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Sunday, 7 September 2008

Having problems breathing when running?

I've noticed on a brief return to running (to prepare for the Mens Health Survival of the Fittest Race) that I have a habit of panic breathing when the going gets tough towards the end.

So I set about finding a way to regulate it.

The technique described here will work well for anyone who finds themselves wasting energy and generally becoming uncomfortable with the whole breathing thing when under intense physical pressure.

It has been used to help train fighters and marital artists in particular who need to remain calm in the face of danger and panic.

It really is quite horrible and requires a lot of self-discipline and will power but works a treat!

The method and the exercises are open to adaptation depending on your sport's requirements / skill levels / fitness etc but the principles remain.

The idea is that in you control how much rest you get between sets of a particular, full body, exercise. Full body exercises are required to rapdily shoot your pulse and breathing rate upwards. You perform 10 reps of a given exercise then rest for 10 breaths. How long the rest lasts depends on your ability to slow your breathing and remain calm!

You then repeat but with only 9 reps and 9 breaths. The process continues until you perform 1 breath and 1 rep!

Below is a sample session I have personally used. Obviously the weights used should be adjusted according to the individual. A good guide for weight selection is 40-60% of your 1 repetition max for the exercise in question - you should be able to move the weights quickly.

Push jerk with 2x24kg kettlebells 10 reps, 10 slow breaths, 9 reps, 9 slow breaths etc down to 1

As above using 60 kg barbell front squat

As above using 2x28kg kettlebells swing

Pre-requisites for this type of 'panic training'

- High level of competence in the exercises to be performed
- Will power and pain tolerance
- A partner may be useful to prevent sneaky extra breaths!

Don't expect an easy ride on this one and make sure you're fresh before trying it!

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