Learn Proper Breathing Techniques For Different Types Of Exercises

Exercising is often hard enough on its own, but you make it even harder on yourself if you're not practising good breathing techniques while you're working out. Proper breathing delivers the right amount of oxygen so you can exercise longer with less effort. Fitness blog The Greatist breaks down how to do it for several popular exercises.

Photo by Tony Alter.

Depending on the intensity of a workout, you should have a different breathing technique. For running, the Greatist suggests two different techniques to try:

While there's no golden rule, many runners find it most comfortable to take one breath for every two foot strikes, says Alison McConnell, a breathing expert and author of Breathe Strong Perform Better. This means taking two steps (one left, one right) while breathing in, and two steps while breathing out - also known as the 2:2 rhythm.

That's great for running, but it's a totally different approach when you're strength training:

Using the bench press as an example, exhale slowly and continuously while pressing the bar, then inhale at the top of the life or on the return. Just remember that once that barbell is pressed, the weight doesn't vanish, McConnell explains, so be sure to keep the core engaged to protect the spine, similar to preparing for impact during contact sports.

The lesson is that proper breathing is just as important as proper technique. Doing it wrong can lead to decreased performance and side stitches. Hit up The Greatist for more information on the exercises above as well as breathing techniques for high-intensity sports and yoga.

How to Breathe for Every Type of Exercise [The Greatist]


    When I use the 2:2 rule for breathing I find my body remembers the rhythm and my heart rate actually drops. Which is counterintuitive if you're trying to increase the cardiovascular effort required. So I find I have to mix up my running with speed variations and exercise variations (high knees etc) in order to keep my heart working throughout.

    For strength training however controlling my breathing well lets me maintain the correct technique and posture to ensure I get the best out of the workout.

    i use a 2:3 rhythm, two steps in three steps out. but then I run with short strides (forefoot strikes).

    I remember being told to take more time on the exhale, I must have been about 13 at the time though so I'm probably wrong.

      that is still correct, it all depends upon how fit you/your lungs are. a mate of mine runs at 2:4 just because he has a big lung capacity. i was taught the aim is to keep the oxygen in your lungs for as long as possible, while still maintaining a regular breathing cycle of course.

    I use the in-out method of breathing when walking between the fridge and my keyboard. This is great, I have never asphyxiated or hyperventilated, and my chewing and typing are excellent. I'm getting so good at breathing now, I hardly have to think about it at all.

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