Surfer Laird Hamilton recently wrote an article for Men’s Journal in which he shares his breathing practice.
Harnessing the breath
Laird finds it beneficial to boost his oxygen intake before, during and after a workout. He says his muscles are able then to push harder and longer. His breathing practice enables him to flood his blood with O2. As a result he says his training and swimming seem to take less effort.
Before a workout
Laird believes in “getting ahead of the demand curve” by taking quick breaths in beforehand. This, essentially, can be considered an inspiratory warm-up. And research has found that a standard pre-exercise warm-up fails to prepare the inspiratory muscles for the rigours of exercise. In fact a scientific trial (on competitive rowers) showed that an Inspiratory Muscle Training warm-up significantly improved (rowing) performance and reduced breathlessness.
During a workout
Laird also ‘feeds his muscles’ with O2 during a workout with deep inhales to fuel his muscles. Daily Inspiratory Muscle Training will help to do this because it exercises the inspiratory muscles to improve their strength and stamina and reduce fatigue.
For a faster recovery
Finally, by repeating his breathing practice after a workout Laird feels he speeds up his recovery. And this too is borne out in research which showed that Inspiratory Muscle Training reduced lactate concentrations at equivalent intensities of exercise.
So surfing legend Laird Hamilton is certainly on to something.