two, back through that cycle, it’s simply in for two, out for four, in for two, out for four without allowing the respiratory pause.

This doesn’t sound like it should be that difficult or that complicated but what happens is whenever you remove that respiratory pause it will cause some coordination challenges for you number one, and what we often see is that people become a little bit more panicky about their breathing without that pause which gives them usually a chance to control themselves. This is a really, again, simply … It sounds simple but it is an advancement of a drill and it’s a much more challenging version.

Once again you’re going to go through three different evolutions of this drill where one, you’ll do seated. just learning how to do it. Secondly, doing it walking and then third, you’ll be doing push-ups or some kind of body weight exercise.

What I’m going to do is I’m going to do a quick version of this in push-ups. Again, I’ll try and breathe loudly so you can hear it. Again, the whole idea is skipping the pause and making sure that there is a continuous flow of air in and out. If I go down into a push-up position. I’m going to get nice and long and tall, trying to use good technique. I’ll start with a two second inhale on the way down. Just like that, really, really simple. The whole idea is that as you increase your repetition range, the control challenges are going to increase.

Your goal at the end of all this is basically to do what I just did although I only did three, which is not very much, but to be able to get up and talk normally, not be out of breath.

You may feel physical fatigue but again, the goal here is to develop respiratory mastery so that your breath is, unless you’re doing massive all-out sprinting, is never the cause of your need to stop exercising or stop performing. A lofty goal but it’s a really cool one to work toward. Let’s recap this advanced version of the pursed lip breathing drill. First thing you need to do, work up to thirty breaths twice a day, continuous inhale, exhale with no respiratory pause. That’s the starting point.

As you get better with that, you’re going to then transition into walking. Again, my initial goal is to work up to maybe five to six minutes of walking with that continuous breath flow.

Obviously you can extend that if it feels good to you but at a bare minimum you need to accumulate five to six minutes just to ensure that we’re getting enough repetition to get good at it. Finally transitioning into body weight exercises or utilizing that breathing style in a training session.

Again, you don’t have to go do your one hour or one and a half hour workout or training session and just do that. You can, but ideally you would pick two to three different exercises that you’re going to do for fairly high volume, not sets of three but sets of twenty to thirty, and add that particular breathing style into your training sessions.

That way, again, you can develop your respiratory competency under stress and under load.

If you have any questions about this, drop me an e-mail or give us a call. Thanks.

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