Top breathing exercises for swimmers

The sport of swimming involves your head being submerged in water most of the time so it is important to gain the correct swimming balance.  The majority of swimmers put a lot of concentration, practice, focus and effort into improving their swimming style. However, if the basic breathing techniques are not being followed all this effort goes to waste and what happens is the swimming stroke will lose its smoothness. It is essential that anyone who swims professionally or swims to get fit follows the correct breathing techniques and exercises.  Initially at the beginning it may be challenging to focus on breathing and executing the swimming stroke, but with practice the difference will soon be noticeable.

How to improve swimming breathing techniques

Focusing on two things at once can be difficult – ensuring the stroke is being performed correctly and ensuring the right swimming breathing technique of inhaling and exhaling is being followed. Initially, always start off with a basic practice swimming routine. This way the chances of inhaling water are minimal.  A very simple breathing exercise that can be performed by dipping your head in a large or medium mixing bowl filled with water.  Placing a mirror at the bottom of the water-filled bowl will ensure better results.

The steps below will ensure you perfect your breathing technique:

  • First dip your chin in the bowl and practice swimming breathing nose inhaling, mouth exhaling and see how your breath ruffles the surface of water.
  • After about 30 seconds, touch your lips & nose to the surface and try to inhale through the small amount of space at both the corners of the mouth. A blotting effect should be seen (in the mirror) where the lips and nose touch the water.
  • After another one minute, you need to lower the rest of your face into the bowl. Keep your mouth open underwater, but do not exhale. The natural air pressure in your mouth will prevent the water from entering your nose and mouth.
  • When you next lift your face out of the water, you should be able to inhale from the nose easily.
  • Repeat these exercises and gradually make an attempt to inhale from your nose, while the tip of your nose still touches the water.

It won’t be long before you master this technique. As soon as you are used to breathing with the mixing bowl, you can then progress to a shallow pool where you can submerge your head in deeper water.

Breathing exercises for swimmers are considered a primary part of their training because breathing in a rhythm means more stamina. If you are able to inhale more air then you can get more oxygen in every breath and breathing in a rhythm will let you swim for a long time before you are winded out.

 

Breathing techniques and exercises that won’t ruin your voice

voice-exercisesNot everyone knows this, but if you don’t know the correct breathing techniques when singing you can seriously damage your voice and your health. Knowing how to breathe properly and knowing the right vocal exercises can improve your singing.

Anyone who likes to sing – be it in the shower or as a professional will know that singing is based on breath.  The number one rule any singer needs to know is if they want to sing properly then they need to adopt the correct breathing techniques and vocal exercises otherwise they will run into serious problems that could ruin their singing voice permanently.

Music teachers everywhere are always debating what the correct breathing techniques are for singers. There is more than one vocal exercise and breathing technique that is taught across the world and because of this it makes it extremely difficult to tell which breathing techniques are good for your voice and which breathing exercises can ruin your voice.

It is easy to distinguish which breathing exercises and techniques are bad for your voice – bad breathing exercises and vocal exercises will make your throat hurt and feel extremely tight while you are singing. If your breathing technique is incorrect and you start singing you will have a feeling of tension building up in your throat and you will have difficulty projecting your voice. What this results in is un-necessary strain being placed on your vocal cords.

Placing un-necessary tension on your vocal cords and forcing your voice to sing will cause you extreme harm as well as plenty of problems including:

  • Shortness of breath while singing
  • A vocal sound that sounds powerless and weak
  • The inability to reach high notes.

To be able to sing correctly it is not that difficult to learn the correct breathing exercises and vocal exercises. Once you learn the correct process it will be a piece of cake.

Remember the three golden rules and your singing will be perfect, ensure:

  • You are taught the correct way on taking controlled breaths
  • You know how to support that breath; and
  • You know how to keep your throat open and relaxed while doing it.

Phil Bradbury – my breathing seems significantly easier (week 9)

I have just completed week 9 with the Powerbreathe.
 
This week I have moved up to level 5.5 and still doing my 10 breaths at half load, 30 at full load and finishing with 10 at half load.
 
In December I generally start to feel very tight in my chest when under exercise stress and this does affect my cycling as I struggle to get enough breath in.
 
I hope I am not tempting fate here, for the first time I can remember this year my breathing is significantly easier and this makes exercise much more productive.
 
If this continues I will consider using the Powerbreathe has been a success for me.
 
