This week’s topic: Breathing! It’s the only process that occurs in our body both voluntarily and involuntarily. Involuntarily because, who wants to concentrate on taking a breath every 2-3 seconds? Voluntarily because we can control when and how much we need to breathe, and alter as necessary (think swimming- probably a good idea to alter your breathing before you go under!) Did you know that breathing also helps you move and exercise more efficiently? The faster and more shallow you breathe, the more tension creeps up in your body, ultimately making you weaker, slower, and inefficient.

During your next workout session, set the target of becoming more efficient by controlling your breathing. Pick an appropriate breathing pace to match the intensity of the drill or activity you’re working on. I know, this isn’t ground breaking news- everyone breathes on pace with their reps. But, here’s the tip that will bump your training to the next level: Coordinate your breathing with your movements. During a movement, instead of just “exhaling with the push” like the typical trainer will tell you, think about what the movement you’re about to do entails, and coordinate your breathing accordingly. During the part of the exercise where the movement requires the chest to “collapse” (such as a push, or the “away” part of a pull, or the downward movement of a squat)- exhale. During the part of the movement where the chest should naturally expand (the return from a push, the “pull” part of a pull, the upward phase of a squat)- inhale! Fitness Evolved’s definition of efficiency with movement is doing the exact right thing at the exact right time with the exact amount of tension and effort required to do it- no more, and no less. So, if I’m exhaling while I’m trying to pull myself up on an inverted row, I’m collapsing my chest when the movement naturally requires my chest to expand, and in essence making that movement inefficient. Think about the movement you’re getting ready to do. Think about what the entire body is about to do. And then, plan accordingly! Aim to be more efficient, and you’ll be better, stronger, and faster than ever!

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