Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Breathe for Resistance Training vs. Yoga

There are several things you need to stay aware of as you perform exercise: alignment, movement, pace, breathing, etc. Today I want to take a second and talk about proper breathing techniques for weight training versus Yoga.

In both resistance training and yoga you want to stay conscious of the way you are breathing as a way to keep your mind connected with what your body is doing. Maintaining a focus on the breathing will keep you in the moment focused on form, pace and movement. Every exercise movement should ideally be connected and done in conjunction with either an inhale or an exhale of breathe. Whether you are lifting, extending, lowering, folding, pushing, pulling, etc. it is best practice to match your breathing pattern to the pace of your movement. If you move faster, breathe faster, if you move slower breathe slower... it is the most natural thing to do, but sometimes we allow our minds to wander and the proper breathing slips away from us.

During Resistance Training
The Inhale is used during the negative portion of the movement when we are controlling the resistance as we release it with an eye to goof form. Ex. extending our arms and releasing a weighted barbell down with control in a bicep curl. So inhale is a focus on control and smooth resistance.

The Exhale is used to create power in the muscle being called upon and drive the resistance through the full range of motion. Ex. Pressing/standing back up in a weighted squat. So the exhale is a focus on energy release and muscular power in any push, pull resistance exercise.

During Yoga
The Inhale provides a natural lift and lightness in the body which is the perfect time to moving into a pose or for realigning your posture and lengthening within a yoga pose. This is why all yoga movements/poses start on an inhale. Ex. lengthening your spine and lifting your upper body up out of your hips before folding down over your legs. So inhale is a focus on lifting, lengthening and realigning the body.

The Exhale is used to both stretch and relax your muscles in order to move deeper into the flexibility portion of the pose. Ex. Hinging further at the hips and sinking the upper body deeper into the legs in forward fold. So the exhale is a focus on muscular relaxation and joint flexibility.


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