Phil Bradbury

Last man standing – any coincidence

ColinFestive greetings,

Apologies it’s been a while, I have been rather busy with the usual things in life (NVQ, Youth Work, Kickboxing, General Fitness training, Fund raising, meetings, my regular full time job and of course family life).

The good news is I have almost completed my NVQ  and I have now broken up from Youth Club for Christmas so have my evenings back and have taken a little time out from Kickboxing over Christmas.

 

Over the last few weeks I have been training hard and raising funds for Cancer Research UK for my friend Matt and his family and along the way I have had Powerbreathe on my side.

I have been experimenting with the settings of the Powerbreathe and increased the resistance to give my lungs a great work out. One thing I have noticed while everyone around me appears to be suffering from the winter colds and viruses (this is normally a time when my asthma kicks in full force), I am still going strong. I have managed to keep away all the sniffles and grogginess associated and I’m feeling fitter than ever at the moment (a coincidence?).

Over the last 6 weeks I have also been putting in 110% into my training and also raising money for my friend with sponsored swims and other fitness activities, I have managed to drop 5% body fat in this time and also add 3lbs of raw muscle.

I also have another promotional shoot coming up as some of the last pictures  that were taken didn’t go as planned and my promoter/sponsor was not happy with them! They have agreed that I can do some with my Powerbreathe shirt on and that I am able to tag them and pass them onto yourselves for promotional usage.

Powerbreathe training – I’m still using mine twice per day at the moment (morning and evening), and for 30 breaths each, I slowly increase the resistance over the days for 1 week then go back to the beginning, I feel that this is giving my lungs a progressive work out and as I change the intensity it keeps the workouts interesting.

I have also been planning a new exercise routine for next year and my Powerbreathe training forms a big part to this. So I will be looking to get the most benefit from this breathing training.

I have been reading the journals on Facebook and have been keeping up with most of the Powerbreathe news. Now I have my evenings back to myself again I will be making more contributions.

Hope you are all well over at Powerbreathe Towers? And wish you a very Merry Christmas.

With Love

Colin

Mike Wrenn – In rowing, any improvement in breathing efficiency would be beneficial

I’ve used the Powerbreathe regularly over the past month or so but only in the evenings.  I found it quite convenient to use late at night but somehow life has been too hectic once I get out of bed.  Following a chat with Eddie Fletcher last Saturday at Cardiff (he emphasised the importance of using it twice a day for the first 30 days), I’ve improved matters a little.  I now take the Powerbreathe to work with me when I do my part-time teaching and fit in using it during a morning coffee break.

It’s difficult to determine whether or not it is proving any benefit, as I was already very fit (10 British age group records set this year) before I started to use it. 

It does make sense to me that in the sport of rowing where the chest is compressed for much of the time any improvement to breathing intake efficiency would be very beneficial.  Being forced to breathe deeply and powerfully for thirty breaths does seem to be a useful exercise.  I’ll continue using the Powerbreathe, and twice a day whenever possible.

Regards,

Mike Wrenn

Phil Bradbury – I’m concentrating on getting fuller breaths (week 8)

I have just completed week 8 with the Powerbreathe.
 
This week still working at level 5 with my 10 breaths at half load, 30 at full load and 10 at half load routine.
 
I could probably move the level up a little but I think for me it is more beneficial to concentrate on getting fuller breaths at the current level than shallow breaths at a higher level.

POWERbreathe user trial – Jen Howse: It has arrived

Jen-Howse-RowingWell, my POWERbreathe has now arrived and I look forward to using it.

I’m going to be blogging in the lead up to the CRASH-B sprints in Boston in February 2012. So a bit of background on me.

I’m a rower who competes both on the water and indoors on the Concept 2 rowing machine, otherwise known as the erg (or by various other terms not suitable for publication!). I also do some running as cross training and dabble in cycling just for good measure.

So what is the CRASH-BS? Every year in February rowers descend on Boston to compete over 2000m – the length of an Olympic regatta. There are categories covering all ages – I believe the oldest was 93. The top heavyweight men cover the distance in just under 6 minutes and the top heavy weight women in just less than 7 minutes. And it’s a very painful 7 minutes!

I went for the first time in 2010 and managed to come 4th in the 30-39 heavyweight category in 7:22.2, around 16 seconds behind the winner of the category. As an asthmatic I found that the atmosphere in the arena was very difficult and I’m hoping that training with POWERbreathe will help with that. I’m aiming to change category this year and switch to the 30-39 lightweight category. I’ve done a 2k test to get a starting mark in build up. The next step in training is to begin to use the POWERbreathe. The next test is the British Online Rowing Championship at the end of November.

