Do This And You’ll Be Ahead Of The Pack
Have you ever wanted to get ahead of the pack?
It’s normal to feel that way. We’ve all wanted the same thing one time or another.
And it can feel disappointing if we don’t get there.
I remember wanting to keep up with my brother when we went for a run.
He’s been running for years and still loves it. Plus he’s good at it. I’d never been a fan (I’m still not), so I was apprehensive when he invited me to hit the trail.
We laced up our shoes, and off we went … down a dry, hot, dusty, Texas path.
I already felt defeated.
Believe me, I was dying almost immediately. I couldn’t catch my breath. I couldn’t keep my feet or legs under my body. I couldn’t catch my brother. He was off in the distant horizon. It wasn’t looking good for me.
Then, something “clicked.”
Suddenly … I wasn’t heaving with empty lungs anymore. My legs and feet stayed under me and I was feeling strong. And, yes, I caught my brother.
When we got to the end of the trail he said, “I thought you didn’t run.” I replied, “I don’t.”
And you know what it was? The thing that “clicked”?
It was my yoga training.
Well, to be specific, it was the breath work from my yoga training.
So … how did a rookie runner utilize yogic breathing to keep up with a seasoned trail blazer?
More importantly, how can you use yogic breathing to improve your running, cycling, weight-lifting, and yoga?
Shall I show you now?
Breathe in-and-out through your nose. I go into greater detail in this blog post.
A quick list of benefits, includes, but is not limited to:
- Increased blood flow through a phenomenon called vasodilation
- Higher levels of oxygen intake
- Helps the vessels of the heart relax and expand
- Antibacterial effect killing both bacteria and viruses as air enters your body
Try breathing through your nose when you’re doing any physical activity (except swimming, of course). You’ll know immediately if you need to slow down. The moment you feel the urge to breathe through your mouth, you’ve probably gone too far, too soon. Remember: breathing is your barometer.
Belly breathe. You can read more about the benefits of belly breathing in this article.
Some well known benefits of belly-breathing include: improved digestion, improved immune function, improved mood, improved oxygen intake, and so on.
Of course, if your workouts are getting intense, you can utilize your rib cage and upper chest for deeper inhalations. Just do your best to originate your breath from the belly.
Find your rhythm.
This is where you extract the gold.
This is what separates the elite from the also rans.
This is how I caught up to a seasoned runner without any specific training or conditioning. This is going to be the thing that can take your performance to the next level.
Running (and Walking). Inhale for three steps then exhale for three steps. At least, start there. But remember: this is finding your rhythm. You may need to inhale and exhale for five … or one.
The goal is to find a rhythm that is “do-able” and stick with it. You may need to speed up or slow down your pace, but do your best to keep the pattern for the duration of your session.
Cycling. It’s the same idea for pedaling. Inhaling for three strokes then exhaling for three strokes is a good starting point. You may need to alter the number to suit your rhythm. Even when you switch gears, do your best to maintain the beat.
Bonus cycling tip: To get more forward moving power, emphasize your stroke when your cranks are at the 3 o’clock position (parallel to the ground) … and use your glutes.
Weight-Lifting. This is a general guideline but a great place to start. Inhale during the loading phase (eccentric) and exhale during the exertion (concentric) phase.
For example, if you’re performing a push-up … inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up. If you’re doing a pull-up… inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up.
One way to think about it is to inhale when the muscles you’re working are getting longer and exhale when the muscles you’re working are getting shorter.
Yoga. Inhale during expansion then exhale during compression.
For example, inhale as you raise your arms and exhale as you lower your arms. If you’re doing a triangle pose, inhale to set it up, exhale as you go into it, hold the pose and breathe, and inhale to come up out of it.
Bonus yoga tip: try to match the length of your breath with the length of the movement. If it takes you 3 seconds to raise your arms, your inhale should be 3 seconds. If it takes you 6 seconds to lower your arms, your exhale should be 6 seconds. If you want to nudge the envelop, try to keep a steady rhythm throughout your entire yoga practice … regardless of how “easy” or “challenging” a pose may be.
Apply It Today
A lot of people believe they’ll never get out of their rut or see improvement in their performance.
And that kind of stress can hold them back … or even worse … it can make them quit.
It’s a normal feeling we all share.
But, now you’ve got some easy – yet powerful – procedures to take your performance over the top.
They don’t cost any money and you don’t need the latest piece of junk gizmo. You can do it anytime, anywhere, and you can customize it to suit your needs.
Make a commitment and add these tips and tricks to your health and wellness routine today.
You’ve got this!