4 Myths About Nasal Breathing
Written by Kirsten Ahrendt

We talk about it all the time in the gym. We program it in portions of our in-house, online, and personalized programs. We have published a few blogs and videos on the topic. We receive a ton of questions about it from our members and online followers. You guessed it – nasal breathing! Many of the questions and pushback we receive are due to misconceptions or misinformation about nasal breathing and I’m here to squash those and convince you to start using your nostrils for their intended purpose. Here’s what we most commonly hear.

Myths About Nasal Breathing

#1 – Nasal breathing is just for warm- ups, long slow distance, or recovery days.
I’ll call a spade a spade – if you think this statement is true, it means you haven’t fully developed your ability to nasal breathe, built up your CO2 tolerance, or progressively challenged the ability (like you would progressively increase load on a squat cycle). You CAN maintain nasal breathing at a much higher power output than you realize (~80% of maximal effort), but ONLY IF you have developed the skill to do so. If you’re unable to do that, it’s simply because you haven’t developed the skill and capacity yet. You are still a GRASSHOPPA, not a ninja.

#2 – I have a deviated septum, I can’t nasal breathe.
I too, have a deviated septum and can nasal breathe. It may feel difficult at first. The structures of our nasal cavity and sinuses are not rigid, they have plasticity to them – the more we use them, the more they will adapt to what we are asking of them. There are exceptions – there are some people that truly have decreased nasal airway and capacity…you are likely not that 1%.

# 3 – I can go faster when I breathe through my mouth.
Sure. Kind of. For a little bit. Until you burn out and can’t go at all? Breathing through your mouth is useful for certain things, like TOP END power outputs and efforts. But if you are constantly relying on your V8 pickup truck with a five-thousand horsepower engine to do the work, when a simple, energy-efficient Prius could move the load, you’re blowing smoke…literally. The V8 engine will ALWAYS be capable of more power than the Prius. But if the V8 engine is your daily driver…you’re wasting a lot of gas, energy, and resources.

#4 – Nasal breathing doesn’t have any carryover to life.
Don’t get me started on this. Did you read the 10 facts about breathing? Please go back and do so! In general, nasal breathing and incorporating breathing protocols in your life and training will aid in the following things (and more)

  • breath mechanics (yay – the life giving act of breathing!)
  • energy management (you now have gears 1, 2, 3 and 4, rather than just gear 1 and 5).
  • stress response (in life and sport)
  • increased CO2 tolerance (leading to better health and performance)

So if you want to get better at your workouts – and LIFE – it’s time to start working on your nasal breathing. Stay tuned for drills and exercises to use, both during training and outside of the gym, that will help you make rapid improvements in just one month’s time!

Also Check Out…

Rethink Your Breathing

I Started Nasal Breathing, Now What?

Freshen Up Your Breath(ing)

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Sharon Rema
Sharon Rema
September 25, 2020 4:35 am

Good share! Thanks

Last edited 1 year ago by Sharon Rema
Candy Olkey
Candy Olkey
September 23, 2020 11:39 am

I just read this today and I love it! I try to get in at least 3 days of nasal breathing work each week. I generally do 10 min on the AB or Rower or run a mile – 1.5 miles. Well today was proof for me that it’s working. Did 90s work/90s rest for 3 rounds of 10 cal AB followed by max jumping lunges. I found myself nasal breathing through much of the AB and I actually sustained above 70 RPM with a max of 79 (which is a win for me..def a PB)! It really helped calm… Read more »