Practice Box Breathing daily. We are and will continue to practice box breathing before and after each training session to teach our athletes 1.) how to breathe through their nose, 2.) how to slow and control their breathing, and 3.) how to access their parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the CNS associated with slowing heart rate, calming nerves, and reducing anxiety.
Here’s how it works. We do 2×5 in our warm-up.
Each rep includes a 5 sec inhalation through the nose, 5 sec pause, 5 sec exhalation through the mouth, and a 5 sec hold. The 5 sec hold after expiration forces a strong inhalation, filling the lungs completely. When you can comfortably do it without feeling you are hyperventilating you’re on the right track.
Accessing your parasympathetic nervous system DURING training is another animal that we plan to work on down the road. A good example of how to integrate breath training into your workout is with Breathing ladders or breathing exercises between sets.
Monday’s workout was a good example of that. I gave everyone 5 breathes between sets of 15m Walking KBS, forcing them to slow everything down, re-center, and calm down before the next set of swings.
The example below shows 4 sec intervals. Truly you can go as low as 3 and as high as 8 sec.