Breathing—A Key Factor to Competition Success

What if I informed you I may allow you to in on a little bit secret to maintain you cool as a cucumber at a take a look at occasion or competitors? In case you are a human being, I’m certain you’ve, in some unspecified time in the future, been nervous or possibly even hyperventilated at an occasion the place you knew everybody was watching. Right here is the story of how I received the IWF Masters World Weightlifting Championships by controlling my breath.

Introduction

On December 3rd, 2022, the ballroom the place the Worldwide Weightlifting Federation World Masters Weightlifting Championships was being held was full to capability with athletes, coaches, volunteers, and spectators.

For individuals who have by no means been to a weightlifting meet earlier than, let me set the scene. There’s a again room with warm-up platforms for every athlete. Then there’s one predominant elevated stage platform the place the athlete will make their competitors makes an attempt. Every athlete is allowed three makes an attempt on the snatch, which is one steady motion from floor to overhead. And three makes an attempt on the clear & jerk, which is first a clear, a motion from the bottom to the rack place, adopted by a jerk, a motion from the rack to overhead, leading to an prolonged locked-out place.

Every lifter is grouped right into a flight of athletes by their entry whole. Mine was the best whole so I knew I might be following myself for all six of my lifts (three in snatch and three in clear & jerk). I additionally knew that I wanted a complete to safe the gold, which oddly sufficient made it extra nerve-racking. I usually like being in an underdog place and making an attempt to win out of sheer tenacity and a few luck.

The Competitors

The snatch is the primary elevate at a weightlifting meet. After my rivals completed, 54kg was loaded onto the bar and my identify was known as. Though I made the elevate, I used to be given two crimson lights for an elbow press out. I didn’t need to danger one other missed try, so my coach and I made a decision to take that weight once more. When an athlete follows her or himself, they’re given two minutes to relaxation between makes an attempt. The load of 54kg was known as once more and this time I didn’t go away room for doubt whether or not my elbows have been locked out or not. I obtained three white lights. Though this elevate secured the snatch gold for me, I nonetheless had yet another try. We determined 56kg was a wise name as a result of I solely had two minutes to relaxation and didn’t have time to heat up for a better weight on the competitors platform. The bar was loaded with 56kg and I completed by making two out of three lifts within the snatch taking the gold.

The following elevate is the clear & jerk. With ten-minute breaks between lifts, I needed to wait about 45 minutes for my rivals to complete. This meant I wanted to settle down, relaxation, after which work again as much as a heavy elevate to organize for my clear & jerk. That is the place controlling my breath got here in (extra on that later).

We determined to play it secure and do what was wanted to win the clear & jerk gold and whole gold. I opened with 69kg, dedicated to the elevate, and made it with ease. This secured the gold. Having accomplished my job, any weight over 69kg within the subsequent two makes an attempt could be enjoyable.

As I had been working in the direction of the world document, we determined to make 72kg as my second try. This was a quantity I had accomplished in coaching many instances, so I felt assured in its execution. As anticipated, it was a stable elevate. Crowds gathered for my final try of the clear & jerk, and it felt like everybody was on the sting of their seats. The bar was loaded with 74kg, which was 1kg over the present world document. I managed to wash it properly however after I went to jerk it, I may really feel myself only a hair out entrance and misplaced it. I used to be disillusioned on the time however very happy with my effort and I knew I might come again to interrupt that document at some point.

The Physique’s Response to the Strain of Competitors

The refereeing is kind of intense throughout these occasions. To find out elevate, referees search for immobile possession, management of the burden, and full lockout of the extremities. The strain to get the burden above your head isn’t sufficient, it should even be technically proficient. Some would possibly say it’s a variety of weight within the bodily and proverbial sense. One would possibly ask how finest to deal with and overcome the nerves or added power that comes from being in a second the place execution is essential and each kilo counts. It may be overwhelming to know that you’ve skilled a whole 12 months for this at some point and 6 makes an attempt.

Essentially the most profitable means I’ve been capable of practice the so-called nerves and improve bodily efficiency is with respiration strategies and protocols from the Second Wind seminar. Breath is a strong software that’s usually ignored and ignored. Nevertheless, no a part of the human physique has as a lot direct management over the end result of coronary heart charge, psychological points, and physiological capabilities as breath. For many years Russian athletes and particular forces have been using varied respiration strategies to boost efficiency, particularly key when somebody’s life is dependent upon it. In flip, these respiration strategies additionally apply to elite athletes making an attempt to enhance efficiency outcomes.

