Controlling Breathing for Parkour

Controlling Breathing
Drew Taylor 19/07/09

Your muscles need oxygen in order to perform the reaction to transfer chemical energy from your food into movement. We need oxygen to survive, without it our heart couldn’t beat and our brain couldn’t function. Breathing is the action in which all animals inhale oxygen which then passes into the blood and is transported to your muscles.

Parkour as we know is an extremely demanding activity both physically and mentally therefore we need our muscles and brain to be in top form to enable us to move efficiently without getting injured. So as you could have guessed controlling breathing is important in order to perform the movements required. Some people have problems breathing when doing parkour. A lot of people don’t know but they aren’t breathing in the most efficient way for them when they are doing parkour.

The best way for me to teach you how to breathe when parkouring isn’t to list specific moves and to tell you when you should breathe in and out. Then you’d have to remember it all, I’m going to teach you how to work it out by yourself, and make it the natural way to breathe when you do train.

It’s quite simple. When the pressure or stress is on, breathe out. When the pressure is relieved, breathe in. In simple terms this means that when you’re actually in mid air or taking off for a jump you should be breathing out, this is when you have to exert all your explosive energy to achieve the power necessary. Once you've landed and you're taking the few steps in-between movements you can inhale to take in enough oxygen to keep going. Each normal resting breathes last about a second, and so should most movements. This means that you can breathe in a perfectly natural way during runs.

It takes some time to get used to using this technique but eventually it becomes second nature. For me I found that breathing out when jumping can actually improve my ability and I can jump further and more precise. I presume this is because the action of sharply breathing out helps you exert all your power more explosively. Also breathing out for many people can be used to relax which allows you to concentrate on what is important.

If you try this technique and your breathing problems persist, you might want to contact your GP. The more you practise breathing and parkour the more your body will acclimatise your breathing to account for the intense exercise.

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