Physical Training & Breath Holds
Breathing Practices for Athletes
Always start gradually and work your way up by doing everything above. Also when competing its important to breathe normally. The following is for practice / training sessions to slowly improve breathing performance. Improving CO2 tolerance has also shown to improve VO2 Max.
VO2 Max refers to how much Oxygen your body can absorb and use during exercise.
Nose Breathing – the first step when training is to simple start changing your breathing to bring awareness to how you breathe when you train. If you can switch to nose breathing (as long as you don’t have any nasal restrictions or injuries) this will help improve performance as you adapt.
Go slow and as you feel CO2 levels rise see if you can stay in that zone for a little while without going too far and making sure you can recover your breathing normally without gasping for Air.
Also for maximum intensity training nose breathing should not be forced but most athletes can perform at close to maximum (once they have trained and adapted) while only nose breathing.
Step Counting – While exercise (never while training in water) Athletes can count their normal rhythm of inhale and exhale. An easy example is while walking or running. How many steps on inhale and how many steps on exhale. Then they can extend the exhale for an extra step, and alternatively can inhale hold then exhale. For example if normal walking inhale is two steps and exhale is 3, they can try in 2 and out 4. Keep this going until you feel CO2 tolerance increasing then recover. Next they can extend the exhale even further for a few minutes and recover. Finally you can inhale for 2 hold for two and exhale for 4. This should be done gradually and over time. Always give yourself time to recover. If you can when in recovery dont gasp for breath unless you need to. Always try to slowly recover through the nose if possible.
More advanced athletic breath training is available but is beyond the scope of this course.