Last week, I talked about Foundational Breathing. If you're just getting into fitness or returning to fitness postpartum, this is a great place to start. Foundational Breathing will help you learn to connect mind to body and breath to movement. However, once this has been mastered, you can move on to Concentric Breathing.
What is Concentric Breathing?
This form of breathing is when you exhale during the "working" part of the exercise. For example, if you are doing a squat, you would inhale on the way down and exhale while at the bottom and while pushing back up to the standing position. Exhaling during the most difficult part of the movement increases core engagement and stabilizes your body, which is what you want as you become more advanced ind your fitness regimen.
How is Concentric Breathing Different from Foundational Breathing?
With Foundational Breathing, you begin exhaling at the beginning of a movement and exhale all the way through. With Concentric Breathing, you can inhale at the start and then exhale during the working part of the movement. Once your mind-body connection has been established, your breathing can become more automatic; which is when Concentric Breathing can be implemented. Once you've established a baseline for your fitness, you will want to start doing more reps and/or moving more weight. Eventually, Concentric Breathing won't be something that you have to focus on to perform a movement.
The length of time that you'll exercise using Foundational Breathing will vary for every individual. It could be weeks or months, but you need to use that until you're comfortable with your mind-body connection and feel that you're core is being properly engaged in movement. That's when you can begin working on Concentric Breathing and automating your breath during workouts.