How's it going friends? I've got a topic that's a bit more in left field than you might expect from me. Then again, this might be right on brand for those that know me well enough... In any case it should provide some entertainment for you just the same, enjoy!.
When someone is winded, what’s the go to for how to breathe? In your nose and out your mouth, right? Here’s the fun news, I’m not here to change that, that’s worked well for a long time, not about mess with it, I’m not that foolish.
What I am here to tell you is that nasal breathing (breathing in and out of your nose only) can help one determine where they are at with their effort, recovery, heart rate in general and cardiovascular health. Here’s a few ways I use nasal breathing in training;
Recovery- When I coach the high schoolers, during some fitness activities, I ask them to wait until they are recovered to go again. Sometimes when they think they are ready, I ask them to try breathing in and out of their nose only, is it that uncomfortable or comfortable (hard or easy)? If it’s comfortable, off they go for another rep, sprint or whatever I’ve come up with for the day. Another easy one for this is can they carry on the conversation easily, also a green light. Otherwise, they stay put and hang with the coaches for a bit longer.
Steady state cardio- I will often program some folks to hit X number of meters on the assault bike (everyone’s worst nightmare at CORE) and only do nasal breathing for the entire length. This usually means that the person never leaves that magical zone 2 state that steady state cardio works well for. Still pushes the system a bit but doesn’t leave people feeling absolutely destroyed after. Of course, it can be tricky to make sure they are pushing just to the brink of that threshold and not sandbagging it. If I believe this to be the case I'll push them until they are just past it, then pull them back to help them understand where that sweet spot is.
Circuits or density sets- Sometimes I’ll compile an appropriate series of exercises or movements and challenge those doing it to breath only through their nose. This certainly throws folks for a loop the first few times they do it, but eventually they find a good grove and are able to press on. By the end of the training block, their capacity is much higher and if we are ever to take the shackles off and go without nasal breathing only, they are really able to crush such a circuit.
I do want to just keep in mind for all, this is a very imperfect tool, but in the absence of spending oodles of dough on heart rate monitors (especially 50-60 of them for the high school), it does the job well enough. Perhaps one day that could happen, but for now this will do the job pretty well.
Hope everyone found this informative to a degree and can find somewhere to apply this for themselves. Thanks for your time and have yourself a day!
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS