Taking some breathing exercises for swimmers is the way to go if you experience breathing difficulties while swimming. Some swimmers, especially beginners, go out of breath easily and get exhausted, affecting their performance and concentration.
Many swimmers often forget to work on their breathing technique, focusing on strokes and kicks alone. In swimming, breathing is a skill that needs to be developed fully, and it needs to be properly synchronized with your strokes.
This article focuses on helping you develop a strong swimming technique and manage your breathing while swimming. It also includes key information to note and some useful breathing exercises. Let’s go deeper.
Table of Contents
- What Is the Importance of Proper Breathing For a Swimmer?
- Why Are Breathing Exercises for Swimmers Necessary?
- How Do You Breathe While Swimming?
- 6 Breathing Exercises for Swimmers to Develop a Proper Breathing
What Is the Importance of Proper Breathing For a Swimmer?
Unlike land-based sports, swimming requires individuals to develop their breathing. These reasons are not far-fetched. Without a doubt, you will choke if you do not know how to breathe underwater at all.
Having proper breathing comes with several benefits, particularly towards your overall swimming performance. If you are looking for convincing reasons to spur your interest, you should see the following ones.
1. Constant Energy Supply
Basic biology says that respiration is an essential part of life, and it states the significant role of oxygen in the body. Inhaled oxygen powers cellular digestion, breaking down nutrients (e.g., sugar) to release energy to the cell (body).
Therefore, you need a constant supply of oxygen if you want to maintain steady energy release in your body. Of course, you won’t be able to breathe as usual while swimming. Hence, achieving proper breathing is crucial.
2. To Ensure a Steady Swimming Performance
A good breathing technique with excellent arm, legs, and body control, can ensure a top-notch swimming performance. With less dependence on your arms and kicks, you can control your buoyancy and balance.
You will also agree that a steady supply of energy translates to impressive performance and a slight edge above rivals. Since you won’t worry about gulping some liters of water, concentration and morale become heightened as well.
3. Reduces Stress and Tension
Being worried about drinking water or choking can cause serious panic and anxiety. This can cause you to be more agitated such that your heart beats faster and your movements and balance become faulty.
To start with, having good breathing will minimize your likelihood of drinking pool water or choking. Once these fears are off your mind, the stress and tension associated also become nonexistent, and the energy supply is kept at a high level.
Why Are Breathing Exercises for Swimmers Necessary?
Besides understanding your desired swimming stroke, you still need to perfect your breathing. Hence, undergoing some breathing exercises isn’t a bad idea; instead, it is a worthy recommendation. To understand why breathing exercises are necessary, check out the reasons below.
1. More Energy Supply
If your breathing technique is inefficient or slightly rusty, taking some breathing exercises will make a big difference. With more efficient breathing, more oxygen reaches the body cells, causing more energy to be released.
When energy supply is at its peak, the muscles are less likely to get exhausted quickly, hence, better performance. To be a successful swimmer, breathing exercises are recommended for beginner swimmers who can barely hold their breath.
2. Larger Lung Capacity
Seeing other swimmers hold their breath for longer periods might excite you. This impeccable attribute allows them to stay underwater for extended periods without compromising their performance or choking. Interestingly, it is one of the perks of undergoing breathing exercises.
Such swimmers have developed a larger lung capacity; hence their lungs can expand to hold more air (oxygen). An increased lung capacity can be the advantage when making burst sprints, executing flip turns, or completing a final lap.
3. Better Concentration and Lowered Stress
Breathing exercises come with some obvious benefits when considering the physiological aspect of the swimmer. By perfecting your breathing technique, an increase in confidence is expected, and all fears, stress, and anxiety are significantly lowered.
With all these unwanted fears out of the equation, your heartbeat is slowed down, and energy is well supplied to all your muscles. Furthermore, you are able to concentrate on your swimming, exert a high mental strength, and execute your technique efficiently.
4. Improved Swimming Performance and Speed
Many factors contribute to a swimmer’s performance. One way to improve your performance is to develop a strong breathing technique. With a larger lung capacity, you can execute some tricks conveniently.
With the absence of fear and increased concentration, you are able to exhibit your techniques even more efficiently. Also, you are less worried and demotivated even before the race starts.
See Also: How to Swim Freestyle Faster
How Do You Breathe While Swimming?
Knowing how to breathe while swimming is crucial. Therefore, it is essential to understand the breathing technique of your desired swimming stroke.
Even if you perform breathing exercises, you will experience little or no difference if you have a bad breathing technique. Therefore, for a recap, below are the techniques for the three popular swimming strokes.
Breathing in the breaststroke is easier. As soon as your hands start moving toward your body, inhaling is imminent. Also, you need to time your breathing with your stroke. Once you have pushed your head out of the water, you are expected to take a deep, quick breath.
2. Front Crawl (Freestyle)
In the front crawl, you must synchronize your body rotation with your breathing to maintain your balance. Turning your head too late will leave you out of breath, and if you are too slow, you will lose your balance.
When your arm reaches the recovery phase, you are expected to turn your head sideways before taking a quick breath. Ensure you don’t lift your head out of the water.
Ideally, the water line should run in the middle of your phase. It is also important to note that exhaling should be done when your nose is in the water.
