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Valsalva Maneuver: How You Can Get Stronger With Tactical Breathing

Valsalva Maneuver: How You Can Get Stronger With Tactical Breathing

  1. Did you know that you can immediately make yourself stronger just by correcting your breathing? 
  2. Are you familiar with the concept of tactical breathing? 
  3. Have you ever heard of the valsalva maneuver?

Tactical breathing is a miracle. In fact, most people are shocked when they discover that I can immediately make them stronger just by correcting their breathing. 

What? Yes, you read that correctly. Continue reading to learn more.

Tactical Breathing: The Valsalva Maneuver 

Your breathing influences everything you do and this is especially true during your training.

You see because people have jobs where they sit for several hours a day they end up compromising their breathing by breathing too much into their chest.

You see proper breathing involves you pulling air into your belly and diaphragm. As you’re reading this place your hand on your stomach for a few seconds as you take a few breaths.

Now as you’re doing this your stomach should expand as you inhale. This is just the beginning.

Now when it comes to training you’re clearly going to be exerting yourself.

This will happen when you lift something heavy, or if you’re throwing punches and kicks during a sparring session. As you exert yourself you should be initiating what is known as the valsalva maneuver. 

The valsalva maneuver is your body’s natural response to physical exertion.

This will happen by you inhaling air (into your belly) and closing your glottis to push air against your intra-abdominal wall as you exert yourself. This added pressure creates tremendous core stability and protects your spine during movement.

Now this is incredible stuff because you can hold the air in during physical exertion, but you can also expel air in increments when exerting yourself in movements that involve more short rapid bursts.

An example of this would involve activity such as you would do when throwing punching and kicking combos during sparring sessions, or when blasting through a set of kettlebell swings. In these examples you’re performing short burst rapid movements that require significant exertion.

As you perform the bursts you’re still initiating the valsalva maneuver, but you’re not just outright holding your breath.

Tactical Breathing: Breathing Behind The Shield 

To do this you want to brace your core midsection pulling air in, but still take in and expel the air in small doses not allowing drastic expansion of your ribcage.

In martial arts we call this breathing behind the shield, or tactical breathing.

The shield is the tension you create with your core midsection, but you can still expel the air in increments as you exert yourself from throwing a punch, or cranking off a swing with the kettlebell.

The sign of breathing behind the shield would involve you releasing small doses of air between your tongue and glottis which causes a hissing sound much like snake.

If you’ve ever been in fight training and listened to fighters throwing combinations you will hear this controlled breathing which helps to manage fatigue while allowing a fighter to deliver powerful strikes over and over again.

So if you want to dial in your strength and correct a lot of physical problems you’ve got to get your breathing dialed in.

Tactical Breathing: The Takeaway

The act of tactical breathing is something that you shouldn’t have to really think too hard about as long as you’re involved with training and getting quality coaching on a regular basis. The act of high exertion is naturally anaerobic so the act of holding your breath is a natural reflex.

Tactical breathing is a natural way to dial in your breathing to enhance your performance.

Are you properly engaged with the valsalva maneuver? 

Does your breathing need to be addressed? 

Post up in the comments here below. 

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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