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My 1-2-3 Moment: Alex Guillien

Alex Guillien has 5 years in the university realm with 4 as Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at Dakota State University (SD, NAIA). Alex began as an intern at Winona State University while finishing his undergraduate studies in exercise science. He went on to intern under Jed Smith and Nick Davis at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). Following UNI he became the first strength and conditioning coach in Dakota State University's history. He also holds a master's degree of science in education technology from Dakota State University as well with the following certifications: RPR Level 2, Be Activated Level 2, CSCS, RSCC, USAW L-1, Pn 1, CPR/AED/First Aid. 

Currently he is the Twin Cities/Midwest Breath Belt Director of Education. He is also working as a personal trainer and chiropractic rehab technician.

Anyone wanting to test out and get their hands on a Breath Belt contact Alex at a.a.guillien@gmail.com or 507-450-3795 (text/call). Find him on Instagram at @coachguillien.

RPR is not “just” a body thing. There is no separation of body and mind. Before I go into my 123 Moment, I’ll sidetrack to let you know where I’m coming from.

We all have a wound we are working on healing. Gabor Maté says it comes from childhood. Carl Jung says until we make the unconscious conscious, it will direct our life and we will call it fate. I hold this to be true.

The body keeps the score. It’s not just a saying and a great book. From childhood and throughout our lives, when we face traumatic events our nervous system mobilizes into a sympathetic state. The “fight, flight, or freeze” response kicks in while danger is present and ideally then shifts back into a “normal” pre-event state once the danger passes. However, these moments can leave a trace on us - an emotional scar, if you will. If we were not able to properly discharge the tension after the event has passed, these scars will manifest in both our emotional and social patterns, as well as our movement patterns. It’s worth noting here that a traumatic event is entirely subjective and that one person’s experience will be completely their own.

Working with people, I have been a witness to emotional discharges. You’ve heard it at the clinics and if you work with enough people, you will experience it too. One of the fastest ways to help change someone is through their breath.

“The research literature has identified three factors that universally lead to stress: uncertainty, the lack of information and the loss of control.” 

Gabor Maté, When the Body Says No: Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection

In the purest sense, people want to experience peace, love, and joy. However, in my experience and estimation, we are derailed from pursuing them by our childhood wounds, no matter their objective size. I’d be willing to bet the majority of powerlifters, bodybuilders, and other strength athletes have these wounds and subconsciously choose their sports to build armor against those wounds.

Yoga means tool of transformation according to Sadhguru. RPR is one tool for total transformation. 

Think for a moment and see if this has been you at one time:

Pain

Stretch/mobilize

Test movement

Frustration

Lacrosse ball “smash”

Foam roll

Test movement

Feels slightly better

Irritation

“Can’t spend an hour doing this, I need to train”

Train

Repeat

The uncertainty, the lack of useful information, the loss of control you feel while in this cycle actually perpetuates the cycle. 

If you have to be mentally alert at all times during movement you will exhaust your energy. We are not designed to think about posture while walking. We are not designed to think about all the “coaching cues” we give our athletes. This is wasted energy. When you free this energy up through the breath and re-wiring of patterns via RPR and The Breath Belt, you become unstoppable

Attitude improves

Confidence improves

Limitations are released

Where the pain cycle before was a downward spiral, this virtuous cycle serves to build you up!

Here is how the mind and the body can work together, both in a downward and an upward cycle:

  1. Diaphragm, psoas, and QL are compensating. The body is compensating.

  2. “Mind” is fatigued from trying to find a solution to move through pains of compensation. Performance suffers.

  3. Temporary relief gives false hope. But this is all you’ve got so you stay true to it. Emotional attachments to band-aid solutions are established.

  4. RPR is introduced. The nervous system is optimized. The body relearns how to move free of compensation. Performance improves. The freedom in the body creates freedom in the mind. The mind and the body work in harmony.

A theory I have is that when the psoas is not functioning properly, our body knows we are not able to achieve our highest potential. Our body becomes bogged down. This “bogging down” can lead to a host of diseases, chronic pain, and avoidable mental health issues. Again, this is a theory and probably cannot be tested but I believe it to be true.

