How we breathe can have a profound impact upon our autonomic nervous system state as well as the degree of movement variability we have in our system.
Autonomic nervous system states are the parasympathetic (rest and digest) and sympathetic (fight or flight) conditions.
- Slow, deep breathing with an emphasis on nasal inhalations can augment the parasympathetic side of the equation. This is extremely helpful in relaxation and meditation but also for enhancing the recovery abilities of the athlete.
- Rapid breathing with an emphasis on exhalations can increase sympathetic drive and help us to get “amped and ramped” before a big effort.
Movement variability is essentially the blend of mobility and stability within our bodies. For some applications such as a heavy deadlift, we want little variability and high stability. At other times, such as reaching into a high cupboard to retrieve a glass, we want maximum mobility.
- Performing stabilization breathing with a valsalva maneuver and increased muscular recruitment can improve internal compression and external tension. This adds to rigidity, force transference ability, and safety when it’s needed.
- Mobilization breathing can unlock the axial skeleton with an expansion strategy and increase degrees of freedom in the right circumstances.
Breathing can be an exercise in and of itself. It can also be used to enhance your training, recovery, and competition. If you’d like to learn more about how you can harness the power of your breath, check out this week’s podcast for a tutorial on these concepts.
And, if you want some great, technical, and fashionable exercise clothing and gear, grab some Lifetime Athlete Products today.