VIDEO: How To Improve Performance Breathing To Boost Endurance In CrossFit And Most Sports

Proper performance breathing is a a huge component of improving endurance performance. This is a skill that can (and should) be practiced. If you're not already using this technique naturally, you’ll realise a noticeable bump in performance and an increased comfort level in situations where you're working hard under fatigue. In other words, you’ll thank me!

Check this video for a simple technique that can applied to virtually any movement or sport.


The biggest issue that I see is people not breathing enough. The main reason is simple; it’s hard to breath while exerting lots of force.

In fact, it’s natural to want to hold your breath a little when you need to exert yourself, and doing so works well for short bursts. For example, it’s normal to hold your breath during a single heavy squat, a quick sprint, when you throw one combination of punches as hard as you can, or if you’re pushing your car out of the snow.

But as soon as you need to do those thing repeatedly, i.e. in a sustainable fashion, you need to breathe. This is what we see in CrossFit and many sports. In CrossFit, think about how hard it can be to breath while doing heavy thrusters. In sports, think about wrestling (or any sustained physical contact) or taking off on a quick sprint.

In fact, this is true in every sport. Check out boxing legend Evander Holyfield talking a little about holding your breath in a fight. You get great rhythm and the punches come out nicely, but you can only do so many of them before you completely gas out. To his point, boxers need to be in shape but they also need to practice breathing in rhythm with their punches.

Likewise, you need to practice breathing in rhythm with any movements you need to do repeatedly and at a high level.

Having said all this, it is possible to breath too much. I just don’t see this problem as much within something like CrossFit because holding your breath too much can feel so natural.

But if you are hyperventilating it can cause a panicked feeling (stress response) and a constriction of blood vessels which results in less oxygen delivery. That’s bad news for you. This is also why (and I mention it in the video) practicing your breathing technique with exaggerated breathing without being tired can make you feel lightheaded. Essentially you’re causing yourself to hyperventilate.

It’s up to you to tune your breathing to the right level, to stay calm, and to perform at your best. This technique should be a great starting point.