Athletes that practice breathwork can take their game to the next level. Similar to training volleyball skills to perform at your best in a match, athletes should practice breathing so it comes naturally to you when you’re at different metabolic states.

Breathwork is so much more than just inhaling and exhaling.

  • It provides oxygen to the muscles to aid in recovery.
  • It helps with the ability to focus.
  • It provides mental clarity to make good decisions.
  • It calms the nervous system and aids in the ability to control the response to stress.

However, there are two types of breathing: Functional and Dysfunctional

Dysfunctional Breathing

Most people have some sort of dysfunctional breathing pattern that they are unaware of. For example, using your chest to breathe but not your belly. Using the belly to breathe, enhances the efficiency of the diaphragm to assist the lungs in increasing oxygen efficiency. Dysfunctional breathing can destabilize your trunk, cause loss in mobility, lower movement efficiency and reduce force potential.

Functional Breathing

Functional breathing is breathing that is efficient and appropriate for the current state of metabolic demands. But, what does that mean? As athletes, we are in different states of metabolic demands depending on the intensity of our training. Maybe during a warm up, breathing comes easy, we are in a low state of metabolic demands and we most likely don’t even think about our breath. But when we are mid-match and just finished a 45 second rally, our metabolic state is most likely really high. As our metabolic state changes, so should our breathing patterns. When an athlete breathes functionally, your breath is so powerful and is a tool that you can always come back to when you need to reset.

A breathwork practice will teach you various breathing techniques to warm up your respiratory muscles, control your breath, increase your tolerance to CO2, help you respond to stress, and increase your mental clarity.

Are you ready to start breathing more functionally? Here is a practice to help get you started.

Check out YAX Online for volleyball specific, performance breathwork videos.  Click HERE to get started. Use code JVA30 at checkout for 30% off monthly, 6 month or yearly options!

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About the Author

Kalynn Evans (B.S., NASM-CPT, E-RYT 200, FMSC, XPT Coach) is the Owner of Yoga Athletex, LLC alongside her sister Patricia Bomar. She grew up playing volleyball; her mom and coach was a former college volleyball player at University of Houston and then a member of the US national team, so volleyball was instilled in her from a young age. Kalynn played club volleyball for 7 years at Club Texas in Houston. She played D1 college volleyball at SE Louisiana where she graduated with an accounting degree. Having some back and hip injuries throughout her volleyball career led Kalynn to practice yoga, and want to offer yoga to youth and adult athletes to prevent and rehabilitate injury. She completed her 200 RYT in 2013, completed Yin and Restorative Trainings in 2015 and 2016, FMS Cert 2016, and NASM-CPT in 2017 and XPT coaching certificate in 2018.

Kalynn’s Instagram: @kalynnevans
YAX Online Instagram: @yaxonline
Yoga Athletex: @yogaathletex