Why do I forget to breathe during exercises?

Why do I forget to breathe during exercises?

Ever wonder why certain exercises seem to make you red in the face versus others?

It’s not just because you’re forgetting to breath, it’s because your body is telling you something about that particular exercise. Something about how your body is reacting to being under that specific type of stress.

So, what’s that mean?

In simple terms, it means that it’s hard! (which you already knew from almost passing out holding your plank or goblet squat). But it also gives us some great information to help you assess progress!

See the reason for your body “forgetting” to breath has to do with your body’s subconscious duties, otherwise known as your autonomic nervous system. Things like digestion, immune response and most importantly, breathing.

Within the nervous systems, which includes conscious and subconscious systems, there is only so much output your system can have. Think of it this way, if you’re doing a hard plank variation and you REALLY have to concentrate on keeping position, your brain is going to allocate as much effort towards working the right muscles as it can. When a drill or exercise is particularly difficult, sometimes that means that it will have to take away brain power from your subconscious, like breathing, to accomplish the task. When that happens, you’re forced to hold your breath until the task is completed.

So, what’s this mean?

The purpose of this information is to help you understand your progress. I want you to try this test. Try this side plank variation (video below) we use that commonly results in people holding their breath. Shoot for 3 sets of 8-10 reps per side.

Now, if you find yourself holding your breath that great! It’s challenging. Now you’re going to work on this drill for everyday for the next 5 days. As you practice and get stronger and more stable, you will see you can start to breath during the drill. That’s progress! That tells us your brain to muscle connection is getting stronger and more efficient.

This theory can be applied to any drill or exercise you’re having difficulty breathing with. I recommend for those specific drills, take time for 7-14 days to get better with it. Be aware of your breath and if it’s getting better or worse.

Awareness of your breath is another great tool to becoming a better, more durable mover and athlete. It’s easy to assess as demonstrated above and is another great way to stay consistently healthier.

If you have questions about breathing, you can reach out to me at brian@xcelmp.com. Thanks for taking time out of your day to learn a little more about how to enjoy your active life!

To your health,

Dr. B