Of course the physical benefits are astounding. But I love RPR and The Breath Belt because they allow me freedom from the compensation patterns which hinder my creativity. When I remove these compensations, I become closer to my best self. When I am closer to my best self, I can help others infinitely more. With RPR, I can help others help themselves.

This spiral effect continues into my personal life. I can become a better partner. I can become a better friend. I can become a better writer. I can learn better. I can be present. 

Everyone’s “1-2-3 Moment” is going to be different and entirely their own. But the possibilities are endless for someone who has operated in an unconsciously enslaved pattern. We’ve all been there. We are all there in one way or another right now. But we are all doing the best we can. And that’s where I was at. I was a Head Strength and Conditioning Coach who was doing my best. 

I attended a conference at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where Cal was presenting on a variety of topics. In the past I had been intimidated by male figures of authority. It didn’t matter if they were jovial and great people, I acted like I wasn’t worthy to walk up and introduce myself. This happened with Dan John, one of my favorite people in the industry - and one of the most outgoing and friendly people I have ever met. But that day, I walked up to Cal and requested he work with me at that clinic. He was going to do a demo and I made sure it was with me. He agreed and smiled with a this look of “I know something you don’t know.” I didn’t realize it at the time but he had touched my ribs on one side when he shook my hand - he did know something I didn’t, and I was about to learn!

Once I was on the table doing the breathing, I felt great about my decision to approach. As we worked through the Zone One Wake Up Drills, he was talking to the crowd of 30 or so people. After ten minutes of Cal talking, I got up. Everyone was in awe of how much taller I was walking.

At that point, I had stepped away from Olympic Weightlifting after four years due to groin, low, back, and quad pain (that I later learned were side-effects of compensation patterns). My training at this point was pretty much limited to kettlebell swings. But after Cal and I worked together, I felt like I could have done at least 90% of my previous best snatch. And truthfully I felt like I could have PR’d it, which would have been above 130kg/286lbs.

Immediately, I knew I had to learn the whole system. When I moved to the Twin Cities four months later, I did just that. And I also purchased the Level 1 clinic for two friends because I knew they needed it and couldn’t afford to go. Remember what I said before about how being closer to my best self lets me be a better friend?

I began to practice with everyone I could in 2017. I have learned so much more since then and absolutely love helping people help themselves. I have been a witness to countless stories because this is what fascinates me; people moving through and beyond their pain and into freedom.

My 1-2-3 Moment: Mike Bequette

My wife and I met while both serving in the US Navy. During that time, we deployed three times over the course of 3 years. Each deployment lasted six to seven months with a six-month home return before another began. As one can imagine, this cycle of home and away was strenuous but an opportunity that wouldn’t be traded for the world. The rigors of military life can rear its ugly head especially when faced with hazardous, and sometimes, hostile situations. No one can truly prepare you for what you are about to experience, see, or feel. And often, for many of those servicemen and women, you don’t realize the toll deployments take on your mind and body as it becomes “normal” to feel and do certain things you hadn’t before. That became not only normal for me but my wife as well.

After returning home from our last deployment, my wife was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, anxiety and depression, and experienced a leg injury that resulted in her walking with a cane at 23. Her chronic pain syndrome caused her body to overly react to stimulation by sending amplified pain signals throughout her body putting her entire system in “fight mode”. Every muscle, tendon, ligament in her body was under constant hold and tension. Countless doctors’ appointments of scans and testing came back inconclusive and the best course of action was decided on intense physical therapy. This would lead to my first experience with something like RPR.

During her treatment, I tried not to pry too much into her appointments. One day, she came home beaming and began to share an experience she had. Her therapist utilized a modality where he would place pressure on her third rib while asking her to rotate her arm at her shoulder. After doing this modality a few times, her adductors in the corresponding leg would release pressure and return to its at rest state. It sounded too good to be true until I attended the next handful of appointments with her and saw it for myself. Similar techniques would be performed over different parts of her body and her body would “relax” enough that she was able to do activities and exercises she was unable to perform just moments before.

