Following on from my last article and ‘Cross Training for Pole Performance’ I wanted to explore the topic of ‘breathing’ for pole. Hands up all those who have held their breath while doing a pole trick?! My guess is probably everybody, at one stage or another.
Breathing – or correct breathing – is when “the diaphragm contracts concentrically, while specific abdominal musculature contract eccentrically during inhalation. During expiration, the roles of these muscles are reversed”.
Breathing out brings oxygen into the blood and muscles, and ensures you are moving from a calm place, rather than fight or flight mode, which can lead to tension and injury. It prepares your body and muscles for the exertion that is to come and the strength required to perform the task.
Often, when we are excited to do a new pole trick, we grit our teeth while holding a move or position and think ‘if I can just get my… to reach my…” and at the same time, we usually forget to breath. While holding your breath, whether it’s in or out, it causes your mind and body to become tense, however, a tense body will lose its ability to be strong and flexible. Think of a stick, it will bend a little, but push a bit more and it will break.
Exhale as you exert your energy. For example, when performing a straddle/invert, exhale as you invert, then breath in to hold, exhale to descend. If you cannot breathe during a pole move, you do not yet own the pole move. Think of your favourite pole trick, I bet you can hold it for some time and breath comfortably throughout. Next, think of a harder move, even your nemesis move – my guess is you hold your breath getting into it, and likely throughout the move.
Breathing IS important, particularly when performing. If you hold your breath during a move, you will find you have to gasp during the next trick, which will then interfere with your flow and overall performance.
I am setting you a challenge! Your test is to do a move that you have trouble holding and actively concentrate on how you breath. I want you to try counting out loud – 1, breathe out through your mouth; 2, in through your nose, etc. See how many breaths you can get and whether the move feels more comfortable. Do this over the next week a few times and see how your stability and focus in the move has improved, just by breathing.
Exerts from The Importance of Breathing Blog by Mel Nutter
Credit – The Dance Bible Blog.