BREATHE IN THE GAINS

More mus­cle, bet­ter en­durance and faster re­cov­ery may be as easy as breath­ing – once you know how.

Men's Health (Singapore) - - BREAKTHROUGH -

bBran­don Lilly is one of the strong­est men on the planet, an elite pow­er­lifter who’s squat­ted 380kg. But then a knee in­jury side­lined him in 2014.

“I had to look at my­self in the mir­ror,” he says. “The whole rea­son I got into pow­er­lift­ing was to look bet­ter, feel bet­ter and get stronger. The only thing that had im­proved was my strength.”

At 156kg, Lilly couldn’t walk through a shop­ping mall with­out get­ting winded. “I wouldn’t have been able to run to save my own life,” he says.

As he re­habbed his knee, Lilly found Belisa Vranich, a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist who is also a breath­ing coach to celebri­ties, ath­letes and mil­i­tary per­son­nel.

It’s not news that deep breath­ing con­fers many ben­e­fits. But like Lilly, many over­look its gym ad­van­tages. Lilly learned he was a “vertical breather,” do­ing the equiv­a­lent of a shrug every time he in­haled. By not us­ing his di­aphragm, Lilly’s breath­ing was less than op­ti­mal.

Vranich taught Lilly to ex­pand and con­tract his mid­sec­tion, bet­ter oxy­genat­ing his mus­cles and or­gans, and cre­at­ing a more sta­ble base for his lifts.

The re­sults came right away. Be­fore his first les­son, he’d be gassed af­ter eight squats with 140kg. Af­ter? He did 23 straight reps.

Life out­side the gym im­proved too. Once lethar­gic, Lilly now feels more en­er­getic. But all he’s run­ning on is air.

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