By the Nose
Outside Magazine|March - April 2020
By the Nose
COULD PROPER BREATHWORK BE THE KEY TO BOOSTING ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE?
GRAHAM AVERILL

I’M DROWNING at the gym. We’re four hours into the Art of Breath clinic, run by coach and trainer Rob Wilson, and right now I’m “dry-land swimming,” which involves carrying kettlebells across the floor with no oxygen in my lungs. Turns out that’s really freaking hard.

Practicing breathwork isn’t exactly groundbreaking. The ujjayi breath, with its dramatic “ha”-sounding exhale, is an integral part of yoga, and athletes have been limiting their oxygen intake during workouts for decades. Wilson developed the Art of Breath four years ago to help deliver a mix of these drills to the masses. During a one-day session last November, he taught me and 41 other participants how to perfect this basic life function with innovative exercises like dryland swimming and inflating a balloon while holding a static pull-up. I went to see if such drills could help me get faster on the bike and stronger in the gym. According to Wilson, it’s possible. But only if I stop breathing through my mouth.

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March - April 2020