3. Butterfly Stroke
Similar to the breaststroke, the butterfly stroke requires you to wait until the end of the pull phase. Once you are clear of the phase, your nose/mouth should be outside the water. Then you can take a quick break before going to the recovery phase.
6 Breathing Exercises for Swimmers to Develop a Proper Breathing
If you are interested in improving your breathing technique, you take some breathing exercises. Below are some fantastic, effective exercises that you can work with.
1. Practicing In a Bowl
This is a simple breathing exercise that can be done anywhere. If you don’t have a swimming pool nearby, you might want to consider this option. Beginners can also try out this option to hasten their development.
Get a large bowl with a circumference that is more than twice your face size. Place the bowl in a platform (preferably a table) and fill it up with water. This breathing exercise aims to breathe in with your nose and mouth slightly in the water.
To monitor your activity, you may put a mirror in the water. Drop your chin in the water with your nose and mouth on the surface. Breathe as normal to acclimatize yourself with the feel and ruffling effect of breathing on the water.
Get a pair of swim goggles. After some minutes, you should bring your nose and mouth closer to the water surface, touching it slightly. Then attempt to breathe through the remaining spaces (corners) of your mouth and nose.
To understand how air pressure keeps water away from the mouth and nose, open your mouth in the water without exhaling. Water definitely stays out. Raise your head out of the water and inhale. Afterward, attempt to exhale with your head in the water.
Watch the bubbles move from your mouth. Repeat the cycle – lifting your head to inhale and putting your head back in to exhale. Get used to it until you have steady and quiet exhalation. You may add a rhythm to mimic your swimming stroke.
2. Using a Snorkel
Of course, you are not going for snorkeling. You can use a snorkel and snorkel cap to improve your breathing technique. The snorkel cap helps to control the amount of air that you can breathe in.
Using this gear helps you condition your lungs. It increases its capacity and the quality of your breathing. It enhances your intercostal muscles and enables you to get used to low oxygen circumstances.
3. Box Breathing
Box breathing is a simple and effective breathing exercise. It also helps your body get accustomed to low oxygen situations and improves your endurance level. It can also help to lower stress and anxiety.
For this exercise, take a deep breath for about four seconds, filling up your entire lungs. Then hold your breath (full lungs) for another four seconds. Afterward, exhale for four seconds and maintain empty lungs for another four minutes.
Interestingly, you do not have to jump into a pool for this exercise. You may try out longer durations to improve your development. However, you should progress slowly.
4. Abdominal Hollowing
Here is another dry exercise that works like magic. The abdominal hollowing exercise helps you maintain a proper breathing technique (and pattern) while enhancing your body’s core stabilizers.
Strong core muscles are important to help you maintain a steady breathing pattern. This exercise can be performed anywhere. You may try it out while standing or lying on your mat/bed. Basically, it requires you to suck up your abdominal muscles.
Contract your abdominal muscles with your spine and pelvis remaining unchanged. Hold it steady for four to five seconds before exhaling slowly. You may try this exercise several times a day.
5. Practice Deep Breathing
Sit with your back resting on a wall to let your spine be in a neutral position. Extend your arms and take deep breaths while following a five-second timing. As you inhale deeply, you should also exhale deeply at the end of the time count.
This neutral position keeps pressure off your spine, shoulders, and neck while expanding your rib cage. Therefore, you use your abdominal muscles and diaphragm for inhalation. You can perform this exercise every time before entering the pool.
6. Working With Breathing Patterns
After practicing the above exercises, it is essential to work with good breathing patterns to develop a proper breathing technique. It is best to choose a breathing pattern that aligns with your swimming technique. Hence, the chances of running low on oxygen are reduced.
In addition, being used to a breathing pattern lets you stay focused. It is advisable to take it slowly to avoid exhaustion or boredom. Starting with a two or three strokes pattern isn’t a bad idea.
Practicing your breathing pattern, especially before entering the pool, keeps your lungs prepared for action. It would be best if you synchronize your breathing pattern to inhale when you are expected to.
You can try this outside the pool with a timer or enter the pool while restricting your movement with a swim cord. Ensure you have a coach nearby.
I have compiled some frequently asked questions for more understanding of breathing exercises for swimmers. I believe you should grab some useful details for every answer here.
How Can I Swim Without Getting Out of Breath?
Many beginners often complain about getting out of breath. The fact is, everybody will always get out of breath at a point in time. Hence, it is up to you to find a way around it.
The most important things to do are to increase your lung capacity, understanding your swimming technique, and use a good breathing pattern.
How Can Lung Capacity Be Increased?
You can increase your lung capacity by breathing correctly. Also, you should keep a quality breathing pattern. With the breathing exercise I discussed above, you can conveniently increase your lung capacity.
Having understood the importance of breathing properly in swimming, you should be aspiring to take some breathing exercises for swimmers. Breathing exercises play a crucial role in your development as a swimmer, and they shouldn’t be neglected.
By developing proper breathing, you can increase your lung capacity, improve your morale and boost your performance. Interestingly, it isn’t very stressful and can be perfected within a short time.
Now you have an idea of effective breathing techniques for swimmers. However, you can help other swimmers, including your family and friends, by sharing this article with them. Simply use the social links on the page for that.
Also, comments, contributions, and questions relating to this subject are allowed. You can send them or reach me via the comment section of the page.
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