Breathing for Weight Training

by Ed Harrold |  Date Released : 22 Dec 2016

Linking Breath with Movement

When we link breath with movement, we’re mindful. We’re in the present moment creating a rhythmic pattern in the exercise. Movement becomes slower and deliberate; not fast and erratic. This is certainly the best way to reduce the risk of injury. However, there’s another important factor. When we’re nasal breathing and engaging the diaphragm properly, we’re efficiently and effectively balancing our autonomic nervous system, lowering heart rates and strengthening vagal tone, which are the drivers of heart rate variability. And, we’re strengthening parasympathetic activity which means we’re building resilience in high demand activity (Martarelli et al., 2011).

With breath training in your tool box, you will get more out of less without losing any quality. It’s always quality over quantity. By incorporating the breath, we can actually lift less weights yet get the same benefits. We work the body from the inside out using respiratory system first, cardiovascular system second and musculoskeletal third which is the reverse of how we do things traditionally.

To learn how to link breath with movement, try these 3 videos with 2 different breathing techniques. Train mentally and physically to get the full benefits of the movement.

The longer and slower the exhale, the more power we have to disperse to the musculoskeletal system and the more parasympathetic release from the vagus nerve. The greater the space between breaths, the greater the resilience in the body. When we create balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic response through breath and movement, the body and brain create meditation-in-motion.

Maximizing The Time Between Sets

Between sets, the goal is to bring the heart rate down efficiently and effectively. We want to stay present and not dump the energy created in the lifting

You can start with Diaphragmatic and Ocean Sounding breath between sets. Try to inhale and exhale and slowly as you can. In fact, try to exhale twice and long as your inhale to encourage recovery. Don’t rush the exhale and you’re increasing the charge from the sympathetic response.

Next, try Alternate Nostril Breathing. This is a wonderful tool in between sets to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain, lower the heart rate and encourage a parasympathetic response. When lifting the weights, we’re creating a sympathetic response even while nasal breathing. The key is creating balance by making sure parasympathetic activity is happening at all times as well. Alternate nostril breathing starts the “flow” experience in the brain’s neurochemistry cocktail of our neurotransmitters (Werntz et al., 1983).

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Ed Harrold

About the author: Ed Harrold

Ed Harrold is an inspirational leader, coach, and educator. Ed’s mastery in the science of breath has guided him to apply mindful, conscious breathing practices in fitness, weight loss, stress reduction, healthcare and overall health and well-being.

Today, Ed blends the fields of neuroscience and the wisdom of contemplative traditions into effective strategies to improve health, fitness & well-being in Corporate America, Healthcare, athletic performance and individual health. Ed’s fluency in mindfulness-based strategies combined with the belief in the human potential gives him the depth and understanding to meet individuals and group needs across industries and platforms.

Experience Ed’s MindBodyAthlete™, Transformational Coaching and 25-Hour Breath Trainings.

Also check out Ed Harrold's Online Courses: 
15-Hour Breath Training
Breath AS Medicine: Improving Health and the Training Experience

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