Think about this for a second: When you're training at intensity, how do you breath? Are you making the most of every breath, taking controlled deep breaths, sucking in that much needed oxygen? Do you let it fill you up to the very bottom of your lungs? When you lift do you breath in and out at the right time, making sure you're efficient? Or do you take short panicked breaths? Do you often hold your breath? Learning to breath is crucial to exercise, and many of us, as we reach such a state of intensity in a workout, lose the ability to breath efficiently. We pant and gasp. We pump our chest and breath with our shoulders, instead of our diaphragm. This is where Metabolic Breathing Ladders come in.  Breathing Ladders will teach you how to breath (and maximize every breath). What Is A Breathing Ladder: A breathing ladder consists typically of a  1:1 ratio of a lift and breath. For example, with a kettle bell: Do 1 swing. Put the bell down. Take 1 breath. Pick the bell up. Do 2 swings. Put the bell down. Take 2 breaths. this goes on and on, until you ascend the ladder at about 20 breaths, and 20 reps. Then you descend the ladder and begin to work backwards to lower reps and shorter reps. This is when it get's tricky, and breathing gets more important. What does a Breathing Ladder do? Breathing Ladders focus your breathing, teaching you how to maximize your breath, control your repository pattern, increase your VO2 max and give you a ton of mental toughness. In many workouts we're told a specific amount of time to rest between sets, but not how many breaths. You stare at the weight or kettle bell until it speaks to you and tells you to pick it up. Then you can control the movements, the loads and the number of reps, but the forgotten variable is breath. Just like nutrition and hydration, breathing has a great impact on how you workout and how you recover. If you complete an intense effort like a sprint, you cannot fully get going again until you catch your breath - but in a race you do not have time to fully catch your breath. This is where Breathing Ladders can help train your cardiorespiratory system.  In Breathing Ladders rest is measured in breaths.  Now, whether you fill your rest period with calm, meditative breaths or panting gasps matters, and will really effect your workout.  

The Workout:

Do a set of Breathing Ladders ascending and descending up to 20 breaths and 20 swings of a heavy kettle bell. When you are seining the bell you can breath as much as you want. This is what your workout will look like:
  • 1 swing, bell down, 1 breath, bell up
  • 2 swings, bell down, 2 breaths, bell up.
  • 3 swings, bell down, 3 breaths, bell up.
  • 4 swings, bell down, 4 breaths, bell up.....
.... all the way to
  • 20 swings, bell down, 20 breaths, bell up.
.... then.
  • 19 swings, bell down, 19 breaths, bell up.
  • 18 swings, bell down, 18 breaths, bell up.
....all the way back down to
  • 2 swings, bell down, 2 breaths, bell up.
  • 1 swing, bell down, 1 breath, bell up 
  When you feel the most taxed in this workout you will find you switch from nose breathing to mouth breathing. Try not to also switch to panicking gasps. This just means your body's oxygen demand is being tested, and you're challenging the baseline efficiency of your breathing. Mental toughness is key. Also not that Breathing Ladders let you do a very high number of reps in a short amount of time. In this workout you will be doing 400 reps. Hydrate properly before and recover properly afterwards. This type of workout will do best with a higher protein recovery drink like Vega's Performance Protein  and headed into the workout with a lower calorie hydration option.