In this day and age of cutting-edge technology, personal training, and nutrition plans to improve performance, there is one simple exercise that can make a significant difference for an athlete: breathing. “I think a relationship with your breath is definitely going to enhance your athletic performance,” surfing legend, Laird Hamilton, told Outside magazine. Hamilton, who founded XPT (Extreme Performance Training) understands the importance of honing your technique.
“Being able to control your breath is not only integral to high performance in the pool, on the water, at the gym, but in every area of your life.”
He adopted and implemented the breathing techniques of Wim Hof, a 57-year-old fitness guru from Holland. The breathing exercises and techniques can be executed quickly and “will improve cognitive abilities and capacity to handle stress and the everyday issues we all encounter.”
Here’s the plan:
- Lie on the ground or sit with your back straight.
- Inhale deeply, pulling in as much air as you can using your diaphragm.
- Exhale fully but not forcefully; simply let the breath go.
- Repeat inhales and exhales for 30 to 40 rounds with your own rhythm.
- On the last round, exhale and then hold your breath until your body feels the need to breathe.
- Inhale deeply, then hold your breath for ten seconds.
- Repeat steps 3-6 for three or four rounds.
- After your final round, hop in a cold bathtub. On your first try, stay underwater for 30 seconds, then gradually increase it until you reach three to five minutes.
According to the XTP site, “with just a few minutes a day of conscious breathwork, you can access the physical, mental, and emotional states you want or need, while also having a simple, portable tool to get you out of undesirable ones.”
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