Breathing Techniques for Stomach Exercises

Learning to breathe properly during exercise can mean the difference between an invigorating workout and one that leaves you fatigued and breathless. When doing abdominal exercises like crunches or planks, the right breathing technique can enhance the workout so you get the most out of every second of exertion. By practicing the correct breathing techniques on your own and knowing when to inhale and exhale, you can pair proper breathing with your fitness efforts for the best possible results.

Breathing Benefits
You might not think about something as automatic as breathing, but it can make all the difference in your ab workout. When doing stomach exercises, breathing out at the right time tightens your ab muscles and engages your core, so you get more out of your workout. Proper breathing technique can also give you more stamina while on the exercise mat. When exerting yourself, it can seem like a natural reaction to hold your breath. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous practice, which could result in dizziness and even fainting.

Proper Technique
Improper breathing technique could be hindering your ability to get the most out of your ab workout. To get the most oxygen from your lungs to your muscles, it's important that you draw air deep into your lungs. This is accomplished using a technique known as abdominal breathing. Abdominal breathing helps you fill your belly with air to get the optimal amount of oxygen into your body. If you're only pulling air into your chest, you may not get the oxygen you need during a workout.

Breathing Exercises
To ensure that you understand how to breathe properly while exercising, try taking a few abdominal breaths when you're relaxed. Find a comfortable position on the floor and place your hand over your belly, then take a deep breath. Watch your hand; if it rises with the breath, you're breathing properly. If it stays put, you're not breathing deeply enough. Breathe three times in a row with your hand over your belly before starting your ab workout.

Inhale, Exhale
To engage your abdominal muscles while breathing throughout your stomach workout, you should know when to inhale and when to exhale. Your breathing pattern will differ depending on the type of workout you use for your abs. If you use weight or resistance training, exhale with the contraction or exertion of your ab muscles for the most power. If you're exercising using yoga or Pilates techniques, inhale through your nose during the exertion and exhale through your mouth as you relax in order to maintain a rhythm and calm while exercising.