When you’re stretching out before training or competition, you probably aren’t thinking too much about breathing patterns. But a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests breathing might have an impact on muscle activity and joint range of motion.

Eighteen recreationally active men and women in their early 20s followed a number of different breathing patterns while stretching hamstring muscles. They included pre-stretch inhale and exhale, during stretch inhale and exhale, over-breathing (hyperventilating) and under-breathing (hypoventilation). Inhaling during the stretch and hypoventilating produced the lowest levels of muscle activity for both men and women, and increased range of motion in female subjects only.

True Strength Moment: This is an interesting study demonstrating how the different systems of your body can work together to produce outcomes. Depending on your sport and goals, you might want to experiment with these breathing strategies when warming up or cooling down.

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