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Breathing During Sport: More Performance Through The Proper Breathing Technique

The proper breathing technique improves the supply to the muscles, calms the mind, or pushes it. Cheers to our superpower! We’ll tell you how to get the most out of various sports by playing the proper role! Please take a deep breath.

It is oxygen that fuels our cells. To use it, we breathe.

Completely automatically and unconsciously – as an adult, on average of 15 times per minute. Works without thinking.

Breathing is a broad field, the key to life and all bodily functions.

Briton Peter Ratcliffe and Americans Gregg Semenza, and William Kaelin have just received the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for their insight into how our cells sense and adapt to different oxygen concentrations.

With 300 genes and proteins, they can keep their balance – and with the endogenous hormone, erythropoietin increases the formation of red blood cells, unfortunately also known as the doping agent EPO. A sophisticated mechanism.

Knowing the basics is enough for us to influence our oxygen supply when we are resting, especially when exercising.

If we try to hold our breath, even with a lot of practice, we can only do so up to a certain point: as soon as the brain registers that the carbon dioxide level in the blood is too high, we breathe in.

The diaphragm, the muscle that domes taut under the lungs, then contracts and flattens, pulling the lungs down with it.

Due to the negative pressure that arises, the lungs are sucked full of air – like bellows. When you exhale, the diaphragm returns to its dome shape, pushing the air out of your lungs.

After a short pause, the game starts again as long as we live. At least ideally. Unfortunately, it is often the case that our diaphragm is prevented from doing its job.

Especially In Office Jobs, we sit too much and are too crooked. Poor prerequisites for the sophisticated system.

Because then the rib muscles take over the job. They can do that too, but not even half as well because breathing not only ensures that oxygen gets through the bronchi into the bronchioles, from there into the alveoli (air sacs in the lungs) and through them into the blood, which supplies every cell.

If the diaphragm is in action, the circulation is happy; the blood pressure drops, and, above all, our organs can enjoy a light massage with significant effect due to the downward pressure.

Even the good benefits from it. Reason enough, then, to regularly (at least once an hour) straighten, stretch and do what is constantly preached to us in Pilates courses: breathe into our stomachs.

Or even in the toes. The latter is, of course, pure nonsense from a physiological point of view. But it does help our imagination to breathe in and out profoundly consciously.

The best way to do this is to place our hands on our stomachs to feel the abdominal wall rise and fall (with a bit of practice, this also works while we are contracting our abdominal muscles).

Breathe Properly When Jogging In Winter

Breathe through your nose! Our olfactory organ is a multifunctional tool: filter, air conditioner, humidifier, and brain booster at the same time. Especially in winter, it is important to breathe through your nose when jogging.

Cold air causes the bronchi to constrict, making them less efficient.

Nose breathing can be trained—with a bit of concentration and persistence.

“Nasal dilators” can also help: These small, inconspicuous silicone molds spread the nostrils so that more air can be inhaled unhindered (be sure to pay attention to the size, “small” is sufficient for most).

When breathing through the mouth, more germs get into the throat, the mucous membranes dry out, especially in winter when it is cold and exposed to more bacteria and viruses.

But breathing with your mouth open while you sleep is also unhealthy: the risk of snoring increases, the oxygen supply becomes irregular, and the saliva can no longer wash around your teeth, which increases the risk of tooth decay.

In short: nasal breathing keeps us fitter, in every respect. Proper breathing not only provides us with energy during a workout or endurance training, but it can also relax us on command.

The following anti-stress breathing is easy to learn and, because it is easier to remember, is known as “4711”: Inhale deeply for four seconds, exhale in a controlled way for seven seconds, the whole thing for about 11 minutes – after that, we are relaxed.

“Regular training about twice a day stimulates the inner organs, improves blood circulation and cell metabolism, strengthens the immune system and optimizes the respiratory exchange process in the lungs,” advises Thomas Loew, Professor of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy at the University of Regensburg, “is best in free nature. We instinctively breathe deeper. The vegetative nervous system calms down in the natural environment of forest and meadow.”

We take in eight times more oxygen than with normal shallow breathing with this variant.