I’ll be reporting back on how I find the POWERbreathe and how training is going.

 

Powerbreathe Training Videos: Lewin Hynes – POWERbreathe Catch Drills using Dumbells

Lewin Hynes - Powerbreathe Catch Drills
Hi, here is a quick video to demonstrate using the Powerbreathe for rowing specific training. This video demonstrates catch drills.

The catch is the position at the front end of the rowing stroke, with your body curled into a ball. It is difficult and strenuous to take a full breath in this position for most people, so we are going to train to overcome that weakness by adopting the catch position, using dumb bells and performing Powerbreathe inhalations.

We perform five inhalations in the catch position before take a full rowing stroke (exhaling on the drive, power-inhaling on the recovery) or performing a dumb bell deadlift. Perform that cycle five times at your full Powerbreathe resistance setting or as close as you can get to give you a classic 30 inhalation set.

Thanks to Lewin Hynes for submitting this one. If you found this video helpful then please leave a comment below and tell us how you use your POWERbreathe when doing indoor rowing training.

Mark Racher – Week 2 and up a level on POWERbreathe

Well this week I had set my POWERbreathe at level 3 and I noticed the extra resistance right away ouch!!!! But I know that is working already

I have stuck to the 2×20 as I’m finding by the end I can’t do anymore at that level 3. I also have been doing one set before any workout I do at level 2 of 20 breaths as I’m finding this helps me in the sessions especially on the bike when I’m doing my base endurance sessions on the turbo.

I am really noticing the effect already out on the road when I’m running and on the bike when I’m attacking the hills were I used to get shortness of breath this any happening no more so things are looking up already .

I’m hoping to start using the POWERbreathe in the session as well next week at level 2 Were I will be showing you how You can integrate the POWERbreathe in your session so watch this space

Thanks

Mark Racher

Gus Mckechnie 50k bike challenge – Starting with the POWERbreathe

Gus McKechnie 50000 mile bike challengeOk at the moment I’m 21,000 miles into my 50,000 mile challenge and most of this is being done on the Red Funnel ferries.  I have also been using POWERbreathe products for the past six years.  This helps me with a couple of aspects.  First of all I have a form of cerebral palsy and the POWERbreathe helps keep the muscles activated and in general helps me breathe easier.

The other side is that it plays a role now in helping me warm up for my challenges.  I first used a green one in 2005.  When I was getting ready to row around the Isle of Wight (UK).  At that time I was doing it in memory of my brother and father.  My Brother had a genetic condition called Haemachromatosis and also hadn’t looked after his body.  I wanted to row in aid of a number of charities but also to raise awareness of the condition.

We set off from Warsash and rowed round in a way that hadn’t been done before by going around Bembridge first rather than the needles.  I continued by doing a number of other things including marathon rows on Concept 2 machines.  After completing one million metres in Cowes week 2007 I was ready to put the charity work behind me.

Then things started to take a turn for the worse.  Mum had been struggling with her digestion for most of the year.  It reached a period after Cowes week that year when she was so bloated she couldn’t eat anymore and had to go into hospital.  It become apparent this was more than a stomach bug.  Testing revealed by my birthday in September it was a form of cancer.  I made the hard decision to not take up a lucrative graduate position so I had the flexibility to take care of her.  A couple of weeks later it was confirmed as ovarian cancer and on the 12th October the cancer cause a heart attack whilst I was at home with her.

I then had an extended period when I was not exercising on a regular basis.  My cerebral palsy/hemiparesis got perceivably worse as a result as did my physical disability   This started to have a sometimes painful effect on my breathing.  To the point I once passed out in the loft of my mothers house and left myself with a painful bump on my head.

I got back to cycling on the ferry and eventually after originally deciding to ride just 25,000 miles on a bike I decided to ride 50,000 the same distance as twice around the equator.  It was going to be something that I would go into instantly and reel off miles and miles.  In order to help counter act the hemiparesis I need to get another powerbreathe.  The black version was available and I have started to get work with that.  With 30 breathes in the morning and 30 in the evening.

In the past five years I have also completed 9 running marathons (New York x5, London x2, Chicago xl and Brighton x1) and want to aim at my tenth one.  I have also entered the indoor rowing 2012 Crash Bs with a fried from Solent University and im hoping it will help play a role in that as well.  I look forward to blogging for POWERbreathe and keep you updated on my progress.

Charity website: Redfunnel

Crash B team list: Team Entrants