6 x 6 Breathing for Optimal Performance

6 x 6 breathing is a technique that I have been using to challenge my running and breathing style whenever I exercise. This video will talk about using this for running, but you can use it for any exercise activity. It is based off the principles outline in Breath by James Nestor where the optimal breathing pattern for humans is 5.5 seconds inhale, 5.5 second exhales. I simplified it to 6×6 so you can count in your head (if you want to go ahead and count 5.5 feel free). This breathing method optimally allows your lungs the time to use the oxygen you breathe in. When you breath faster than this, you lungs don’ t have enough time for gas exchange to completely occur and therefore you are wasting your energy by breathing faster. Also, breathing slowly will help you body stay relaxed and allow you to focus on what you’re doing (running, biking, whatever) instead of how out of breath you are. This breathing method is coupled with breathing exclusively through you nose. I admit it takes some practice to breathe through your nose, but it will help you optimally pressurize your airway (which opens it up) uses your diaphragm the way it was designed (which when you start trying to breathe this way your body will find this extremely difficult, but with time your breathing musculature will get strong and this will get easier. I will talk about breathing like this in running clinics I will host, but until then (coming soon this spring) take a look at this video and challenge yourself. Just be careful, if you get dizzy or lightheaded you just need to slow down and concentrate on your breath, don’t push it too much, trust your body.

Brian McCarroll