BURPEES – LOVE THEM. HATE THEM. DO THEM.
The quality of our performances always depend on our fitness level. No turn around here. If we live a sedentary life with unhealthy nutrition we can’t expect miracles to happen. Our performances reflect our routines. When we adopt a healthy sporty life we will immediately see lots of progress in the quality of our life, in our mood, even in our efficiency on tasks other than sport. Yes, we are always improving. In GOLIAZ HIIT we can see the differences since day 1. Most of us almost puked on our first long and intense Workout. But after that shocking moment we can feel the taste of progress a little bit every day. The will to succeed is fundamental.
As time goes by our ego grows, we become more competitive not only with ourselves but with others. We want to compete, we want to defy that phantom of aging and keep progressing more and more every day.
Not being natural born athletes and far from being one we still want to improve our performances so we can get better and better. On our way to finding a “better us” we will meet many obstacles. One of the most common is… breathing.
Why such a natural thing as inhaling and exhaling, something that we learn immediately after we are born, can become such an important issue on our progress to betterment? It can and it is.
Our body is at the same time so complex yet so simple. No, we cannot reduce all to math. We cannot just say that a certain amount of oxygen in each inhale optimizes our breathing process. It is not so simple. Besides that we are all different. Something that works for me may not work for you and vice versa. But there are some rules and tips that are commonly accepted as correct. I will share with you my view about it.
OUR FRIENDS THE BURPEES
I guess every Goliaz Athlete trend finds the Burpees as the most complete exercise of all. We tend to develop at first a HATE/ LOVE relation with these guys. But after a while LOVE overcomes HATE and we start to see them as our friends. The kind of friends that demand too much from us, yes. But still our loyal friends. Even if we don’t like them too much there is no turn around, they are everywhere… Caliban, Pandora, Cyllene or Ceres…
Many times one subject comes up: how should we breathe in Burpees? Well, I have 6 breathing moments in burpees which I think it is the best approach. Maybe not when you just want to get a PB on ten speedy burpees but when you are facing a 20 to 40 minutes workout believe me you want to get your breathing right. Ok, so I count 6 breathing moments as I inhale 3 times and forcely I exhale 3 times as well.
THE BURPEES 6 BREATHING MOMENTS FOR LONG WORKOUTS
Lets start for the initial position when you are standing up. You know those athletes that do vertical jumps or pole vault in the Olympic Games? Before they start their run what do they do? Yes, they take a deep breath. I do the same in Burpees. I call it the reset breathing. It’s like the zero position, the starting point. Then as I put my hands down and throw my legs to plank position I inhale again. This inhale happens during the whole movement from standup position to plank position. As I press down into a pushup I throw all the air away. Feels nice to get rid of all that carbon dioxide. As I move upward in the pushup position I will inhale allowing me to exhale all the air as I jump up. When I am again at standup position I am ready to start my second burpeee. And to do so I will repeat my reset breathing and so on… Though I define very specific breathing moments here it does not mean that a burpee should be something too mechanic. No, it must be a fluid movement. By keeping it fluid your muscles will request less oxygen as they are not so stiff. To make it more clear as I bet we all love to dance I’d say we should avoid a tango Burpee and try to perform a kizomba Burpee. Let’s keep it smooth.
So let’s resume the 6 Breathing moments:
– 1st Moment – Inhale at the reset breathing;
– 2nd Moment – Exhale at the reset breathing;
– 3rd Moment – Inhale from standup position to plank position;
– 4th Moment – Exhale from plank position until your chest touches the floor;
– 5th Moment – Inhale when returning to plank position;
– 6th Moment – Exhale from plank position until you end the jump and return to standup position
By putting it like this it sounds easy right? Well you may have a hard time on performing these paced moments. Maybe you will need to practice a little with a lower pace than the one you normally use. After you get into it you still need to make it smooth, as fluid as you can as to delay your muscles from reaching an exhaustion point. By dividing your burpees breathing in 6 moments you will be leveling the amount of oxygen that your cardiovascular and muscular system requires. This would be the way as to go for 100 Burpees or more with great pace. But what if instead of a long set of Burpees you want to do less but more explosive?
THE BURPEES 4 BREATHING MOMENTS FOR INTENSE SHORT WORKOUTS
Well, if you want to go speedy you will want to skip the 2 first breathing moments, the reset inhale and exhale.
Moments for real speedy Burpees would be:
– 1st Moment – Inhale from standup position to plank position;
– 2nd Moment – Exhale from plank position until your chest touches the floor;
– 3rd Moment – Inhale when returning to plank position;
– 4th Moment – Exhale from plank position until you end the jump and return to standup position
All good. Eather way you are feeding both your muscles and your lungs with a regular volume of oxygen… Wait, I said lungs? Hmm nope. Let’s try something new here.
LUNGS BREATHING vs DIAPHRAGMA BREATHING
Some of us may only notice that we have this big muscle called diaphragm sitting in our chest the moment when we have hiccups. These are simply spasms in our diaphragm. Ok, so now just close your eyes. Wait, read this before and close your eyes after ok? Well, you will try to take a deep breathe using your lungs. So just inhale the maximum oxygen you can. You can feel your chest being pumped up right? Ok, exhale. Now do the following… Take a deep breath again but send all that air now into your stomach. What part of your body was pumped up now? I’d say you felt like you have eaten a big big meal… I wonder how strange you feel now. How come breathing through your abdomen makes you feel like you pumped more air inside you than if you sent the air to your lungs?
Let’s try something different now. First read and then close your eyes and try this. Repeat the process again. First inhale to your lungs all the oxygen you can. Now take all the carbon dioxide as fast as you can out of your body. Ok, now repeat the process by sendind the oxygen to your abdomen. Did you inhale all the air in the world?? Great. Now spit all the air away as fast as you can. I bet I know what you are thinking. If inhaling through your abdomen felt great, exhaling felt even better. It is by far a more powerful exhale when it comes out of your abdomen, rather than your lungs.
In practical terms what does this mean? It means that by breathing through your diaphragm the volume of oxygen that your body receives is higher with obvious results on your performances. If oxygen gets inside you easier and in an higher volume to your muscles you will delay more and more your exhaustion point.
So, from now on try to focus your burpees breathing not only in the 6 moments breathing but also in breathing through your diaphragm.
NOSE vs MOUTH
Also, a commonly asked questions is weather we should breathe through our nose or through our mouth. The answer is simple: just go with whatever suits you best. If you are comfortable with the way you presently do it no point in changing. Keep the air flowing…
Let it all flow… Now you can fly!