• Terrence

Improve your performance by improving your breathing Part 2

Updated: Jul 12, 2019

We introduced the topic of breathing and performance in this recent blog.


Today, we’re going to take it a little further and talk about improving your endurance through learning how to regain respiratory control faster. Doing this helps to stop that panicked feeling you get when you need more air when you’re deep into a conditioning workout gasping for breath.


When it comes to endurance type of training, your brain plays tricks on you. You perceive that you’re out of breath, and it’s kind of scary and uncomfortable. As a result, you almost start panicking to regain control of your breath, which inevitably results in you slowing down in the workout.


Control your breathing- control your panic response- have a better workout!

Again, much of this is in your brain: You don’t need to bend over and put your head between your legs to catch your breath. Your perception of you needing all this extra air or else your might die has little to nothing to do with your physiological respiratory needs in that moment. It’s simply a panic response in the body.


So, what can you do to stop this panic response?

You can practice your recovery through something called Air Hunger Drills to train your body to relax and calm down when you’re out of breath.

The idea with these drills is to take yourself to “air hunger”—meaning that feeling that you must breathe soon or else—as fast as possible, and then immediately work to regain control of your breathing within one to three deep breaths.


Try this: Air Hunger Push-ups

Step 1: Breathe in deeply, and then exhale fully

Step 2: After you exhale, start doing a set of push ups with the air totally out of your lungs. Don’t breathe as you’re doing your push-ups.

Step 3: Keep doing push-ups (likely somewhere between 5 and 20 push-ups) until you feel a moderate degree of air hunger (stop before full blown panic town kicks in).

Step 4: Take one to three deep breaths to consciously regain control of your breathing.

Add three or four quick sets of Air Hunger Push-ups into your routine three days a week. Rest 1 to 2 minutes between sets.


Hold your exhaled breath while doing pushups to help!

Actively practicing your breathing recovery will help train your body into realizing it doesn’t need to panic. All it takes is one to three deep breaths to feel normal and recovered again.


Once you get better at dealing with air hunger, then you can start practicing others things, like doing a hard 400 meter run. The moment you finish the run, focus immediately on your breathing to regain control as fast as possible.

The basic idea here is that you can actually improve your endurance with little actual endurance training just by focusing on breathing little better.


You don't have to be this ZEN but controlling your breathing will help you achieve new levels of fitness! or at least enjoy the workout a bit more!

The better you get, the more calm you’ll start feeling during conditioning workouts, which will translate to some seriously increased capacity.

You will also understand me when I tell you before a workout, "use this movement to catch your breath, aka. control your breathing"

Check out more in this video from Z Health here.

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