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How To Use Breathing Techniques To Get More Out of Your Workout

As you can probably imagine, focusing on the breath and breathing techniques are a big part of yoga teacher training. Learning how to follow your breath to release thoughts, relax and to lead movement. Similarly, the same applies beyond the mat.

We breathe an average of 22,000 breaths daily without giving it thought. Each breath provides oxygen to our muscles so it makes sense that using the breathing effectively will help you get the most out of your workouts while providing bonus benefits. Try these breathing techniques to get the most out of your workouts. Click through to read the full article. Pin it now, read it later.

We breathe everyday without giving it thought. It’s an automatic response that provides our blood and organs with oxygen and eliminates toxins and waste products from our bodies.

We breathe an average of 22,000 breaths daily. Quite literally [and metaphorically], breath is life.

Each breath provides oxygen to our muscles so it makes sense that using the breathing effectively will help you get the most out of your workouts while providing bonus benefits. So often we’re so focused on what we’re doing we hold our breath and without the fresh oxygen being delivered to the muscles what we’re doing becomes much harder.

Breathing Techniques for Different Workouts

Strength Training During resistance training exhale on the effort – which is the hardest part of the exercise and when you’re muscles are moving against the resistance – and inhale on the easier part. If you’re doing a bicep curl, exhale bringing the weight up (against resistance) and exhale bringing the weight down. Same concept applies to push-ups, inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up (against resistance).

Cardio Exercise Breathe from the diaphram and avoid shallow breathing from the chest. Develop a regular breathing pattern as much as possible to maximize oxygen flow.

Running This is sometimes the weak link for well trained athletes. Without proper breathing techniques less air enters the lungs, less oxygen is delivered to the blood and necessary amounts of carbon dioxide is not eliminated all of which can reduce endurance. Find a rhythm for your breathing pattern to keep the inhale and exhale rate even. Try a pattern aligning breathing with your steps. For example, a 2:2 rhythm is inhale every 2 steps, exhale every 2 steps. Or maybe a 3:3 pattern works better for you.

Stretching Breathing properly helps your body relax allowing your body to come into a resting state and to fully release into the stretch. Take long deep breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale out your mouth. On every exhale, when there is no tension in the body, feel how your body gives in more fully to the stretch.

I would love to chat.

Do you focus on your breathing when you workout? Do you tend to hold your breath when you strength train especially if you’re lifting heavy?

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43 Comments

  1. Thank you for this!!

    Just yesterday, I had to stop doing my ab work because one of the muscles around my heart started tightening (my heart is fine-I have been to the cardiologist). The Dr. told me that when I am not breathing right, the muscle will tighten up and it is sooooo painful!!!

    A work in progress for me for sure!

  2. i completely agree that breath is super important while exercising. i definitely learned this during yoga and have so much to thank for that!!
    questions: when you say, “and inhale on the easier part. If you’re doing a bicep curl, exhale bringing the weight up (against resistance) and exhale bringing the weight down”
    did you mean inhale on the way down, or do we inhale between?

  3. When I’m walking around the gym helping clients you will always hear me say “stop holding your breath ladies, BREATHE!!!” So many people hold their breath when lifting weights. It’s crazy once you start paying attention to it! Great article Jill!

  4. I haven’t figured out how to count reps and remember whether I’m supposed to inhale or exhale. Yet I can walk & chew gum at the same time or Pat my head and rub my belly at the same time…

  5. I definitely need to do something difference when I’m breathing while running. I’ve had cramps for my past 3 runs. I think I’m breathing funny due to allergies… it’s a pain though!

  6. Breathing is one aspect I am mindful of when I strength train, however I don’t pay much attention to it when I run. I just allow my breath to naturally inhale/exhale with every stride. Stretching is another activity when I definitely connect with my breath as it relaxes my entire body.

  7. My brother recently told me that when he runs he still uses the breathing technique I taught him 20 years ago. I was doing sports seriously and had a few tricks up my sleeve.

  8. My high school PE teacher taught us this but I always have a hard time with it. For some reason it feels more natural to me to breathe in on the easy part and out on the hard. I have to constantly remind myself.

  9. I can really appreciate breathing when I am stretching – amazing how it helps to relax the muscles and get you further into stretching!! great post

  10. Reesa Lewandowski says:

    These are really helpful tips. I feel like I never know how to appropriately breathe when I workout and it gets my tired.

  11. I just started running and it’s incredibly difficult for me. Although everything in my body hurts when I run, I think the biggest problem is that I haven’t found my right breathing pattern just yet.

  12. Most of what I know from breath control, I actually learned through my choir teachers- especially my high school choir teacher. And from swimming. If you aren’t careful with how you breathe, you’re in trouble.

  13. I talk about breathing with my clients all the time. Breathing and breath rate and depth have so many applications and uses, but you have to know how to get the most from them!

  14. Great post! I’m much better about my workouts but struggling still with running!

  15. Practicing yoga has really helped me with my breathing for all exercises. I breathe better in yoga and running, now! Heck, even just when I’m sitting around or walking.

  16. I have asthma, so breathing exercises are a big part of exercising in general for me. This article is great!

  17. I try to always work on my breathing. It can be a bit of challenge sometimes as I don’t have the best lung capacity thanks to childhood asthma. I did a 30-day yoga challenge, which really help me focus more on how and when I was breathing during my workouts.

  18. I’ve never even thought of doing certain breathing exercises for different workouts! Bookmarking this for later, it’s perfect!

  19. I love all the breathing techniques I’ve learned from yoga. I apply them to my workouts and running but also everyday life! I wear my momentum wrap that says “just breathe” every day to work!

  20. I agree, breathing is so important. I always focus on breathing. I really perfected it when I was taking hot yoga and now I use those principles always. Great post!

  21. I definitely note my breath during runs, strength training and yoga. It’s a really big issue for me when I swim. I’m still not totally at ease with breathing in the water. Thanks for the linkup!

  22. Great tips, Jill! I really need to work on my breathing techniques!

  23. I definitely use my breath to my advantage when I’m strength training, and always encourage my clients to do the same. Sometimes I’ll think about breathing during a particularly hard run, mostly to calm myself down. Other than that, I’m not very aware of it. I would like to learn more on focusing my breath for things like yoga and meditation!

  24. great post. i find that i often “forget” to breath during workouts.

  25. Correct breathing, especially during strength training, is so crucial. It makes it a little bit easier to get in just one more rep.

  26. That’s really interesting. I’ve never thought much about my breathing but I’ve noticed with strength training I already do the exhale on the exertion part. I’m glad I’ve been doing it right all along!

  27. My trainer always used to scold me for holding my breath when I workout. It’s a bad habit I have. But I notice I perform much better when I focus on breath technique.

  28. Yes – breathing is SO important! My barre instructors are constantly reminding us to breathe when things get tough.

  29. I suck at breathing while working out! I guess I get all tense and find my self gasping for air at times. It makes my chest hurt, even. So thank you for the tips!
    Xo/tutusandheels.com

  30. Great post! I need more practice regulating my breathing during some strength exercises-especially pushups. I always want to hold my breathe in and need to focus more on breathing.

  31. I definitely struggle with coordinating my breathing when working out. I always seem to want to inhale when I should exhale! This is such great info!

  32. All the breathing exercises we do in my yoga class is the best part. At first I thought it was silly but now I realize it is not! Happy Friday! breathe on 🙂

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