This also impacts our stamina:

  • In the long term, the need for oxygen decreases.
  • The heart rate drops.
  • Blood pressure drops.

This reassurance can increase our performance in training.

The second step would be the conscious suppression of the breathing reflex.

However, it would help if you did not start with the apnea training in a marathon, but lying down: First, we measure how long we can withstand deep inhalation through the nose without further inhalation.

We take 30 percent of this and do four sets with a break of 1:55 minutes each. After each group, we increase the time we consciously suppress the breathing reflex by five to ten seconds.

This leads to an increased release of red blood cells from the spleen. It lets us last longer. And we finally break the habit of breathing too fast, too much, and too shallow as soon as we hit our breaking point. Because with a bit of practice, there is still enough room for improvement.

Right And Wrong Breathing

Many over the years – most from their teens – have made chest breathing their standard breathing technique. As a result, we never get enough oxygen to supply our cells optimally.

  • Hyperextending the chest: Mirror test: If the shoulders move up when you take a deep breath, the trunk is hyperextended instead of the lungs being stretched.
  • Hyperextend your back: does the bottom rib cage rise noticeably higher when you inhale? Then the back is hyperextended.
  • Inhale longer: With a deep breath, count once. What takes longer: Is it the inhalation? At least as long as we breathe in, we should also live out. A ratio of 1:2-3 would be ideal.


That’s How You Breathe Properly

Practice abdominal breathing consciously until it becomes your usual breathing technique. And of course: As long as the load allows it, please breathe in through your nose!

  • Correct Posture: leave your diaphragm space to work! This works when you sit and stand upright or lie down straight.
  • Diaphragm Training: Lie on your stomach on the floor. Breathe deeply into your belly and breathe out three times as long. Repeat this for five minutes. You go into the shoulder bridge as an inversion position: Feet and shoulders are on the floor, arms are stretched out above your head. Repeat nose-belly breathing for 5 minutes. Practice daily!

Side Stitch – Where Does It Come From And How To Avoid It

If the diaphragm is not supplied with enough oxygen, there is a risk of pain, showing that our body is now overwhelmed. As the load increases, so does the need for oxygen.

Unfortunately, this is the moment we tend to breathe quickly and shallowly, which makes the problem worse.

In general, do not eat anything challenging to digest for at least two hours before exercising.

If you got a sting: When you breathe in, raise your arms above your head; when you breathe out, lean forward and let your arms dangle.

This relaxes the abdominal cavity and diaphragm. Regular abdominal muscle training also helps against the annoying power brake.

Breathe Properly When Exercising

To use the total volume of the lungs, correct breathing is always essential. But especially when exercising, it helps to pay a little more attention to breathing. Every sport has its specifics that need to be considered. We reveal what is essential:

Weight Training

When doing strength training, you should avoid both forced breathing and holding your breath at the moment of exertion. Exhale during labor and inhale during relaxation. This creates a rhythm of breath and movement that allows us to hold out longer and relieve blood vessels, heart, and lungs.

To Run

Whoever succeeds should maintain a nasal breathing pattern. Breathe in for two steps and breathe out for two steps at a medium running load. A maximum of oxygen is needed. This is made possible by breathing deeply and evenly, which helps avoid painful side stitches.


While breathing is self-sustaining in backstroke and breaststroke, it takes practice to crawl because nothing works without rhythm. Beginners try breathing in pairs: Exhale into the water and inhale with your mouth on the same side after every two arm strokes.

The head is only slightly turned towards the water surface. Advanced users choose the three-arm pull. It doesn’t matter whether you breathe in twos, threes, or even fives. Balance is important. Thanks to her, a stable position in the water is maintained.


Breathe deeply through your nose and out with your mouth open. Imagine that you want to watch your breath vapor in the cold and pretend that you are saying an “H” with your larynx. During the exercises, you breathe in and out with your nose – and make the sound through your nose. With this breathing, we relax better and stay focused.

Martial Arts

Exhale with every action, even with rapid impact sequences. Hiss quietly to make yourself aware. If the muscles are tensed when exhaling, this reduces the risk of injury.




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