Breathing technique overview and breathing exercises

When we breathe naturally and efficiently we use only the diaphragm to draw air into the lungs (belly breathing). Inefficient breathing is characterised by expanding the ribs to draw the air in and therefore leaving the lower third of the lungs practically unused. (Chest breathing). This poor breathing technique is very common today and it is associated with bad posture and previous learning.

Correct breathing should be practiced at all times when you are stretching (active and static) and while exercising. Try and notice just how much better you perform when your breathing technique is correct. Belly breathing can also be done at times during the day when you remember. e.g. when in a queue, if need to calm down, driving etc.

In combination to the exercises below it will not be long before you are naturally breathing correctly at all times and then these exercises will further advance your breathing efficiency with corresponding health benefits.

Breathing technique exercises

These are designed to re-educate you about breathing correctly. They should be done everyday for the first few weeks. Once these are mastered you can move onto other breathing exercises to continue long term.

The breathing exercises can be after your active stretching routine in the morning. They are also great to do just before bed. They help to energize the body by getting more oxygen to the cells which nourishes and removes toxins.

Correct breath

• Standing (or lying to begin) place your hands over your stomach muscles.
• Now breathe so that your stomach goes out when you inhale air.
• Repeat for 10 breaths.

Stretching breath

• Draw in a deep breath using your diaphragm.
• Hold this breath then engage the core and reach up to the sky with your arms and stay on your tip toes reaching for the sky with breath held for 5 seconds.
• Repeat 5 times

Whistle breath

• While standing upright breathe in deeply.
• Hold your breath for 5 seconds
• Then let out a continuous slow but steady note by whistling.
• Repeat 5 times

Raising arm breath

• While breathing in raise your arms from your sides until they link overhead.
• Hold 5 seconds and exhale by bending over and squeezing all the air out with your stomach.
• Repeat 5 times.

Overhead breath

• Link your hands directly overhead.
• Take 5 deep slow breathes in and out.

Performing these regularly will enable you to increase your breathing capacity as well as help spinal stability by educating your body to breathe correctly.

These exercises are just a part of the overall approach to healthy living. To learn more about these and how you could use these to achieve your health and fitness goals check out my free health and fitness newsletter.

Ben Wilson BSc (Hons) CSCS NSCA-CPT CMTA Dip
One2one nutrition
Rugby fitness training.com

Author's Bio: 

I possess a degree in chemistry and I am qualified to teach metabolic typing nutrition. I attained the Certified strength and conditioning certificate through the NSCA and their certified personal trainer certificate. To complement this I completed further study in personal training, athletic preparation, lifestyle coaching and Emotional freedom technique (EFT).
I am Author of the top selling book Rugby fitness training: A twelve month conditioning programme and run the websites www.vision.org and www.rugbyfitnesstraining.com