Fast forward through her treatments and what lead me to RPR. After her 3rd surgery two years ago, we were exploring through YouTube when one of Cal Dietz videos came up about RPR. Watching his videos was nothing new for me. As a new strength and conditioning coach, I often watched his videos to learn about new methods and periodization but had never seen this. It was a video of someone with “weak” hamstrings. He tested their legs first, performed an RPR technique, (ed: this was a few years ago before we realized that you could teach someone to do the drills on themselves) and suddenly their hamstrings were more reactive and stronger. We both looked at each other in disbelief and quickly tested each other. Sure enough it worked and we were reminded of seeing something like this before. I wanted to know more and began researching more about RPR and it led me to me to its classes.

In the Level One course, I learned how to implement RPR in a group setting with my athletes. As a “see it to believe it” type of guy I not only wanted to know how it worked but needed to see it in practice beyond my limited knowledge. Our instructor walked us through every question, concern, example, we had and showed us how to implement it. For me, the Level One course reassured me of the work and results I had seen with my wife through her treatments but the real kicker- the “aha” moment for me- was what happened in Level Two Course. For me, it was unbelievable and life-changing.

The Level Two course teaches you how to narrow down specific areas to each individual needs. Our class took some time to find out where each person’s “spot” was and learnt the why. One of mine, because of my constant gum chewing, was my jaw. Every person was able to use an RPR method to reset and correct their spot and it was great to see the joy and relief we all found. I must credit our instructor, Jeff, who enabled and emboldened us through his passion for helping others. He never forced anyone to do anything they weren’t comfortable with. I say that because I wasn’t comfortable performing a specific test around others and Jeff stayed after to work with me some more.

I mentioned at the beginning the rigors of serving our country. Like my wife, I experienced my own troubles after deployment but often suppressed mine. I’ve dealt with anxiety, constantly feeling on guard with my head on a swivel, and my biggest trouble was being able to sleep through the night because of it. When I say sleep through the night, I don’t mean the occasional bouts of restless nights or being about to sleep at least six hours. For at least four years, I was only getting two or three hours of sleep at most a night and unable to go back to bed once I awoke. I tried everything I could to remedy this on my own from changing my diet and workouts, to therapy and sleeping pills, and even alcohol. It became normal for me to have a bottle of wine a night just to get to bed. I would always be too hot, would wake up in a sweat and not be able to fall back asleep. I was willing to try anything for a full night of undisturbed sleep.

I expressed this to Jeff and asked if there was anything he would recommend. After the course was over and the other attendees departed, we began working together to get me to “relax”. After we performed the RPR I had an indescribable feeling. My body felt strange and different- not what I would call “normal”. Everything from my vision to my breathing felt and was different than before. Even as I walked around, I noticed a change. I had been sweating all day and suddenly was cold. I couldn’t express the way I was feeling and even now I would say it was a sort of out of body feeling. Jeff and I exchanged contact information and he told me to let him know how I felt the next day.

When I got back to my hotel room, I FaceTimed my wife to tell her about my experience. I still couldn’t put into words what I felt or was feeling but as we talked, I started to feel tired. My wife is usually the early bird in bed by 9 pm and I never could sleep that early so I would stay up until I got tired around 1 to 2 am and be up again at 4 or 5 am. That night, I fell asleep on the phone with her at 8 pm and I slept for 11 straight, undisturbed hours. My only reason for wakening was the sound of laughter in the hotel hallway. But I wasn’t even mad. I felt more rested than I could remember in a long time.

That night’s rest seemed too good to be true so I began to “test” this reset. I would try sleeping without performing RPR on occasion to make sure it wasn’t something else. Each of the nights I didn’t do RPR before bed I wouldn’t be able to sleep a whole night and was back to sleeping my usual two to three hours. Yet, when I did RPR I would sleep through the night. Now, every night I do RPR before bed and my sleep has vastly improved.

