We’re excited to introduce a series of content by Glenn Buechlein! Glenn is a legend in physical culture, but also - and probably more importantly - an educator. Any introduction we could give would pale in comparison to Paul Leonard’s. Go read that, then come back here!
We’re excited to partner with Glenn because he truly embodies the power that comes with living 1-2-3. Enjoy!
B Briefly on Breathing
by Glenn Buechlein
I am now 52 years old and I have worked out or lifted weights non-stop for approximately 35 years.
Along the way I have competed and picked up a variety of certifications. I have read a library of books on the topic of strength and conditioning and have written in the neighborhood of two dozen published articles. Oh yeah, and a book, The Tao of B.
In the past year, especially after learning about Be Activated and RPR, I have come to the conclusion that something we all take for granted is the key to overall health and well being. If one chooses to eat clean and diet, do P90X, compete in a Tough Mudder, powerlift, run a mini, etc. nothing will be optimal unless there is a focus on correct breathing. Breathing plays second fiddle to nothing. Breathing is Batman and all the other things are Robin.
Take a deep breath…
Actually disregard the previous statement.
I will share some key things I discovered about breathing. These may be a bit random because that is how I think.
When stressed we will breathe faster and more often
When stressed we will breathe with the upper chest
When stressed we tend to mouth breathe and sigh more
When we breathe too hard or over breathe we get rid of too much carbon dioxide
When we get rid of too much carbon dioxide then oxygen cannot be efficiently transported to all the body’s tissues.
When your circulatory system is laid end to end it would circumnavigate the earth at the equator 3 X.
When we were born we belly breathed (diaphragmatic) and we breathed through our nose.
When do we stop doing this?
When we breathe through the nose we release nitric oxide that dilates the blood vessels and enhances the amount of O2 taken up by the blood. Drink beet juice.
When we nose breathe the diaphragm is activated and we get into the parasympathetic instead of the sympathetic (fight or flight)
When we mouth breathe it can change our appearance and facial structure.
When we breathe less, it is actually more.
When we mouth breathe while sleeping we will wake up tired.
When we breathe correctly in the proper pattern then our movement will improve.
When breathing pattern disorders exist this will have a negative effect on functional movement.
When we breathe with the upper chest it may lead to neck pain, TMJ, low back pain and overall poor posture including forward head placement.
When we chest breathe accessory muscles are forced to work harder such as the scalene, SCM, and traps. Basically this leads to a pain in the neck.
When I do my daily breathing drills I consider it a workout. I can mimic high altitude training and can enhance O2 delivery as well as unclogging my nose. Warning: High altitude training can make your legs shakier than constructing a Jenga tower on top of a jackhammer.
When I help people breathe correctly while working out or lifting weights they consistently perform better and feel better.
When you really focus on breathing it should be separate from the exercise.
When you know how to activate your diaphragm then it is much easier to learn how to belly breathe.
I have spent a great deal of time researching breathing. It may sound mundane, but it is beyond fascinating. I have experimented with Wim Hof style breathing, but I personally adhere to the principles of Buteyko. Some good reads on the topic are The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown and Advanced Buteyko Breathing Exercises by Artour Rakhimov.
I have always been somewhat of a mouth breather. I have made progress in becoming a better breather. It takes time and patience as well as discipline and commitment. I did not become a big bencher overnight and I am wise enough that it will take many turns of the clock and changes in the season for me to be a primo breather. I designed my own breathing workout that I do each morning. It is mine. I will share it, but do not be reluctant to get your own. Do some research and experiment. You will then discover what you need to do to improve.
So…do not take a deep breath. Do not enhance or amplify what you were doing to get into a state of stress. Rather, take a light breath… breathe lightly in and out your nose.