Breathing for Wrestling – Part One

A few weeks ago we ran a workshop on breathing for wrestling, because breathing is like, super important and useful when you’re being squashed. During the research phase we realized there’s not much information on the internet about developing good breathing skills specifically for ground fighting, so we thought we’d do our bit to contribute to the World Wide Web’s great knowledge repository.

Part One deals with the mechanics of breathing, and gives you a few awareness exercises to help you get used to breathing with your whole torso.

Anatomy of a breath

When you relax and exhale, your diaphragm domes up up inside the ribs. When you inhale it pulls flat, pushing your abdominal organs down and out. Your intercostal muscles (the ones in between your ribs) also expand and contract with each breath.

Your abs don’t need to participate, and are better off relaxed if you’re taking a deep breath under normal conditions, to allow your belly to pooch out. However, if, for example, somebody is sitting on your abdomen, you’re better off activating your abs and pushing out to allow more room for your organs to shift around so your diaphragm can do its thing.

Awareness Exercises

  1. Lie on your back, hand on abdomen, and take deep breaths: slow in, slow out. You should feel your belly moving up and down with each breath.
  2. Sit on a chair, elbows on knees. Take slow, deep breaths. You should feel your back and ribs expand with each breath.
  3. Stand upright. Take slow, deep breaths, trying to fill your whole lungs, including using your diaphragm, back, and sides. Your chest will lift up and expand, but keep your shoulders relaxed and lowered.
  4. Stand upright. Blow out all your air until your body is squeezing hard. Then release all the muscles which were used to push. Notice that air comes rushing back in as you relax. Let the air rush in first and then continue to inhale. Make sure you feel this as a two step process.

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