Knowing and seeing the improved quality of life for myself has made me a firm believer in the benefits of RPR. My wife uses it as well and has found her Fibromyalgia pains to have lessened. The benefits it has given us has made me a huge advocate of its use. As a strength coach, I strive to make my athletes better not just physically but mentally as well. I’ve used it on my NFL, CFL, and NCAA athletes and they have shared the same experience as me. They have seen positive improvements in their training, performance, and recovery. Now I’m not saying it’s a cure all, but RPR is certainly a great tool for everyday use and for athlete performance. I can honestly say that it has changed mine and my athlete’s quality of life and I’m thankful for Jeff and the rest of the staff for sharing their knowledge with me.


Mike Bequette B.S. CSCS, RPR Level II

My 1-2-3 Moment: Jesse Ohliger

Jesse is a former NFL player and the inventor of The Breath Belt. He has trained thousands of developing kickers and punters over the past 18 years from high school to professional level. He is passionate about Injury Prevention and helping the public make the connection between optimal hip function and breath mechanics. You can follow him on Instagram. You can also pick up a Breath Belt directly from RPR here!

How I Found RPR

I first heard about RPR by going down a podcast rabbit hole!

In December 2017, I was listening to the Barbell Shrugged Podcast where Cal Dietz was being interviewed on Triphasic Training. During the interview he mentioned the prone hip extension test for his athletes, which I kept rewinding because I was so excited that a high level coach in S&C was actually talking about it! Among physical therapists, glute firing pattern issues have been a subject of conversation for decades. But in my experience, NO ONE was ever talking about it in Strength & Conditioning. I had kept coming back to the glute firing pattern over the years with my athletes, but kept hitting a brick wall as it wasn't a "sexy" topic in the S&C community. I sent Cal a message immediately and he was kind enough to respond. At the bottom of his message, he left bunch of videos about RPR for me to check out. As soon as I watched those RPR videos it made perfect sense. I was hooked and couldn't wait to learn more. I went up to go see him in Minneapolis soon as I could!

As an NFL kicker whose career had been cut short by an injury and whose life was turning into a battle with hip and low back pain - which all show up when people have a suboptimal glute firing pattern - I set a goal to create a tool that would get me out of pain. At that point, I’d spent five years diving really deep into breath mechanics building on the work of Brian MacKenzie from Power Speed Endurance. In early 2017, I tied the threads together that if I could create a tool that helped both hip stability and breath mechanics I could get myself out of pain and help my developing athletes avoid the position I was in. This is such a common occurrence for kickers and punters that I needed to get it together as soon as possible. And The Breath Belt was born!

Of course, a tool is only useful in the hands of someone who knows how to use it. While we were testing out prototypes of The Breath Belt, I was using it as a tool to coach people, both in-person and online, into better patterns. Prior to RPR, I thought the strategies I was teaching were efficient to keep people in top form through a practice or a game, but I realized two things IMMEDIATELY in the clinic: my strategies had a lot of holes and it wasn’t a system that was repeatable across athletes or environments. One thing Cal said a couple times during the clinic that stuck with me: “we’re all doing the best we can with the information that’s available to us.” In that clinic, there was a bunch of new information that became available. And by using it, my best got better.

The Light Bulb

From the moment I arrived at the Velocity Training Center and met the other RPR attendees, even before the clinic started, I was impressed. I was surrounded by fellow professional athletes, chiropractors, physical therapists, NFL strength coaches, and athletic trainers. It was clear that everyone there was looking to go deeper so they could be better. For the first time in years, I felt comfortable at a clinic like this because this was the missing piece I have been looking for years in my movement education. I knew I was home.

I would have to say my 'ah-ha moment' came at the end of the clinic. Through the clinic, I was feeling really good about all the education and pattern tests and was already locked in on how to implement with my athletes. A couple times during the day, Cal had hinted towards some of the additional things we would learn in Level Two - especially around vision and some things he’d found with concussions. We all stuck around for a little preview. Cal asked for volunteers and really nice college athlete I had worked with during the clinic went to the front of the room.

