Just One More Rep!

Can’t breath… Must get one more rep…

Ever catch yourself thinking that.  We all have, so why is it we “can’t breathe”  Why is it that these WOD’s bring us to our knees?  We can break it down by how effective you breathe.

The muscle’s you use in your body to breathe consist of: diaphragm, the internal and external intercostal muscles, the muscles between your ribs.  With the inhalation and exhalation of a breath, these muscles expand and contract to allow your lungs to inflate and exchange oxygen.  When you are breathing hard in a WOD and it feels like no matter how hard, or how deep the breath you take it never seems to be enough.  This could be labeled as Respiratory Muscle Fatigue (RMF).

RMF occurs when your respiratory muscles have reached fatigue stage during periods of prolonged and maximal exercise levels. Think of it this way: When you are at a high level of exercise, your cardiac output (blood flow) increases to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide faster in your lungs.  Thus you have less cardiac output for the rest of your body.  Included in that are the respiratory muscles which will then increase RMF.  Just like your shoulders are “destroyed” by HSPU and shoulder press, your respiratory muscles are “destroyed” by an increased respiratory rate.

So how do we reduce RMF? Do you remember when you first started CrossFit, after every WOD you would have a side ache or numbness in your arms or legs.  You were in a version RMF.  If you have kept records of your progress while CrossFitting, you have noticed an increase in reps and decrease in times.  You are increasing the amount of work you are able to perform before you go into RMF.  So keep up the good work and don’t resist breathing, breathe more more often!