Isometric exercise and breathing

I have found over the years of teaching and observing that a number of individuals tend to hold their breath when exercising. It is usually at the exertion portion of their movement that they hold their breath. I have spoken to tennis players,  triathletes, basketball players, soccer players, runners,etc. who feel that they are not performing up to their top potential because of their breathing.

We all breathe but not everyone is breathing efficiently. I was in a rowing class this morning and spoke with a gentleman after class. He said that he was watching how my breathing seemed effortless. He was shallow chest breathing and that really will decrease the intensity of where you want to be.

When I teach my IsoBreathing program which is mostly isometric exercise I have an individual contract a muscle group and then encourage a specific number of breaths when holding that contraction. This way there is no breath holding. If you do hold your breath then your blood pressure will elevate. For those individuals on blood pressure medication you really need to be very careful.

I am going to encourage all of you to try diaphragmatic breathing. I have found over the years to have an individual lie down on their backs with their knees bent and feet on the ground. Place one hand on your belly and take a deep breath. Imagine your belly as a balloon and inflate it as you take your deep breath. Did your hand rise up toward the ceiling? As you exhale your hand should come back down to your starting point.

This type of breathing does take time to learn and lots of practice. For some you may get slightly lightheaded from taking in more oxygen than your body is used to. If you go back to your regular breathing pattern then the feeling of being light  headed will pass in seconds.   Try and practice diaphragmatic breathing through out your busy day. It will get easier with time.


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