Breathe Like a Champion

By: DEF Co-Founder Prime Hall
May 9, 2020

Breathing is a subconscious action, which makes it easy to take our breathing for granted and even get complacent with how we do it. If you watch a baby breathe, they breathe with their stomach using their diaphragm to fully engage their breathing system. As we age, we begin to naturally begin to breathe more with our chests. The problem with chest-breathing is it’s shallow and does not allow us to take a full breath (maximum volume of air in one breath). Starting each breath with the bottom of our stomach, filling up all the way through our stomach, lungs, and up until our shoulders rise – that is a full breath. Freedivers sometimes breathe-in for over 25 seconds before going down 150 feet in the ocean on one breath. How can we use that to enhance the way we breathe? 

I started getting into breath work and learning about breath holding around 2009 when I was a young Marine getting ready for special operations training. I ended up going through a water survival course where we do different underwater swimming and training techniques. Swimming and underwater training quickly became my favorite part of training; which also helped me prepare for special operations training and then military dive school where water confidence is needed to complete advanced tasks in the pool and in the night dive operations. The only reason why that is important is because I have learned a lot from the military about the safest ways to perform breath holding procedures. After getting out of the military in 2017, I have been working with professional athletes like NFL players, UFC fighters, and Olympians through Deep End Fitness. 

The training that we provide to all of our athletes is focused on the F.R.E.E. Principles:
-Mental Focus
-On Demand Relaxation
-Economy of Motion
-Efficient Breathing

Efficient breathing is critical for any person or athlete to perform at their best. We can break down efficient breathing into two parts: How much we air we can take in (V02 Max) and how we manage and tolerate C02 (lactate threshold). This is apparent for free divers and surfers, having to manage their breath literally to survive. However, as we have evolved the training at Deep End Fitness and started to expand, we see the benefits of our training empowering dozens of professional athletes from many different sports, including UFC Champion Dominick Cruz who has been doing underwater training and breath work with Deep End Fitness for over a year. 

“Dom” has been doing underwater training at least once/week in preparation for his upcoming UFC Bantamweight Title Fight. As one of the top athletes in the world, Dom finds the training to be a critical part of his game. “In a five-round fight, when your lungs are begging for more, I will have it, I will be able to do more,” Cruz said speaking to Prime about his upcoming UFC 250 fight with Henry Cejudo. “There is no way he will out work me, he will drown.”

Give this Breathing Exercise a try!

Box Breathing is a technique used when taking slow, deep, and diaphragmatic breaths. It can heighten performance and concentration while also being a powerful stress reliever. This technique can be beneficial to anyone, especially those who want to meditate or reduce stress. It’s used by everyone from athletes to Special Operators, police officers, firefighters and nurses.

Box Breathing
4 rounds
4-4-4-4 seconds
1. 4sec Inhale
2. 4sec Hold at the top
3. 4sec Exhale
4. 4sec Hold on the bottom