How to breathe during exercise?

Very often people ask me how should the breath be because I didn’t say anything about the breath when teaching a new exercise.

My answer is that your body will breath automatically when needed so no need to worry about breathing too much. When learning a new exercise, breathing is not necessarily one of the first things you should focus on.

Breathing correctly during exercise can give very important benefits like:

  • Taking more oxygen when the demand for oxygen are high.
  • Helping with engaging your core to protect your spine.
  • Helping with the exercise technique as breathing affects the spinal position and the shoulder girdle.
  • Applying more effort when needed.
  • Calming down when needed.

Mostly I advise to breathe in during the easiest part of the exercise and to breathe in through the nose to warm and filter the air that enters our lungs. Breathe out during the hardest part of the exercise because it helps with core activation, to apply more effort and to be able to control the size of the exit gap.

For example, with a large exit gap, we can get rid of the waste products of breath fast and efficiently. – Narrowing the exit gap can help with increasing intra abdominal pressure that can help with lumbar spine support that can help with exercise safety and efficiency. For activities that demand high oxygen consumption, I also advise breathing in deeply in order to take more oxygen in with each breath.

Of course the above are just some general guidelines and can’t be applied everywhere. Think of the breath as a powerful multi-tool that you can use in different ways as needed.

For example, when doing high-intensity activities like fast running it would be very useful to breathe in through the mouth so we can take the air in faster.

With some exercises, I might suggest trying to breathe in during the hard part of the exercise to encourage a long spine. Everything depends on the participant and from what we want to achieve through the exercise.

Until the next writing,


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