This athlete had a number of concussions from soccer and had been in a recent car crash. He was having a lot of trouble with headaches and eyesight which were discouraging him. And then … something amazing happened. Cal was testing his vision field and found a point in his eyesight that he had been protective of (it may have been the same angle that the collision had come from). Cal had him work through a few of the wake up drills while focusing on that point. During the retest, I had a close view of the changes that occurred. Even though he was standing in place, I noticed an immediate improvement in his hip and shoulder position. His face and hands had flushed from the lymphatic response. It literally looked like a weight was taken off his shoulders and tears were showing. That was the moment right there for me. Anyone who coaches knows they make a tremendous impact on their athletes, but once in a blue moon a coach makes an impact that is immediately embedded in the athletes psyche. Those are the kind of moments I coach for and my psyche was forever impacted when I saw that.

What I Did Next

IMG_2634.jpg

When I returned home I was immediately ready to put this to work. I am fortunate to have high level athletes come to see me in Miami weekly in the offseason, so I knew I had lots of bodies to work on for practice. Without a hitch, the tests worked great on everyone and exposed hints of compensation my old system had missed. I could then teach someone exactly what to do to overcome this compensation!

For those select few who I wasn't experienced enough to identify, we just went through the drills again to see if we could force a change. This showed me just how different each athlete is. One athlete’s erectors fired up when he worked on his calf points. Another's QL completely changed the way his opposite foot hit the ground. I’d say about 90% of the clients I work with are pretty straightforward and RPR really helped both me and the athlete understand the story of how his or her body may have been compensating for a specific movement. As an athlete, you can quickly bond with and trust a coach who helps you make that connection. As a coach, that athlete who knows how to affect change in themselves is going to go out into the world and send more people my way.

His calf before

His calf before

So if 90% are pretty straightforward, the 10% that aren’t typically have crazy background stories. A great example of this is an athlete I had trained for 8 months prior to introducing them to RPR. He was very explosive but had an imbalance in the way he pushed off his kicking foot. His hip extension pattern was correct, and I had given him many foot, ankle and calf mobilizations to work on. The athlete continued to complain about the issue that was appearing to get worse. Taking one of the keys from RPR that you can’t fix a neurological issue with a movement strategy, when I got back from Cal’s, I taught him RPR. He’d gone through the wake up drills on his own, but had a hard time finding anything in the calf and asked me to help. As soon as I put my fingers on that point, he practically screamed in pain. I understood his pain tolerance and was confident enough in our relationship to know there was something deeper going on. As he calmed down asked him to sit up and we talked a bit. It turns out, when he was a six or seven, he tried to slide under a security fence while playing with friends. He didn't make it all the way through and the end of the wiring had sliced a thin but very deep 'S' scar at the bottom of his calf. He said he was too afraid to tell his parents about it at the time and was hiding a limp from them for a few months. He’s in college now, and still felt ashamed about it. Obviously, I’m a coach not a therapist, but I could tell it was good for him to get this off his chest.

His calf after. Magic!

His calf after. Magic!

The next day I set him up for soft tissue work with a chiropractor friend of mine. After that session and few one-on-one RPR sessions over the next week, the pain from deep scar on his calf, and the mobility restrictions that came with it, vanished and hasn't come back since. Thanks to RPR, I was able to make a real deep connection with this athlete. More importantly, it helped him deal with something he’d pushed back into a memory vault and was holding his performance back. There is no telling how a traumatic emotional or physical experience can affect an athlete years down the road. I’m not saying that coaches should look for these things, but as anyone who’s worked with people in private environments knows, the coach-athlete relationship is a big part of an athlete’s life and we need to treat that with the highest respect.

This is one of the biggest reasons why I believe RPR is so effective. It's a catalyst for any athlete to understand that they can’t separate their performance, mindset, or nervous system. With my athletes there is always a physical compensation that we’re trying to solve, but more often than you think it’s attached to an emotion or feeling about that experience or memory. With RPR, the athlete is able to process that history and unlock their potential.

Jesse Ohliger

RPR (L2)

My 1-2-3 Moment: Angi McRobbie

Angi is the owner of Dynamic Sports Massage Recovery. Based in Cleveland, she works with athletes of all stripes - from youth to professionals. She’s passionate about Ohio State, the Indians, and most of all the Browns. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.


