Wild Blog


April 16, 2014 at 2:10pm

As most of you know by now, I am NOT a runner. I have been experimenting with my breathing the last 45 days or so, as I want to improve my “cardio” as many of us do.  Check out what I have learned about myself and try this out on your next WOD and let me know what you think!!

First element is the Dynamic Warm up targeted to the WOD.  Dynamic Warm up means many different things to different trainers, but what it means to me is warm up the muscle groups, or respiratory rates you wish to deliver quality results on.  DON’T SHOCK YOUR BODY ON 3-2-1 go!!  Ex:  In a car, it takes less energy to go from 40mph to 60mph, than from 0mph to 60mph.  So get your heart rate up prior to the WOD. Especially if it is a METCON. I am not saying row your ass off for 10 minutes, but you do need to get your body ready for what it is about to endure.

Now, let’s look at what is happening physiologically when you do a hard WOD. Let’s take FRAN!! We all LOVE FRAN. As you start the first round of 21 thrusters, your respiratory rate starts to increase as a natural response to the exercise.  You must deliver oxygen to your muscles. As you start to work harder, your muscles need more oxygen, so you begin to breathe faster. As  your exercise becomes more intense, your tidal volume (the amount of air that that you breath in and out in one breath) increases. The more you train and raise your respiratory rate, the more efficient your body becomes at delivering oxygen to the body through stronger diaphragm muscles and increased lung capacity. Essentially, our bodies want to breathe faster to deliver more oxygen to our muscles, so why would we try to slow that down?

Our minds also respond to the increased respiratory rate. If you notice your movements during a workout, your body tends to follow your breathing pattern. On a thruster you may take a breath in as you move down into the squat and breathe out and you stand up and press the bar.  If you try to slow your breathing down during your thrusters, your movement will most likely slow down as well, resulting in a slower WOD time. Add in a break or two, and a few extra breaths, and you really will throw off your WOD time.

By trying to control your breathing at a slower pace, your mind is already set in that slower pattern and your movements will follow that slower breathing pattern! If you allow yourself to breathe more naturally and rapidly, there will still be plenty of oxygen intake for your muscles, so your mind and body will be ready to move at a faster pace. Allow air to pass freely and rapidly through the mouth and the nose as you breathe and do not try to control it or slow it down.

As I stated at the beginning of this segment, I have been experimenting with this for the past 45 days or so and have noticed better results, and the WODS seem to be “more fun”. By not focusing so much on my breathing, it gives me one less thing to worry about during the WOD.   You will still push yourself to your physical and respiratory limits, but you probably won’t feel like you are starving for oxygen or gasping for breath during the event.

It’s something to try out, especially if you notice yourself trying to slow your respiratory rate down intentionally during a WOD. So the next time we have a metcon programmed, I challenge you to try this! See how you feel, see if you move faster, and let me know what you think.