Controlling your breathing during exercise is very important to make sure your oxygen absorption is efficient. You need to maximise the amount of oxygen going into the blood stream to aid metabolism, the more oxygen in the blood stream the more fat you are potentially burning.
Focus on the exhale rather than the inhale by emptying the lungs as completely as you can when you blow out. I often tell people to imagine they are blowing up a balloon because the more efficiently you can empty your lungs the more air is going to come back in on the next breath and the more oxygen can be absorbed by the lungs.
Focus on slowing down the 3 stages of the breath; The inhale, the break and the exhale… by doing that you slow the breath down and make it more efficient.
Count the 3 stages of the breath to your own comfortable tempo eg. 3 second inhale, 2 second break and 3 second exhale
When weights are involved exhale on the major exertion of the exercise such as the upward lift on the bench press. This is a focus, pressure and exertion tool as opposed to aerobic endurance breathing. So when you are lifting a heavy weight you want everything to be flexed and tight so as you exhale you are actively pushing air out and it is the best time to perform the maximum exertion. Breathing in is more of a soft, more flexible and accepting moment.
By practicing these breathing techniques and applying them to your training you will see a noticeable increase in your muscle mass, strength, cardiovascular activity and flexibility in our end of session yoga.
Check out the video below to see how the lungs work to help oxygenate our blood during exercise.