I first heard about RPR from a massage client of mine. Completely honesty, my first response was that I had no idea what he was talking about but it didn’t sound like something for me and dismissed it. Then he comes back after going to a Level 1 clinic and says that it’s amazing and it works. He says that he can’t really explain how it works, but that I just need to feel it. Not ready to jump in, but impressed by how excited he is, I decide to look further into the RPR thing.

After reading about it on the website, it seemed interesting but I’m a massage therapist and this looks like it’s focused more on strength coaches and trainers getting their athletes ready for game day or events. I don’t know how it fits into what I’m doing but, going back and forth about it, I decide to go to Indiana for a Level 1 clinic with Chris Korfist. I figure it’s pretty simple - if I learn something, awesome. If not, well, it wasn’t too expensive.


In the clinic, it started to make sense, we’re going through the Wake Up Drills and I think back to a conversation I had with one of my clients who’s on the Cleveland Browns. We were talking about glute function and how the psoas effects that and he told me, “Ang, when I was in Jacksonville, they showed me this thing on the back of my head and jaw and I felt like I could run forever.” He couldn’t remember what it was called but as soon as Chris showed us the glute wake up drill, I realized: this was it!

At the end of the Level 1, I knew there was something to it but I still wasn’t sure how it was going to fit into my massage practice. One thing I’ve learned is that when something’s fresh, you just have to start using it, so I show a few of my clients the Wake Up drills and they think it’s magic - they feel awesome and, well, it makes my job as a massage therapist easier. They ask me why it works and it’s still fuzzy for me, so I know what I have to do - I go to Columbus for a Level 2 clinic hosted by JL.

Here’s where my 1-2-3 moment happens. We’re partnered up doing the compensation pattern tests and my partner and I are having a really hard time finding my stability. We thinking we’re doing something wrong, so we call JL over, thinking we just missed something simple. He does the tests on me and then asks if I’ll come to the front because he wants to use me as an example. Sure - why not?

“Here is a perfect example of a zero,” says JL. You can guess how I felt right then. JL goes on to explain that someone who has no neurological base of stability is a zero. “I don’t know her and I have no idea what’s going on in her life, but her sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive.”

I’m standing there, feeling like I’m naked in front of a room full of strangers, and this guy is telling everyone about me. He was right, by the way, I had a lot of stress going on in my life. All I wanted to do was sit down.

When we break for lunch, I go up to talk to him one-on-one. He asks if we can talk about what I have going on. I wanted to say no and run away but instead I looked at him and said, “Everything you said is no surprise at all to me. I just left a job that I loved. I was stressed about what people thought of me - my coworkers, and my clients. I had just started a business, which obviously brought a lot of pressure and stress. And I was dealing with it by ignoring it and just pushing forward - just plugging along.”

JL says this to me, and it really changed my perspective: “Pretending the stress isn’t there isn’t doing any good to you. And if you’re not doing right by yourself, you can’t do right for your clients.” Now, he’s telling me this because of how I tested? I feel myself getting emotional, and honestly just wanted to get out of this conversation and go home - I came here for some muscle testing stuff to help my athletes and now I’m having a therapy session? What is this?!

For the rest of the clinic, I was kind of in my own head. “How can I help myself get out of this spot?” “How can I fix this?” But as the day went on, I started to feel better. I got stronger, we did some really awesome stuff with vision and color. I went home that night resolved that I was going to take control of my 1-2-3. I was going to get my 1 in line so I could be better in 2 and then 3.

So what did I do? I started doing RPR every day (really just Zone 1). I started working out again. I did meditative yoga to give my brain a rest. I started journaling. I started taking time through the day to simply breathe and focus on that. And I can honestly say that I have never felt better.

That day gave me the confidence to really bring RPR into my life, and then into my practice. My practice has always been about educating my clients, and RPR fits right into that. And it’s not just my athletes who love it (and they do), but my regular everyday clients are seeing such success with it that they use it first whenever something comes up.

That day showed me that RPR truly is a game-changer. Not to sound dramatic, but RPR really did change my life and helped me learn how to thrive in my body. I’ve said it before and will say it again (I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face!): RPR was one of the most influential clinics I’ve ever been to and the 1-2-3 lens is something that I try to bring to every one of my clients.

B Briefly on Breathing

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.