Did you know that my start in real fitness began with breathing exercises?
Sure, I played football in high school and did some weightlifting around that. But I was not strong, nor athletic despite doing so. That speaks to how you can just spin your wheels if you’re missing the master keys.
I see my real start as happening shortly after high school when I found out about bodyweight exercises and other “alternatives” to conventional gym fitness…aka bodybuilding, that I was doing.
Got started with some stuff from Matt Furey, including breathing exercises such as the abdominal vacuum and Farmer Burn’s stomach flattener.
Learned from Pavel Tsatsouline how to exhale with a “Tsssss” to amplify strength in the moment. (Really amazing to me to read a book, apply a technique and instantly become stronger!)
Started digging into the oldtime strongmen like George Jowett who advocated some simple deep breathing exercises especially in combination with arm movements.
All of this was a regular part of my routine for years.
And I went from unhealthy and scrawny to doing things that few people on the planet can over that time.
Since then, while I’ve gotten away from specific breathing exercises at times, I’m always coming back and always experimenting with more.
I wrote about the wide range of possible exercises inside of Upgrade Your Breath.
And today I’m trying to simplify it down even further. Box breathing has become one of my favorite exercises.
Especially the variations of it, such as Vacuum Box Breathing, which includes that great exercise I first learn from Furey who got it from Maxick into the method.
Why have I been able to obtain such great strength despite such poor beginnings?
I won’t lie to you and say that it was deep breathing exercises alone. Far from it…but that was a piece of the puzzle.
(Other major pieces being my use of herbs, mental training, biofeedback and more.)
I look back to those strongmen of the past.
The Mighty Atom is among my top favorites. He literally ran away to join the circus. There, under the tutelage of strongman Volanko, deep breathing exercises turned his weakness and ill-health around.
Once again, it wasn’t just breathing exercises, but that was an important key. When he returned to his family years later, they scarcely recognized him. And he’d go on to become a strongman doing feats of strength that no one has replicated since.
Breathing exercises have a long history in the Yogic traditions. , the art of breath control, was seen as one of the major components to unlocking “siddhis” which are basically superhuman powers and abilities.
There are other aspects…but once again breath is key.
I’m not saying breathing exercises will magically turn your life around and make you superhuman. It takes more than that and it takes consistent training over time.
But with these kinds of results, I’d say you’d have to be either ignorant or naïve not to train your breath.
If you’ve read this far, you can’t claim ignorance anymore. 😉
There are many ways to do it. I think my brand new course, Outside the Box Breathing, maybe one of the best and simplest ways to get started.