Dom Sullivan brings to us the importance of good breathing technique.


Breathing. We all know breathing is important to us in our daily lives, but it’s how we control it that sets you apart from others. It’s a small part of our daily functions that can be critically overlooked but for an athlete breathing is potentially the most crucial part of their sport. Without it they would they wouldn’t be able to push themselves and achieve the greatest score they could possibly get. For athletes it’s important to push themselves but to have the right knowledge and mindset to breathe properly, they would never win Gold.

There are many benefits to breathing properly, “It prepares you for the next session and helps calm your nerves before a race”. Most crucial is calming your nerves as an athlete must always be focused and ready before their performance. If not there’s no chance of winning. By breathing properly, one is able to beat their inner demons and prepare themselves to be the best they could possibly be.

 All professional and successful athletes can be seen breathing properly. “Its about how much you can exhale, it gives more room for the oxygen”. By having more space for the oxygen an athlete “becomes as efficient as possible”. Efficiency is key to an athlete and by breathing properly you’re able to gain “Maximum oxygen input to have maximum muscle output”. By perfecting your breathing technique, one is able to push themselves even further and beat the competition through the greatest muscle output they could achieve. By breathing efficiently, an athlete is able to “Release their carbon dioxide which isn’t useful”. By removing waste from the body an athlete is able to continuously supply themselves and their muscles with oxygen and keep ahead of the game by removing the threat of lactic acid build-up and cramps.

A question one might ask is: “How do I breathe properly?”. For Dom “It’s about personal preference” and “being able to find your rhythm”. You need to “Expand your whole ribcage, not just your chest” to allow as much oxygen into your body. For long distance runners and rowers breathing is about getting into a good rhythm and breathing consistently. It’s no good to breathe too slow or else you won’t get enough oxygen but breathing at a good rate will keep your muscles supplied with oxygen. Marathon runners and long-distance rowers have to keep breathing to stay upright and to keep their muscles from cramping and only do so by finding their perfect exercise beathing rhythm.

 “It’s important to feed your oxygen system because you can’t start a race without breathing as you’ll become oxygen deficit”. Oxygen deficiency during a race would be disastrous as you wouldn’t be able to continue and there’s the risk of letting down your team as you can’t go on. For rowers it’s necessary to “Exhale as you come to the extraction” (the end of the rowing stroke, when your blades come out of the water) as you’re able to release carbon-dioxide from your body which has been built up from the exercise of the stroke and begin your next stroke with an empty set of lungs ready for oxygen.

An easy exercise for everyone to try out to help improve their breathing is the “bottle trick”. Get a bottle, fill it with water and blow bubbles into it through a straw. The aim is to try and blow bubbles for as long as possible. Start with 10 seconds, then 15 and try and work up to 30 second then beyond. This greatly helps someone with their breathing as you’re able to get into a proper rhythm by filling up your lungs with as much oxygen beforehand and then releasing it very slowly through a “Controlled exhale”. A way inhaling as much oxygen as possible is by filling your lower chest and contracting your lower abs to get more breath in.

It’s obvious that breathing is important but how you breathe and the way that you use that breath is even more important. By trying out “the bottle trick” I hope many of you will be able to consciously control your breathing and be able to push yourselves past your limits when exercising.