When most people talk about BJJ training their main focus is always on muscle strength and rightfully so. However, experts recommend that you need full-body strength which will include the strength of your mind as well as your lungs. When we exercise our lungs sync with our muscle movement which is the main reason we are able to supply our all muscles with an ample amount of oxygen that we can easily help our body to function properly.
In case the oxygen supply is not enough, our heart starts working more, our lungs start breathing heavily, and eventually, this impacts our body performance and we get tired easily.
The main purpose of our lungs is to help our body get enough oxygen that can be used for breaking down the fats and glycogen to supply energy. In case oxygen is not enough, the body starts the anaerobic process of breaking down the stored energy.
Eventually, the body gets the energy supply but it leaves a byproduct known as lactic acid stored in the muscles. Eventually, you will feel stiffness in the muscles and this will require you to rest. This is quite painful which is the reason people usually avoid this altogether.
The remedy so far is to work to increase lungs capacity so you can take in more oxygen and help your body maintain a good amount of oxygen so that your body doesn’t have to work hard or look for other ways to break down body fat.
With the help of this article, we will mainly highlight the importance of lung capacity. We will talk about some benefits of lung capacity and how you can work on improving your lung capacity. Apart from this, we will also highlight how your lung capacity will help you improve your BJJ performance.
What Is Lung Capacity And Why Do You Need It?
Our lung capacity means that the amount of oxygen your lung can hold when it inhales. However, most people think that it is all about size so no matter what you do, you will have the same lung capacity. On the contrary, you will see that animals that run more or have to tackle the air pressure usually have better lungs. In short, it is not about the size but the type of activities you have to perfume.
A simple example is a horse. According to medical science, a horse has one of the most powerful respiratory systems because it has to run fast for a long time. However, an elephant has a bigger size but doesn’t have the same lung development. They get tired easily and it takes longer for them to run. Similarly, birds have much better lungs with more folds and better capacity although they are much smaller. According to medical science, we use just 40% of our lung capacity if we do not work on our breathing techniques.
The reason you need to have a good lung capacity is that it will facilitate your movement. You will have less fatigue and your body will still have enough oxygen in the blood by the end. Your heart and other body parts do not have to work too hard and this will also help you improve your movement technique. You will not feel drained by the end of the workout, instead, you will still feel energized and your muscles will be strengthened as well.
How to Increase Your Lung Capacity for Better BJJ Performance?
Most of us take breathing for granted because we think it is involuntary. However, we need to realize that with time when we do not work on our breathing technique it develops away according to our differences in the external environment of biological tissues. People who live in mountains breathe completely different as compared to people who live in plain areas.
Similarly, people who are physically active breathe much better than people who live a passive life. Good lung capacity has so many benefits and these benefits are not just limited to exercises or athletic performance. They are also linked with day-to-day activities. Some of the main benefits that are linked with good lung capacity include:
- Lung capacity helps strengthen the respiratory muscles which help with breathing even in most congested places.
- It also helps with optimizing the breathing rate which means you do not have to increase the rate of breathing, just focus on the amount of oxygen you let in.
- It is very important for lung function which includes supplying a good amount of oxygen and helps with supplying energy.
- An increase in lung capacity increases the oxygen level in blood and this eventually helps with brain function so you can stay in your senses and not get confused even when the conditions are dire.
- It also helps you calm down and stay focused during the game.
- It improves strength, endurance, and stamina that eventually helps you stay energized and you do not feel tired.
- It is very good for muscle function which is the reason you stay in shape and do not face muscle cramps etc.
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How can Lungs Capacity be increased?
Most people think that once you lose your lung capacity you cannot get it back. The main issue is that if you do not exercise or focus on breathing techniques you will never be able to recover the lung capacity. However, if you perform exercises, amplify your physical activity and work on your breathing you will improve your lung capacity eventually.
There are so many different machines that are available in the market that can help you improve your lung capacity. However, most of these machines are a little expensive so you might have to reconsider. Some simple exercises will offer you the same benefits that you can acquire from
expensive breathing-based machines.
What You Will Get in the Market?
