Respiration During Exercise

It's important to enhance your respiration during exercise (breathing rate) so you get increased amounts of oxygen to your muscles to help you work more efficiently.


pilates exercise image

When I work with my clients I always remind my clients to breathe as they move and feel the flow of their breath as they bend and extend and twist during their exercises.


I understand sometimes when we learn new movements we are thinking hard about doing them correctly and this causes us to hold our breath, maybe our shoulders even creep up into our ears.


When you feel that happening JUST EXHALE!


Check out my Breathing and Exercise Video below to find out the General Rules of Thumb for breathing.



Pilates Breathing

Pilates breathing (ribcage breathing) is a great way to get the greatest amount of oxygen to the working muscles, which aids in releasing glycogen and removing toxins from the working muscles.

Lying on your mat as shown with your hands on the lower part of your ribcage.

Inhale as you expand your breath out into your hands feeling the chest rise and the breath move into the space between your shoulder blades.

Exhale as you feel the ribs melt back down into the mat and knit together.

Let the movement happen as the ribs expand and contract delivering all that precious oxygen to your cells and muscles.


One of the best ways to enhance your breathing rate during exercise is with the Pilates Hundreds exercise.


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The breathing techniques used in this Pilates breathing exercise is to do 10 sets of 10 repetitions of in and out breathing.

Assuming the position shown or with the legs bent in, arms long at your side and head and shoulders lifted.

Begin pulsing the arms up and down as you inhale (sniffing) for 5 breaths and then exhale (blowing out) for 5 breaths over 10 sets = 100. 

While doing this exercise you will feel the respiratory muscles just under the chest pulsing and working.  You are strengthening those muscles!


Benefits of Correct Respiration During Exercise

  • Increase your Range of Motion
  • Increased oxygen to muscles
  • Removes toxins in the body
  • Relaxation
  • More mindful of your movements
  • Less stress
  • More energy
  • Stretches and expands the muscles between ribs


Dangers of Holding your Breath During Exercise

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Reduces the amount of oxygen getting to your muscles.
  • Valsalva manuever (increase in blood pressure), can cause you to pass out.


Find out more ways and breathing techniques to enhance your respiration during exercise using Pilates techniques here.



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