Tip: Blow Up Your Performance

You breathe instinctively... but are you doing it optimally? Here's how to thrive through better breathing.

Breath is life. The fitness of your breathing systems can improve your chances of surviving infection and speeding recovery.

Better yet, if you train and improve it, these systems prepare you for new levels of performance and the ability to recover from exercise like never before.

1. Breathe Better

Breathing requires a complete mechanism. The spine, ribs, and a whole slew of muscles are involved. What most people don't know is that doing it well is actually a skill. It can be trained. How? The same way we would if we were training any other muscle group.

First, we need to get the skills down to optimize each breath. Then we can move on to volume and strength.

2. Breathe More

This is a more advanced set of skills. The first video is a prerequisite, so make sure you've watched and practiced what you learned in that section.

Once you have that part down, this workout will work much better. This is a mixture of mobility and stretching. It's also an introduction to performance breathing.

A great workout would be 10 minutes of continuous breathing and movement. If you can do that without getting winded, move on to the next section.

3. Breathe Stronger

There are some obvious signs of a strong breather. The late great Franco Columbu used to blow up those old-school rubber hot water bags like they were balloons with just the power of his lungs! Great party trick, but the benefits of strong breathing for athletic performance are actually pretty amazing.

Surviving infection, however, relies on these same muscles to be in top shape. One of the ways pneumonia kills is exhausting the muscles of inspiration. Even before that though, the lungs need to be strong to be able to stay well ventilated and clear (via coughing).

Not Just Woo Woo

This is a workout on its own. Even if you're used to high intensity training, it'll still make you feel like a newbie.

Think of breath work like an insurance policy against severe lung issues during infection. If you think it's just for yoga masters and martial artists, think again. It may be the best way to train when you can't get in the gym.