Gasping for Air in the Middle of WODs? This Breathing Fix Could Be Your Game-Changer

CrossFit pushes you to your limits, but are you leaving gains on the table?

Learn how the simple act of breathing correctly can skyrocket your performance.

Discover how to generate more power, unlock untapped endurance, and recover faster…all through your breath.

Recovery is king in a sport that’s based around a clock. When it matters most, if your heart rate and breathing are out of control, everything else falls apart.

Rich Froning

Beyond Just Oxygen: Why Breathing Matters

Breathing isn’t just about taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. Here’s what proper breathing does for you:

Core Powerhouse: Strong, controlled breathing powers your core stability. Think of it like inflating a balloon inside your abdomen – that pressure helps you brace for heavy lifts and protects your spine.

Injury Prevention: Improper breathing can lead to poor posture and movement patterns, increasing your risk of injuries.

Mind Power: Focused breathing calms your nervous system, helping you stay sharp and focused under pressure.

Faster Recovery: Effective breathing helps flush out metabolic waste and promotes relaxation, speeding up your recovery between workouts.

Are You Breathing Wrong?

Many CrossFitters fall into the trap of shallow chest breathing, especially when things get tough. This limits your oxygen intake and throws your body into a state of stress – not ideal for peak performance.

The Power of Diaphragmatic Breathing

The key to unlocking your full potential is diaphragmatic breathing (also called belly breathing or 360 breathing). Here’s how to do it:

Place one hand on your belly, the other on your chest.

Inhale deeply through your nose, feeling your belly expand in all directions (your chest should move minimally).

Exhale slowly through pursed lips, letting your belly gently contract.

Practical Tips for CrossFit

Nasal Breathing for Endurance: Challenge yourself to breathe through your nose during warm-ups and lighter portions of your WOD. This promotes better oxygen utilization and recovery.

Breathing Cues: “Exhale at the top of a snatch,” “Deep inhale before a deadlift.” Link your breath to specific movements.

Breathwork as Training

Take 5-10 minutes daily for focused breathwork to boost your CrossFit performance. Here’s a simple routine:

Box Breathing: Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts. Repeat.

Alternate Nostril Breathing: Use your thumb and ring finger to gently close one nostril at a time, breathing in and out in a slow, alternating pattern.

Try respiratory muscle training

All that talk about breathing technique is great, but what if you could make your breathing muscles themselves stronger and more efficient? That’s where respiratory muscle training (RMT) comes in.

Think of RMT like weightlifting for your lungs. Specific devices provide resistance as you inhale and exhale. Over time, this workout strengthens your diaphragm and other respiratory muscles. Here’s what that means for your CrossFit performance:

More Power, Less Fatigue: Stronger breathing muscles allow you to take in more oxygen with less effort, delaying the feeling of being “out of breath” during intense WODs.

Boosted Endurance: RMT helps you maintain strong, efficient breathing patterns for longer, so you can push harder towards the end of those grueling workouts.

Faster Recovery: By optimizing oxygen flow, RMT can aid in clearing metabolic waste products faster, meaning less soreness and quicker bounce-back between sessions.

How to Get Started with RMT: Several RMT devices exist on the market. It’s a good idea to check in with a physical therapist or sports performance coach familiar with RMT to find the best program for your needs. While RMT won’t replace the importance of in-WOD breathing awareness, it can be a powerful tool alongside your other CrossFit training.

There’s some smart science behind it, too — a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found a “significant positive effect of respiratory muscle training (RMT) on sport performance outcomes of time trials [and] exercise endurance time.

Rich Froning

THE BREATHER │ Natural Breathing Exerciser Trainer For Drug-Free…
EASY TO USEINCREASES OXYGEN FLOW: Respiratory training naturally increases lung strength and capacity;…

The Takeaway

Don’t underestimate the power of your breath. Start paying attention to your breathing patterns during your next workout and try out some simple breathing exercises. Small changes can revolutionize your CrossFit performance, recovery, and overall well-being.

Next: Here’s how to improve your aerobic capacity


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