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4 breathing techniques for better exercise performance

Breathing seems secondary during any physical activity, stress, or pressure that requires you to handle and keep the situation in control. However, breathing is far more critical than you may think. We’ll focus on breathing techniques for better exercise performance. Breathing plays a significant role when it comes to performances. There is a close link between breathing and good exercise performance.

Have a look at 4 breathing techniques for better exercise performance.


Yoga breathing

Woman doing yoga using breathing techniques for better exercise

Yoga breathing is characterized by slow and deep breathing. There are a ton of breathing techniques regarding yoga. More commonly called Pranayama, breathing is the foundation of an effective yoga session. Slow and deep breathing is one of the best breathing techniques for better exercise performance, as it provides your body with the right amount of oxygen to the muscles you’re using. For more information about Pranayama, find a very concise link at the bottom of the post

How to do the cardio breathing during your session

Begin by sitting down. Breathe in by your nose and breath out slowly by your mouth for as long as possible to empty your organism (stomach, lungs).


Endurance breathing

Man running using breathing techniques for better exercise

Endurance refers to regular and strenuous effort and, thus, a regular breathing rhythm. It can include, for instance, running, swimming, or biking. The key is to set your breathing to the rhythm of your movements. Take time to focus on your movement while finding your breathing rhythm. The more you practice this technique, your breathing will be natural when exercising endurance.

How to do the endurance breathing during your session

Depending on if you’re a slow or fast runner, use the rhythm of your step to synchronize your breath. Use a 2:2 breathing pattern. It means breathing in for two steps (one with your left, one with your right) and breathing out for two steps (one with your left, one with your right). The more you increase your rhythm, the faster you need to breathe (using, for instance, 1:1, meaning breathing in for one step and breathing out for one step).


Cardio breathing

Man ready to sprint -breathing techniques

This breathing is very similar to the endurance one. Cardio breathing is great for optimizing your effort.

During intense and short efforts, breathing must remain fluid but it’s not enough to meet the need for oxygen. It’s after the effort that you regain a normal breathing rhythm with nasal inspiration and long oral exhalations. Don’t worry if you feel that your breathing is uncontrollable.

How to do the cardio breathing during your session

Take a deep breath and use a 2:2 breathing pattern. Do not hold your breath for this breathing technique but for other breathing types. As your body will expend a lot of energy and get tired quickly, it’s not recommended. It’s one of the most common mistakes, as it can severely impact blood pressure. If the session goes more challenging and faster, use a 1:1 pattern.

Related –> Best sports to improve cardio 


Strength training breathing

Hand lifting weight -breathing techniques

Strength training exercises involve breathing based on the movements to be produced. It’s one of the best ways to bring the right amount of oxygen to the muscles you’re using. This breathing is also great because it helps to maintain the intensity and duration of the effort and make your session more effective.

How to do the strength training breathing during your session

Breathe in at the moment of muscle contraction and breath out at the moment of muscle relaxation. So, take a deep breath, and then, instead of blocking your breathing and going into apnea, breathe out slowly and for as long as possible.

Related –> Street workout 101 – Exercises and programs



Breathing has a major impact during exercising and even more to boost performance. There are many different breathing techniques for better exercise performance, depending on the type of exercise. Indeed, the major key when exercising to boost your performance is to adapt the way you breathe to the sport to be more efficient.

Let your body adapt by starting your sessions gradually until you reach a correct and efficient breathing rhythm. Moreover, always listen to your lungs and your health overall.


Sources and further readings

ACE Fitness: https://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/633/want-to-improve-your-performance-breathe/

Spire: https://blog.spire.io/2018/06/13/how-to-breathe-while-running/

Yoga Journal (Pranayama breathing): https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/types/pranayama

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