One of the foundations of movement, breathing is a key component which we often overlook in the health and wellness space. With the ability to affect your nervous system, output capacity, and cardiovascular efficiency, it’s shocking there isn’t more common knowledge on the subject.
Ideally, you spend the majority of the time nasal breathing. Nasal breathing is reflexively tied to contraction of the diaphragm, the muscle doing the majority of your breathing.
If you find yourself mouth breathing, you’re likely breathing shallowly and not using the diaphragm to the best of its ability.
If you’re someone who struggles to breathe through your nose, look into trying nasal strips. They’re little strips to wear across the bridge of your nose that will decrease the resistance through the nasal passageway, allowing for a better contraction of the diaphragm.
While resistance training or exercising, if you reach a point in which you have to breath through your mouth, that’s when you want to integrate both methods to get in as much oxygen as possible. I typically opt for exhaling through the mouth, especially in the final few reps of a set to failure.
Breathing during resistance training is a key factor in efficiency during exercise. By exhaling on contractions (the output) and inhaling on eccentrics (the stretch), you will optimize your ability in each position.
By nasal breathing and expanding your diaphragm, you can create pressure to stabilize your spine and hips. This is crucial for many exercises like squats, deadlifts, or push ups. A great way to help master this technique of creating that pressure with the diaphragm is to think of breathing into your belly button and posteriorly tilting the pelvis (flatten out the lower back by pulling hips underneath).