Learning to control and manipulate your breath is arguably the biggest life hack. More specifically it can be your secret weapon when it comes to crushing your competition. But you have to work at it, just like you have to work on transitions and other technical skills specific to volleyball.
Here are 3 reasons volleyball athletes should implement breathwork into your daily routine:
Increase CO2 Build Up
Box breathing, also known as square breathing, is a technique used when taking slow, deep breaths. Deep, rhythmic breathing like this can slow your heart rate and regulate your autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system regulates bodily functions like digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response and more. The slow holding of breath allows CO2 to build up in the blood. An increased blood CO2 enhances the cardio-inhibitory response of the vagus nerve when you exhale and stimulates your parasympathetic system. This produces a calm and relaxed feeling in the mind and body.
Controlled breathing can also create focus within your mind, giving you the ability to refrain from succumbing to distractions in high pressure situations on the court. Notice that many experienced volleyball athletes apply breathwork as part of their serving routine or during timeouts.
Improved Response to Stress
This type of breathing can help you control your physical and mental response to stress in most any environment. Deep breathing techniques have been shown to significantly reduce the production of hormones associated with stress, such as cortisol. The ability to consciously regulate breath allows the body to leave a state of stress and enter into a state of calm.
You can practice Box Breathing really anywhere at most any time and generally as often as you’d like.
Take a deep breath in and give it a try:
Using the breath to focus the mind, we’ll inhale for a count of 5, retain the breath for a count of 5, exhale for a count of 5, hold the breath for a count of 5 – then repeat 5 times.
Check out our videos on the portal for more volleyball specific breathwork and fitness coaching.
Athletes: Register for YAX Online Portal of Yoga + HIIT + Jump Training + Breathwork + Meditation for $39/month (*7 day free trial) Use Code JVA50 for 50% Off 1 month, 6 month and 12 month subscriptions.
Club Directors: Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss online training for your club! We take the hassle out of programming your performance training + yoga, so you can focus on volleyball.
About the Author
Patricia Bomar is the co-owner of Yoga Athletex LLC with her sister, Kalynn Evans. She was an athlete from the age of 4, playing multiple sports competitively at the club level for 14 years. Her college years included club and intramural sports. She earned her B.S. in Sport Management from Texas A&M in 2007. While studying she worked under the TAMU Track & Field coach, as a personal trainer following the NSCA – CSCS program. At the time she was also a volleyball and softball coach and was an avid member of CrossFit. In 2013 she earned her 200 hour yoga certification and in 2015 earned her 300 hour yoga certification. Currently she has earned the ERYT500 standard. Shortly after, she became certified in Functional Movement Systems (FMSC). In 2017, she acquired her NASM – CPT certificate and continues to attend several intensives and workshops to stay up to date with current exercise science. Her latest certification was the fitness nutrition specialist (FNS) acquired through NASM. She is currently an official education provider for the National Academy of Sport Medicine, Athletics and Fitness Association of America and the Yoga Alliance. With over 17 years experience, Patricia has a strong passion for bringing the healing benefits of yoga to her fellow athletes for injury prevention and increased performance.