Workout of the Day

Too Much Of A Good Thing


Did you know there is such a thing as breathing too much? While it may seem like breathing faster or at a higher volume will get more air into your body and give you more oxygen to use as fuel, especially in the context of exercise, the opposite can actually be the case.

To understand why, we’ll need a quick physiology lesson.

Breathing serves two purposes: 1) get oxygen into the body, and 2) get carbon dioxide, a byproduct of muscles doing work, out of the body. There’s a phenomenon called the Bohr effect that dictates how much oxygen actually gets into your muscles to get used. According to the Bohr effect, the more carbon dioxide present, the better your body does at releasing oxygen from the bloodstream and into the muscles to be used as fuel; conversely, if there’s low carbon dioxide, oxygen molecules aren’t released into the muscles as readily. Think of this like the fuel efficiency of your engine. More carbon dioxide present makes for a more efficient engine.

Back to breathing: if you breathe too much, your body gets rid of more carbon dioxide than it should, and your muscles get less oxygen to be used as fuel. Do this habitually, and your body will adapt to feel a need to get rid of carbon dioxide more than it actually should (carbon dioxide buildup is the primary cause of the impulse to breathe). This leads to your engine getting “stuck” in a low efficiency mode, and the cycle continues, and cascades into problems both at rest and during exercise. Perhaps breathing isn’t the sexiest subject, but it’s an important one if you care at all about your health and performance.

The long and short of it is this: while your impulse may be to open your mouth wide and start sucking wind when the going gets tough, you would do well to limit this type of high-volume breathing to truly maximal efforts and emergencies only. And the good news is this: if your engine’s running on low efficiency mode because of poor breathing habits, all it takes is some dedicated breathwork and awareness to get your motor back to running efficiently.

- PS


  • Front squat - 3,3,3


  • 4 rounds for reps:

  • In 90s:

    • 12 DB thrusters (50/35)

    • Max strict pull-ups

  • Rest 90s