Before each workout, you’ll find our Valeoians doing a warm up called RAMP (Range of Motion, Activation, Muscle Prep) to prepare their bodies for movement and load. Before they even enter into RAMP, however, we have them perform “Breathing Resets” – and we recommend it for you, too! Breathing resets are inhalations and exhalations that serve two purposes:
1. To mentally prepare you for exercise by calming you and helping remove any stressors you may have been experiencing before you came into the gym. Breathing exercises force the mind to focus on not much more than the in-out pattern we’re looking for. It is an excellent time to visualize success in your workout ahead and become more in-tune with your breathing rhythms, both during the warm-up and the upcoming strenuous lifting.
2. To physically prepare you for exercise by resetting your autonomic nervous system (the one that controls your involuntary or unconscious processes like breathing, heart rate, etc). Intentional, slow inhalations and exhalations connect the mind and body, increase blood flow to the lungs and that oxygen-rich blood is then pumped to the rest of the body, ready to help you perform.
Here are some examples of Breathing Reset Exercises:
1. Supine Breathing Drill: place hands on your chest and stomach. As you inhale through your nose, your stomach should rise – not your chest (any other anxious/shallow breathers out there, like me, struggle with this?!). As you exhale through your mouth, gently depress your stomach toward your spine and out 360 degrees. That is, imagine ‘filling’ or ‘pressing’ the air down, sideways and all-around.
2. Child’s Pose: this is a calming and great way to both start and end a workout session with breathing awareness.
3. Prone Crocodile Breathing Drill: use the same inhale-exhale cues as the Supine Drill – and if you can do this one as you bask in the 2pm sunshine like I did regularly in the old space, bonus points. 🙂
Try these one of these drills with 5 slow in-and-out breaths before your next workout and see how it affects you mentally and physically!
Jess + Team Valeo