In the market, you will see that there are machines available with tubes that are filled with balls and there is a breathing pipe connected at one end. You have to breathe in that tube so that your exhaled air pushes the ball upwards and it touches the roof of the cylinder. This is a very effective machine and these exercises will help you improve or increase lungs capacity. Most BJJ instructors recommend that you need to use this machine as well. However, other options are natural and offer almost the same results.
In the market, you will see that there are machines available with tubes that are filled with balls and there is a breathing pipe connected at one end. You have to breathe in that tube so that your exhaled air pushes the ball upwards and it touches the roof of the cylinder. This is a very effective machine and these exercises will help you to increase lungs capacity. Most BJJ instructors recommend that you need to use this machine as well. However, other options are natural and offer almost the same results.
Blow a Balloon
We have all blown a balloon on special occasions like parties and birthday celebrations however, balloons are very good for the lungs. You need to blow at least two to three balloons every day just to ensure that you are breathing fine and your technique is good enough.
Deep Breathing Technique
This is a psychological method that is also used in mediation and yoga. You have to sit down cross-legged. Your one hand needs to be on your chest whereas your other hand needs to be on your belly. Now let in the air and see the lungs get filled with air. You will see that your rib cage will rise and this will offer a space for air.
Now hold it there for at least 5 seconds and then finally let it leave your lungs through your mouth. You will see that when you inhale the air, your belly becomes tight, and eventually, when you let it out, it comes back to the original position.
This is a very good technique for breathing. You will have to imagine the best place that you have ever visited, try to find something close to nature, and then inhale as much air as you can. Now hold it there, feeling the air tightening the lungs.
Now think about something that you have experienced and in this process keep your lips tight and your mouth closed. Now let go of the air after at least a few seconds. You will see that your lungs will burn a little but it will improve your overall lung capacity.
Simple exercises like cycling, swimming, etc. are equally important for breathing and this will
eventually, help you with BJJ.
How does Lungs’ Capacity reduce?
Lung capacity reduces over time when we do not focus on our breathing techniques or we just do
not realize that we need a technique for that. One of the most important issues is that we have a
very low physical activity which eventually doesn’t challenge our lungs and they opt for a very feeble technique of breathing. People with little or no exercise eventually lose their original capacity till they reach half or even as low as 40%.
When you exercise you need to help your body use the right breathing technique. Sync your breathing with your muscle movement so it can facilitate the overall movement process as well.
Most people have a passive lifestyle where they either have to work indoors or they have desk jobs. In case they have fieldwork or they have to stay outside, it is less about movement and more about supervision or handling machinery that can facilitate the work. To improve the lung capacity, you need to function properly and work out.
Apart from this you also need to keep in mind the recommended techniques of breathing. When you breathe your main focus needs to be on healing.
When you inhale you need to use your nose so that you can only let in the air that is moist, hot, and clean. On the contrary, if you breathe from the mouth, there is no way of cleaning the air, instead, you will end up drying your spit and your mouth will get dry as a result.
The second phase is exhaling which requires you to let go of the air through the mouth. This is important because the moist air coming out will help you keep the inner surface of the mouth moist and warm as well.
To sum it all up, it all comes down to body strength and energy supply. Most people panic in emergency and accidental situations which eventually leads them to hyperventilate and their body struggles to gain enough energy. However, in some cases, if you keep practising, exercising, and breathing properly, your body builds muscle memory that responds even in the worst kind of situation. According to experts in BJJ, if you work on breathing exercises you will
eventually see that even when you are in a submission position, you can convert it into dominance. However, your breathing strength is very important. Most people claim that this is because of panic situations, whereas others claim that it is mainly because when you are in a submission position, someone is sitting on your chest which blocks the windpipe and the fighter gets very confused.
Overall, there is no doubt that these things are important but if you focus on the overall breathing technique and learn to use at least 90% of your lung capacity you will eventually see that it will help you breathe properly even when you are stressed and you will not feel hyperventilated.
Ann Edward is a fully qualified personal trainer. She has been helping people in the field of bodybuilding and fitness for more than a decade. Her career in nutrition and physical therapy has made her a fine addition to our team.