Sayings about breathing…
• Give me some breathing room.
• Let’s clear the air.
• I gotta get this thing off my chest.
• He got the wind knocked out of him.
• She got winded.
• You got your second wind.
• Give me a second to catch my breath.
Breathing is the most fundamental movement because you are always doing it.”
…3 Weeks without food.
…3 Days without water.
…3 Minutes without air.
Holding Your Breath in CrossFit (aka. Apnea)
If you constantly are doing things that challenge your breath, you become more efficient for everything you do while breathing: everything.”
Breath Hold Scenarios in Fitness
Rotational & Linear Midline Forces: When you need to be rigid and express high stability
1) Bracing during heavy lifts (prevent rounding)
2) Bracing to generate strong rotational forces (Sprinting, Assault Bike Sprints, Swinging a Sledge)
3) Bracing to maintain a high-support position during a pivot-point (bottom of a squat, dip to drive of a jerk, arch of a muscle-up, the actual “Touch” of a TnG Snatch, Clean or DL, etc.)
Managing Apnea Scenarios in Workouts
There are a couple of goals here…
- Improve Strength: If you are stronger → the weights for workouts feels lighter → you don’t need to brace as hard → you hold your breath less.
- Improve Aerobic Power: At a given pace you will accumulate less fatigue → when the demands of a workout require you to hold your breath → it is more sustainable → you won’t feel the need to stop and catch your breath.
- Improve Your Composure During Suffocation: Regardless of how strong and fit you are, you also need to get better at dealing with the feeling of suffocation you get during exercise.
Poised During Suffocation
The goal is…
• Maximizing your fitness potential through Apnea Protocols
• Controlling our perception of you not being able to breathe.
Disclaimer: Do not hold your breath while driving, if you’re pregnant, in a pool, holding a child, etc.
3 Layers: Low to High Arousal
For any of these protocols, 1-2 Sessions per week as a supplement to your current fitness programming would be a great starting place.
Layer 1: Low Arousal Environments (silent, seated or lying)
L1: Sample #1
E4M x 4 Sets
-Breath Hold to RPE 7
I did this as a warm-up element the other day and got 1:48, 2:10, 2:33, 3:00.
L1: Sample #2
5 Sets, Rest 2:00 between
-Breath Pause to RPE 7 (directly into) Breath Hold until RPE 9
L1: Sample #3
Every 30s: 6-6-12-6 (or) EMOM: 12-12-24-12
Layer 2: Moderate Arousal Environments (different environments, easy aerobic work)
L2: Sample #1
Walk the Dog, Nasal Breathing Only
-On the Minute: 15s Breath Hold
L2: Sample #3
-Max Effort Breath Pause (Pause = On the Exhale)
-1k Row at 5k TT Pace +5-8s
-1:00 Rest, Breathe Easy
Layer 3: High Arousal Environments (Exercise)
L3: Sample #1
For Time: 800m Run
*you can only run while holding your breath & each time you stop you have to do 5 burpees*
L3: Sample #2
ZOAR CO2 Tolerance Test
For Time: 1.5-Mile Assault Bike
*you can only touch the pedals while holding your breath*
L3: Sample #3
EMOM: 3 Back Squats @82% [See Demo of my 15th Round]
*Until failure, major deviation in form or 15 Rounds
L3: Sample #4
Every 2 Minutes x 5 Sets
-Max Double Unders during Breath Hold
*Continuous Single Unders During Rest*
Resources on Breath Work
Informative rants on the Sport of Fitness.
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Breath Work for the Sport of Fitness
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