Breathe or Die?

Learn Breathwork Today And Enhance Your MMA Training Instantly

By: Dr Steve Hannant, Sport & Clinical Psychologist @SportsShrink

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.

The Breathwork Advantage

If your training does not include practicing Breathwork, you are missing out.

Breathwork increase self-control via regulation of the nervous system, increases lung capacity aka endurance, and enhances your ability to focus and think clearly when under stress. All three of these benefits are critical for the athlete and especially key for MMA fighters.

Do you want to be the best?


Then you need to be prepared to compete most efficiently at the highest level in your sport.

Do you want to enhance your performance?


Then you need to plan on starting mental training and implement Breathwork regularly.

Breathwork refers to many forms of deliberate regulation of breathing, such as becoming mindful of one’s inhale and exhale (e.g., counting during mindfulness breathing exercise), or effortful charging and discharging (e.g., “rapid fire” breathing exercise), when mental training.

Breathwork advocates believe Breathwork technique may be used to attain alternate states of consciousness, and that sustained practice of techniques may also result in psycho-spiritual benefits. Breathwork is considered to enhance general well-being and promote optimal health conditions.

Breakwork helps Arousal Regulation

  • Arousal Regulation begins with athletes becoming aware of the degree to which they experience anxiety and cognitions as well as physiological responses such as breathing rate, muscle tension, and heart rate.
  • Research indicates that successful athletes tend to constructively use their elevated activation (physiological arousal), whereas less successful athletes endorse anxious states because their activation coupled with inappropriate or undesirable thoughts, and poorly controlled their arousal level and anxiety.

Breathwork is the fundamental self-regulation technique

How to start training?

Practice your ABC’s…

A. Review these YouTube videos Breathwork Videos (5 min total)

B. Assess your breathing

  1. Relax & Stand or Sit comfortably
  2. Take notice of your breathing
  3. Inhale & exhale = 1 “breath cycle”
  4. Set a timer for 30 seconds
  5. Start the timer and begin counting the number of breath cycles for 30 seconds
  6. Multiple this number x2 for your baseline breath count
  7. The average # of breath cycles (inhale + exhales) is usually around 8
  8. Record your baseline Initial Breath Count (e.g., IBC = 8)
  9. If your IBC is higher than 8, practice more and slow down
  10. If your IBC is 8 or less, then keep practicing & master breathwork

C. Drill & memorize breathing exercises

Here are a few great exercises to start training:

Breathwork Exercises