Mira performing the snatch at the IWF Masters World Weightlifting Championships

In high-risk or high-stakes conditions the guts charge will naturally enhance as will anxiousness and doubtlessly a state of hypoxia. There are two broad outcomes to those excessive stimuli. In Second Wind, Pavel describes these outcomes and the physique’s bodily response:   

  1. The primary is hypertrophic, which includes excessive central nervous system (CNS) excitability and low exercise of inhibition programs.
  2. The second is hyperkinetic. On this state there’s inefficient circulation and coronary heart charge exercise, in addition to elevated metabolism at relaxation and through train. There’s additionally an elevated focus of metabolites and adrenaline within the blood, a low resistance to emphasize, and a low tolerance to hypoxia. There’s additionally decreased immune resistance and elevated incidence of illness and accidents.
  3. The third is rest (a steadiness of excitation and inhibition within the CNS). This includes the pace of muscle rest, medium muscular energy, glorious motion coordination, and a very good response to transferring objects. It additionally includes environment friendly coronary heart exercise, environment friendly metabolism, a lowered focus of metabolites within the blood, and a excessive charge of restoration. In rest, the physique has a wonderful work capability, excessive resistance to emphasize, a decrease danger of damage, considerably higher tolerance to bodily and psychological masses, and higher athletic longevity.

It must be clear which response an athlete would favor simply earlier than and after lifting in a contest: rest. This state of rest is known as “second wind.”

“Second Wind is a manifestation of the relief mechanism of acute mobilization towards excessive stimuli (RMAD)”—Vysochin, 1986

Solely on the time of executing competitors lifts would an athlete need to change gears and get excited.

Controlling Breath Throughout a Competitors

1. Warmup and Mobilizing

  • Mobilizing breath: inhale on a 1-2-3 rely and exhale on a rely of 1.

2. Competitors Carry Warmup

Beneath is the protocol I exploit through the competitors elevate warmup earlier than the snatch and clear & jerk. That is the loading section.

  • 1+3 inhalations and 1+3 exhalations:
    • A sluggish deep inhalation adopted by a three-second pause whereas maximally enjoyable the muscle tissues of the rib cage (don’t exhale).
    • Three extra consecutive inhalations with a three-second pause after every adopted by a deep exhalation.
    • A 3-second pause whereas maximally enjoyable the muscle tissues of the rib cage (don’t inhale).
    • Lastly, three extra consecutive forceful exhalations, utilizing the stomach muscle tissues with a one second pause after every.
    • A sluggish deep inhalation adopted by a three-second pause whereas maximally enjoyable the muscle tissues of the rib cage (don’t exhale).
    • Three extra consecutive inhalations with a three-second pause after every adopted by a deep exhalation.
    • A 3-second pause whereas maximally enjoyable the muscle tissues of the rib cage (don’t inhale).
    • Lastly, three extra consecutive forceful exhalations, utilizing the stomach muscle tissues with a one second pause after every.

3. Calming the Nervous System

As soon as the snatch portion of the occasion is full, I make use of the protocol under to calm my nervous system down earlier than beginning the ramp-up for the clear & jerk portion of the competitors. After which use it once more after the clear & jerk.

  • A chilled breath inhaling on a rely of 1 and exhaling on a of rely 1-2-3.
  • Diaphragmatic respiration with suggestions (contact a wall with the abdomen).
  • Yogic respiration.
Mira won the IWF Masters World Weightlifting Championships

Conclusion

Whilst I write this text and relive the occasions of that day, I really feel my coronary heart racing and respiration turning into static. Understanding that these respiration methods calm me down and put together me for aggressive occasions of any type, helps me relaxation assured I’ll at all times succeed irrespective of the end result.

Thanks for taking the time to learn my story.

Your 2022 Masters World Weightlifting Champion of the fifty-year-old/55kg weight class on behalf of america of America and StrongFirst Licensed Senior Teacher, Mira Kwon Gracia.

Mira Kwon Gracia
Based mostly in Oregon, Mira Kwon Gracia makes use of kettlebells, barbells, and aggressive Olympic weightlifting to realize her energy coaching targets. As a coach, witnessing 15 years’ value of the profound bodily, psychological, and emotional enhancements energy coaching affords, her teaching follow has remodeled right into a journey to empower the person. Mira presently works with athletes of all ranges to construct lasting outcomes, sturdiness, and resiliency in her college students. She is the co-founder of Industrial Energy the place she coaches the fitness center’s Olympic lifting program and competitors staff. Mira believes strongly in persevering with training attending educational seminars like Second Wind with Pavel Tsatsouline and The Artwork of Teaching with Ursula Papendrea. She is the 2022 Masters World Weightlifting Champion of the fifty-year-old/55kg weight class on behalf of america of America, the 2021 Masters Pan American Weightlifting Champion in fifty-year-old/55kg weight class, an Superior Sports activities Efficiency Coach and Membership Coach with the USAW, a StrongFirst Licensed Senior Teacher (StrongFirst Elite, SFG II, SFL, and SFB teacher).

For extra data and assets relating to the follow of StrongFirst rules within the sport of weightlifting, please don’t hesitate to contact Mira on the StrongFirst discussion board @mgracia to start out a dialogue for others to be taught and share. Energy to you!

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