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Workout breathing exercises

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Are there different breathing exercises for different workouts? Oh yeah!

Photo by Julia Ballew on Unsplash

BREATHING often gets overlooked when we exercise. As a former competitive amateur boxer and kick boxer, I know the importance of proper breathing techniques. Without it, boxers can easily get fatigued, which in turn can lead to injury.

I teach and incorporate proper breathing techniques into all aspects of my training—it is essential for so many reasons. Proper breathing increases your performance and endurance and keeps you safe during your workouts by decreasing the workload on your heart. Oxygen gets absorbed and transported through your blood cells when you inhale, and toxins such as carbon dioxide are removed when you exhale.

Common mistakes with breathing while exercising include holding your breath, breathing too deep or too shallow, breathing too fast or too slow, and inhaling and exhaling at the wrong times.

Breathing techniques for training and workouts

Strength training breathing

People are often tempted to hold their breath when training with weights. However, doing this can cause an increase in blood pressure as strength training can be very demanding. Exhale as you lift the weight towards you, and inhale as you put the weight back down.

Breathing for cardio workouts

To maximize your cardio workouts, you need to learn how to control your breathing pat- terns. Poor technique means your body won’t get the oxygen it needs, which in turn results in fatigue and stops you from achieving the results you want. Train yourself to adopt deep, controlled breaths. I have found that keeping with a cadence of 2-2 (2 steps breathing in, 2 steps breathing out) is most effective. Adjust the cadence according to your speed and focus on your breath and the steps.

Breathing techniques for abdominal exercises

When it comes to abdominal exercises, proper breathing can make a huge difference in the effectiveness and efficiency of the exercise. Correct breathing will engage your core muscles and prevent injury. Exhale while con- tracting, and inhale when you lower yourself back to the floor.

Breathing techniques for stretching

For stretching, breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. Each time you exhale, allow your body to fall deeper into the stretch to improve flexibility.

Proper breathing techniques are useful for exercise, but can also benefit many other areas of your life such as childbirth, stress manage- ment and meditation. Correct breathing can help increase your energy, relieve pain and improve your focus, alertness and blood circulation.

With all these benefits, you’ll not only be healthier, less stressed and more relaxed, but you’ll be able to perform better both mentally and physically!

More Inspiration: You might also enjoy this article on gym etiquette.

Author: Nichelle Laus is the owner of Optimum Training Centre ( in Toronto, Ontario. A fitness and cover model, figure and bikini competitor, competition preparation and transformation coach for Team Laus (, she is a certified personal trainer, and kickboxing and kettlebell instructor. She is also a motivational speaker and proud mom of four boys under the age of eight. She loves to teach and inspire others that you can do anything if you want it bad enough.


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