28 September 2018
Barre classes aren’t supposed to be easy. They’re meant to challenge your mind, body, stamina and shaky legs. But breathing will enable you to push yourself further, perform better and make your 55 minute class that bit more bearable.
Our instructors are always telling you to focus on your breath and exhale on the effort, we do it because we're told to, but let’s find out from instructor Kathy what breathing is actually doing to your body as you workout.
EXHALE ON THE EFFORT TO ENGAGE YOUR ABDOMEN
It’s important to exhale on the effort of each exercise as our abdominal wall will naturally engage to support and protect the spine. So whether it's on the journey up during full range in your thigh set or at the deepest point of your abdominal work - be sure to focus on the exhale for a supported and safe work out.
LENGTHEN YOUR EXHALE TO SWITCH ON YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM
When we lengthen our exhale and deepen our breath, our body switches from using the sympathetic nervous system (which prepares the body for intense physical activity and is often referred to as the fight-or-flight response) to using the parasympathetic nervous system (which has the opposite effect and relaxes the body and is often referred to as the ‘rest and digest system’). This means your heart rate will lower, your body will become calmer and you’ll be able to sustain that deep burn a little longer without going into panic mode.
BREATHE WITH YOUR MOVEMENTS TO FOCUS YOUR MIND
If your mind wanders and is drawn to the fire within the muscles, then try breathing in the same rhythm as your movements. For example, if you’re shoulder pressing, up for 2 and down for 2, make sure your breathing mirrors that same rhythm; in for 2 and out for 2. With the mind centred you'll be able to sustain a little longer and get through more reps than before.