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Biren Patel

Breathing in Handstand

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Biren Patel

Hello, all. Hope your training is going well.

I've just noticed that I am struggling to breath in my freestanding handstands. Against the wall, I am breathing just fine. Currently working sets of 60 seconds with no problems. But, in freestanding, I've noticed that my body does not naturally start to breathe until 20 or 25 seconds in.

Doing some research, I came across this video and wanted to know your thoughts. This guy, seems to be an ex gymnast, states that "breathing really does take care of itself. You'll start breathing before you pass out, however, whenever your body wants to stabalize itself more in an isometric position - you're getting ready to push a lot of heavy weight or something - you'll tend to hold your breath and stabalize your body. However, as soon as your exertion is done, over a short period of time you'll naturally start breathing again...just give it time and keep practicing."

The topic specifically on breathing starts at 1:05. What are your opinions on this matter of breathing in handstand? I don't know if I should just give it time, I don't want to build bad habits! Whenever I try to force my breathing from the start, I just end up falling all the time, maybe (actually I feel very sure) because of the shift in concentration from balance to breathe.



Thanks for any help and discussion :)

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Biren Patel

In any prolonged static position, I like to have my students count out loud or have a conversation with their partner. This ensures they will learn to breath if they want to stay in that position. 

Oh interesting. Yes, I had the idea some time ago to just say random sentences out loud, but I had the feeling that it would be more of an advanced exercise, since we are having to think about multiple things at once.. Do you have all your students speak out loud regardless of skill level?

Thanks, I will definitely give this a shot.

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Biren Patel

Just wanted to chime in and update this thread: Your counting method has been working perfectly for me! Thanks a lot for the tip, it has made holding a good line much more comfortable. Unfortunately I'm still too tense to breathe without counting, but It's getting better :)

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Justin Goodhart

Awareness is the first step. You've noticed your breathing trouble and now it's time to begin reinforcing good breathing habits with each set. 

Erratic or improper breathing can throw off your balance by destabilizing the ribcage and abdomen. You DO have to maintain a certain level of rigidity to maintain a good line and skeletal efficiency, but your breathing also needs to be RELAXED.

I suggest you breathe evenly and slowly THROUGH THE NOSE. 

This has really boosted my handstand training, and helps with mental focus while balancing. 

Don't underestimate the power of proper breathing...in a handstand or anywhere else. 

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