The 20-Minute Breath-Based Interval Workout

With breath-based interval training, you focus on breathing in and out of your nose.

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Not a fan of how many interval workouts – like HIIT and circuit training – leave you breathless and compete against the clock? Try breath-based interval training.

This modality of interval training is more focused on your body, allowing you to refine your form and bring both your body and mind into a more comfortable space.

Read on to learn more about breath-based intervals and try our expert-made breath-based workout.

What are breath-based intervals?

With repetitive or time-based intervals, sometimes people work so hard or so fast that the form breaks down and they risk injury. Or they go in the opposite direction and go a little too easily with themselves, says Lore McSpadden-Walker, CPT, Original Strength Trainer and Founder of Positive Force Movement.

The difference with breath-based interval training is that the focus is on, well, your breath – inhaling and exhaling through your nose – until you work hard enough to breathe through your mouth. (FYI, you can get more air in and out through your mouth than your nose. Once your body reaches a certain intensity, you need to start breathing through your mouth.) At this point, stop doing the exercise and rest for a long time that you can only breathe through your nose again.

Breathing this way helps you listen to your body and get a better understanding of how hard you are actually working, says McSpadden-Walker. It also helps you train at the intensity that suits your body – as opposed to a specific repetition or time limit. (More benefits below!)

You can apply this interval technique to any activity, including kettlebell exercises and treadmill workouts. (Just skip it for heavy weight training. You’ll want to track precise breathing, rep, set, and rest patterns there.)

3 advantages of breath-based intervals

1. You make your workout more enjoyable

Many people stay in a sympathetic state, also known as a fight-or-flight mode, all the time during interval training. Rushing and stressing through your exercises is not a great experience.

“But if you breathe in a way that encourages your body to get into and stay in the parasympathetic state – the rest-and-digestion part of it – it will help make movements feel safer and you do Enjoy exercise more, ”says McSpadden-Wanderer.

2. They build your mental strength

By focusing on your breath, you can work through the toughest parts of the exercise – the parts that make you lose the weight and let go of the plank – and move on instead.

“Even if it is an intensely challenging move, the body reads it as’ This is a safe place. This is an empowering place. This is a place I want to return to, ‘”says Prince Brathwaite, CPT, a certified trainer and owner of Trooper Fitness in New York City. “And it encourages people to develop continuous and sustainable exercise practice that is more joyful and playful.”

3. They tune you into your body

Another benefit to this type of interval is that it helps you connect your mind and body. By making this connection, you can overcome mental blocks that are holding you back from moving forward – literally and metaphorically. It’s especially helpful for those who have a history of trauma, PTSD, or anxiety.

“I work with a lot of trauma survivors so it can definitely be very helpful to find a way that will encourage a level of awareness of what is going on in your body – without being so overwhelming that it can trigger, ”says McSpadden-Walker.

Try this 20-minute breath-based interval workout

Do each of the following exercises for as long as possible while inhaling and exhaling through your nose. When you start breathing through your mouth, rest. Then start working again when you can return to nasal breathing. Repeat for the next exercise. Do as many laps as you can, 20 minutes in total.

The main thing with this breath-based interval training is that you want to stay curious about what your body is telling you, says McSpadden-Walker. You may find it relatively easy to breathe with one movement and not at all for the next exercise. It could simply mean that this exercise is not right for you right now.

“If your body says no, you don’t have to bully yourself,” they say. “You have infinite freedom in how you approach these movements.”

Move 1: leopard rotation

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activity

Body weight training

body part

Section

  1. Start on all fours with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Raise your knees just inches from the floor. When it’s more accessible for you, keep your knees on the floor.
  2. Take a small step forward with your right arm and left foot.
  3. Then take a small step forward with your left arm and right foot.
  4. Take turns doing this until you reach the end of a mat or room.
  5. Then take it backwards and step behind you with the opposite arm and foot.
  6. Continue until you start breathing through your mouth.

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Move 2: Frog Scroll

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activity

Body weight training

body part

[
“Abs”,
“Legs”
]

  1. Lie on your stomach with your forearms on the floor and your elbows under your shoulders.
  2. Roll to your right side, join your left elbow to your left thigh, and come to a sitting position.
  3. Roll back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat rolling to the left, joining your right elbow and right thigh as you come to a sitting position.
  5. Continue alternating until you start breathing through your mouth.

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Step 3: Turkish get-up

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activity

Kettlebell training

region

Full body

  1. Lie on the floor in the fetal position, facing your right side. Hold a kettlebell in your right hand with your arm bent and the ball portion on the back of your wrist.
  2. Roll over to the left to lie face up and place both feet on the floor with knees bent.
  3. Extend both arms up and press the kettlebell straight up over your shoulder.
  4. Lower your left arm and leg onto your left side, both at a 45-degree angle from your body.
  5. Keep your eyes on the kettlebell and your right arm straight over your shoulder throughout the exercise.
  6. Roll onto your left elbow and lift your right shoulder off the floor. Hold the kettlebell straight over your shoulder.
  7. Keep your hips on the floor as you straighten your left arm and screw your hand into the floor, further straightening your torso.
  8. Position your right foot so that you can carry your weight on your left hand and right foot, and use your core to keep your body still.
  9. Push through your right foot to lift your hips off the floor. Bring your left leg under you and slightly behind your hips so you can kneel on your left knee. The ball of your left foot should be in contact with the ground.
  10. Shift your torso to get into a lunge position with your left knee still on the floor. This will lift your left hand off the floor while keeping the kettlebell just above your right shoulder.
  11. Stand up and bring your left leg forward so that you end up with your feet hip-width apart.
  12. Step-by-step reverse the movement to finish lying face up on the floor.
  13. Gently bend your right arm and bring the kettlebell back to the floor to complete the repetition. Use your left arm for support if necessary.
  14. Repeat this until you start breathing through your mouth.

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Move 4: leopard rotation

JW Player placeholder image

activity

Body weight training

body part

Section

  1. Start on all fours with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Raise your knees just inches from the floor.
  2. Lower your hips to the right and keep your knees just inches off the floor.
  3. Then bring them back through the center to the left.
  4. Continue alternating until you start breathing through your mouth.

Show instructions

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