How To Breathe


New Member
Do you make a conscious effort to control your breathing when you are training? Breath control is one aspect of athletic pursuit, along with eye training and hip rotation, which I discovered later in life is largely neglected by coaching as you come up. I use a ball-catching drill for martial art training. You stand about 6-8 feet in front of you partner with your feet perpendicular to his. Keeping the head straight forward, arms in the flexed curl position you snatch racquetballs or practice golf balls as they are lobbed in front of your face. Without turning the head, you find the key in focusing the eyes on the ball coming out of the corner of your eye. As your eyespeed matches the ball speed, you make the ball still in relationship to the neurological pathways in question. An aha moment indeed. Are ya following me? Haha. A professional batter is known to read the stitches on the ball in this way. A professional goalie knows it or he couldn't block 105 MPH shots no way. "Keep your eye on the ball," is quite counterintuitive until you discover and experience it for yourself. Same with hip rotation to multiply power.

You've noted the relationship between breathing and relaxation. Relaxation is what allows loose muscles to react instantly while tense muscles are fired and have to relax and fire again.

I was told by strength training coaches to inhale on the easy side of an exercise and exhale when you exert force. Though this standard works for pressing exercises, it's not always that simple.

I'm now finding after 30 years of weight training that during pulling, sometimes you should be inhaling. Sound crazy? Go grab your barbell for upright rows and while you are chinning it, take note of your breath pattern. I understand a pulling exercise has load on both strokes but the pull is the contraction stage. Try it inhaling on the pull stroke and exhaling when you lower the weight. What do ya think? I know from experience and asking my doctor that underwater swimming strengthens the organs. Could there be a benefit to changing the breathing pattern on some pulling exercises or varying it alternately for increased gains? What are the pitfalls?

Take T'ai Chi Ch'uan where breathing follows movement naturally. In Tai Chi, as a general rule, one inhales with the tongue pressed on the roof of the mouth when arms travel up, back or inward. Conversely, when arms move down, forward or outward, the practitioner exhales with the tongue on the lower palate.

Also, how do you breathe during pull-ups? What about rowing?


Well-Known Member
Great post! : )

Try focusing on breathing while doing absolutely nothing with your body. It is even more difficult, until it becomes wonderful and second nature.

Focusing on breathing helps increase awareness. Whether you are hitting fast balls, lifting weights, dodging tree limbs, or doing nothing at all. It calms you. Being calm is a great freedom in my opinion.