Breathing….. if you are living right now then a congratulations is in order i suppose. I mean it’s usually something we do automatically without a lot of thought to how or why we breath right?
Well to be honest it’s not something i’ve put a lot of thought into myself until the last couple years that is. So i wouldn’t call myself an expert at it, oh other than successfully doing it for my whole life just like you.
However there are certain methods of breathing that we can benefit from both mentally and physically better than others.
As a golf coach I am fortunate to have gotten to know different experts in different fields of sports and human performance around the world.
Luckily these experts have influenced me both with their knowledge but also with their inspiration to share their knowledge which inspires me to dive down different rabbit holes of information to learn more about their understandings.
This weeks FREE weekly tips from the Golfers Handbook dives down the rabbit hole of breathing.
But before we get to the exciting stuff, let’s start with a few interesting facts about breathing directly from our good friends at wikipedia:
“Breathing is the process that moves air in and out of the lungs, or oxygen through other breathing organs such as gills. For organisms with lungs, breathing is also called ventilation, which includes both inhalation and exhalation. Breathing is one part of physiological respiration required to sustain life. Aerobic organisms of birds, mammals, and reptiles—require oxygen to release energy via cellular respiration, in the form of the metabolism of energy-rich molecules such as glucose. Breathing is only one of the processes that deliver oxygen to where it is needed in the body and remove carbon dioxide. Another important process involves the movement of blood by the circulatory system. Gas exchange occurs in the pulmonary alveoli by passive diffusion of gases between the alveolar gas and the blood in lung capillaries. Once these dissolved gases are in the blood, the heart powers their flow around the body (via the circulatory system). The medical term for normal relaxed breathing is eupnea.
In addition to removing carbon dioxide, breathing results in loss of water from the body. Exhaled air has a relative humidity of 100% because of water diffusing across the moist surface of breathing passages and alveoli. When a person exhales into very cold outdoor air, the moisture-laden atmosphere from the lungs becomes chilled to the point where the water condenses into a fog, making the exhale visible.”
Okay, now we understand a little more why we need to breath, so let’s get more into how we can benefit from improved breathing techniques.
Breathing is one of the most underrated forms of exercise, but we all do it 20,000 times a day. When done correctly breathing can activate and strengthen the postural muscles in our body to help us live better and perform better. Therefore Breathing correctly can have huge benefits to rehabilitation of injury’s and sports performance. The worlds best golfer Jack Nicklaus suffered with backpain for many years before finding correct breathing methods and he credits this to Egoscue University. Egoscue university is a learning institute for postural breathing that has made huge advances in the importance of how breathing can effect our quality of life. I have attached a link to an interview from the 18strong podcast with Brian Bradley from Egoscue university that is dripping with nuggets of information about breathing techniques and I recommend you listen to it.
So what is proper breathing then, well there are two styles of breathing. Upper chest breathing and lower diaphragmatic breathing. In order to breath into our diaphragm our ribcage needs to externally and internally rotate.
The diaphragm is the king of the core- Dana Santas and if the diaphragm does not function properly you will not only have a difficult time breathing but you will have poor posture. Poor posture equals poor activation of the core muscles. The diaphragm is attached to the lumbar spine(lower back) your pelvis muscles(psoas) and also attaches to your ribcage. So if you don’t use your diaphragm as a functional respiratory muscle then it will actually cause dysfunction in your postural muscles causing poor posture which will lead to over exertion and muscle imbalances which will eventually lead to injury and lack of performance.
Breathing correctly is much more than just maximizing your physical potential to performance, it can also give you a huge advantage mentally.
I've been trying to help my golfers find a relaxed state of mind, so that if they have a bad shot or a bad hole they’re able to accept this negative experience and get a hold of their emotions as quickly as possible so that it doesn’t spiral out of control and destroy the rest of their round. I’ve found that having them take some deep breaths really helps in this process. So earlier in the year while attending our PGA of Denmark summit i had the opportunity to talk with one of our guests Brian Hemmings after his presentation. Brian is a sport psychologist and has worked with numerous European tour players. We got to talking about breathing, and he also uses breathing techniques with his players but he takes it a degree further. He has them count to 4 while inhaling and then count to 8 on the exhale. He said that having them focus both on the breathing but also on counting helps them forget about the negative thoughts more effectively!
If you are like me and really want to learn more about breathing and how it can affect your performance then i'd highly recommend you listen to my friend and colleague Jason Glass on the Coach Glass Podcast episode number 55 and 77. see the link below.
Jason has these two great interviews with Brandon Marcello and Dana Santas, but if you are up for more knowledge pearls sign up for Jason's homepage on the Next level http://www.jasonglassperformancelab.com
Thank you all again for joining me on the free weekly tips and remember you need to exhale before you can inhale!
If you are interested in improving your golf game then be sure to check out my e-book. It is available on iTunes for only $9.95!
See you next week with more free weekly tips to improve your golfgame!
PGA Professional & TPI certified golffitness instructor
Author of: Golfers Handbook - Save your golfgame and your life!