What Breathing Pattern to use for which situation?

What Breathing Pattern to use for which Situation?

By now we have learned several different Breathing Patterns and Methods.

Now it can get quite confusing at first on how to decide what pattern you’re going to use for what situation, that’s why we wrote this Article: In this Article you’ll learn the three main reasons to adapt a breathing pattern, and which pattern suits that outcome.

The Three different outcomes are:

  • Raise intra-abdominal Pressure
  • Lower your Heart Rate
  • Raise your heart rate

Let’s get more in depth about each outcome and on what pattern to use.

Breathing for high intensity exercises

You can use the following breathing patterns during different times in a day. For example; as a separate breathing exercise, during power lifting or weightlifting.

These two different breathing patterns are:

  • Power breathing
  • Reverse breathing


If you are doing High intensity interval training (HIIT), the above two ways might not be the best, as natural breathing is more beneficial for that type of activity.

What is it good for

Both styles, as described above will help to compress the core, creating a safe environment for the spine and internal organs, while allowing the practitioner to exert more strength.

Breathing to lower your heart rate

Sometimes you want to lower your heart rate, for example to regenerate faster in your rest times, to relax, make it easier to go to sleep or to meditate.

The following breathing patterns will lower your heart rate:

  • 1-2 Breathing
  • 1-4-2 breathing
  • Square breathing

What is it good for

These type of breathing patterns will give you greater control over your breathing and respiratory systems, while enforcing good breathing habits, lower blood pressure and more effective use of oxygen.

Breathing to raise your heart rate

You just learned how to use your breathing to lower your heart rate, now you are going to learn how to raise your heart rate.

What is it good for

This type of breathing is good, if you quickly want to warm up for a training session, or an event such as a fight in martial arts.

How does it work?

This type of breathing is quite interesting; however, it is hard to learn.

We now know that exhaling will relax, and inhaling will tense your body. It is also directly connected to your heart rate. Exhaling will lower your heart rate, and inhaling will increase your heart rate.

To use this mechanism in order to raise our heart rate, you want to inhale in a rapid succession.

To start breathing in in a quick succession, we are going to combine the natural breathing pattern with forced and quick exhales.

This is the ‘rotation’:

  1. Inhale through the nose
  2. Push your belly out
  3. Pull your navel to the spine
  4. Compress the core by rolling your shoulders forward and pelvis up
  5. This causes a forced exhale.


Then repeat this in a quick succession, you can easily breathe out twice per 3 seconds, if not quicker.

A few tips:

Inhale through the nose; it goes quicker if you push your belly out as done in the “relaxing” phase of the natural breathing pattern.

Force an exhale through the mouth; it goes quicker if you exhale by compressing your core, such as done in the exhaling phase of the natural breathing pattern.


A little note: I barely ever use this breathing pattern, it is only useful if you are going to have a training session and have no time for a proper warm up.

Alternatively, if you are in between athletic events and no time, or place to warm up.

Reclaiming your breath in a stressful situation

Sometimes we are in a situation where we lost control over our breathing, for example in a panicking attack, or after a too intense training session or athletic event.

It is very important to reclaim the control over our breathing as soon as possible, so you can take control of the situation afterwards.

What is it good for

This way of breathing is a good way to reclaim control over your breathing.

How does it work?

How it works is simple, we force ourselves step by step to start breathing in a healthy way, lower our heart rate and lower the rate of breathing.

These are the steps to take:

  1. Force yourself to breathe in through the nose. Cover your mouth if necessary.
  2. Push your belly out. Push all the air low into the belly. This will increase the amount of air taken in per breathe, but slow your breathing down.
  3. Perform a few forced and sharp exhales. This will reset your breathing pattern and give you the control back over the exhaling length.
  4. Then perform a few long and deep exhales, remember we are still breathing through the belly.
  5. Start by performing square breathing, a good length is the 4-second square breathing.


These steps will make sure that you got the control back, and will stop any panicking attack, or hyperventilation.


You now know what the different Breathing Patterns are, and how to choose which Breathing Pattern to use in the different situations that you might find yourself in.

This was the sixth and last part in our Series on “How Breathing makes You Stronger“.

We hope that you have enjoyed this series, and that you have learned something useful from them.

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