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May 15, 2024

Breathing Part Two

Okay, so last week we talked about breathing anatomy and mechanics. Super fun!

We also uncovered the hidden knowledge that not breathing leads to death. Stunning.

This week we are going to talk about how we can manipulate our breathing for a variety of effects.

This week we are going to specifically talk about the recovery/stimulation aspects of breathing and how we can use them before or after training.

The biggest thing you need to know about this topic is that you need to actively control and pay attention to your breath.

Did you just notice your breathing? Yeah, weird right?!

Okay, so lets do this backwards and talk about how to do it before the why.


Lets focus on two methods/ways we can focus on our breathing.

For stimulation purposes both of these methods work, but I am going to focus on The Wim Hof Method.

Wim Hof, aka The Iceman, is a baaaad man. He hold numerous world records and is living proof that humans are scraping the surface of what we are capable of.

Quick disclaimer: Do this breathing in a safe place. Remove all water and sharp object from your surroundings.

Also, you might get some tingling feeling in your hands, arms, feet, and face. This is totally normal and feels awesome. Enjoy.

This method is basically controlled hyperventilation. Here's how his method works.

Your breathe in as much as you can (if you can breathe in through your nose)

Then you breathe out from your mouth. DO NOT FULLY BREATHE OUT. And do not force the exhale, just let your lungs release the air.

Then breathe in fully again.

Repeat this 25-40 times

Once you have let out your last exhale, HOLD YOUR BREATHE.

You hold your breathe for as long as you can. You will be amazed how long you can hold it.

As soon as you need to breathe in; breathe in and hold your breathe for 15 seconds, then let go.

Repeat from the top for 3-5 rounds.

This video is perfect to follow along to:


Honestly, Wim Hof Method is great for this too, Im not totally sure why I split these up… Both these methods can be used for both recovery and stimulation. Internal thoughts are now out there…

Box breathing. This is a breathing technique that involves inhaling, exhaling, and breathe holding for specific times/ratios.

The most common ratio for box breathing is: 1-1-2-1

Inhale - Hold - Exhale - Hold

This means that you would:

Inhale for 1s

Hold for 1s

Exhale for 2s

Hold for 1s

You scale up that ratio as needed or as you get better.

Meaning you could do that same ratio like this…

Inhale for 4s

Hold for 4s

Exhale for 8s

Hold for 4s

You can change the ratios around or change the time for each ratio depending on your skill level and desired effect.

The longer you do an exhale and breathe hold, there will be more of a “recovery” effect. The short the exhale and holds, there will be more of a “stimulation” effect.

No video for this one. Just count your breathing:)

Okay, if you made it this far, thank you! You have everything you need to add some sort of breathing routine into your life.

If you stop reading now, no hard feelings! Enjoy the world with better breathing technique.

If you want to learn why these are effect, hold onto your socks! Its about to get technical!


First, lets discuss the Wim Hof Method.

I could talk about this for approximately 1,986 pages. However, my own mother wouldn’t read that, so lets shorten it down to a few paragraphs.

The purpose of breathing fully in is to maximize the amount of oxygen you bring in with each breath. The reason for not fully exhaling and jest letting go is because you want to remain as relaxed as possible during the process. If you were to really force the exhales it would increase heart rate excessively and make the effects less than ideal.

During this process, you increase blood oxygen levels and decrease blood CO2 levels. 

The breath hold serves to drop your oxygen levels severely low. This will do 2 things. First it will release a ton of adrenaline and upregulate the expression of the hypoxia-inducible factor 1a gene.

Benefits of this breathing technique

  • Reduce stress
  • Increase HRV (Heart rate variability)
  • Increase red blood cell production
  • Increase white blood cell production
  • Increase mitochondria density
  • Decrease inflammation (even with chronic illnesses like Crohns and others)
  • Has been shown to help increase VO2max
  • Has been shown to increase motility of stem cells

Pretty awesome list of benefits, so get breathing!

Box breathing has similar benefits.

Box breathing can increase HRV and VO2max, however, there has not been research done (nor do I think it would yield positive results even if it were studied) on if it can increase red and white blood cell production or mitochondria density or stem cell motility.

It definitely has the benefit of reducing stress.

Box breathing to me is much more of a meditative practice because it involves much more thinking, and being left to your thoughts.

Wim Hof Method breathing feels more like work

If I were to choose 1 method to get started with it would be Wim Hof Breathing. It feels so amazing and does have a ton of benefits. 

That being said, if you want to just add this to a pre/post workout routine; box breathing is probably the way to go. It is much less time consuming and can be done very easily before or after a workout.

So, there you go! If you have any specific questions please feel free to email me at

Yours in strength,


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