Previously, I talked to breathwork coaches Valentine Thomas and Nabil Ali about their approach to breathing techniques and how they can be applied to BJJ. I signed up for their program and have used it for over a month now. Full disclosure: I paid for the subscription myself and was not compensated for the review – these are purely my thoughts and experiences with their courses.
The user interface of the platform is easy to navigate and the video content is well executed. I didn’t have any issues with streaming, picking up where I left off, or any other platform issues.
Onto the course itself. I took one course, and focused on it for the whole month to make sure I was utilizing the techniques taught with intent and mindfulness. I chose the course “SuperHold” as I thought it would be the easiest to track improvements with hard data (timed breath holds).
The course starts out with a brief introduction of how to breathe in a mindful, efficient way. It goes into the concept of a “breathe-up” – an exercise that oxygenates your body and relaxes muscles going into a breath-hold attempt. It had instructions for final breath loading, CO2 tolerance exercises, and timed breath holds. Valentine films her own breath holds and does a voice over to walk you though it for 1, 2, 3, and 4 minute holds. I found that using the guided holds were key in having successful attempts when I was trying for a new PR.
I started week one with a maximum hold of 1 minute and 32 seconds. Week 2 I hit 2 minutes and 3 seconds, Week 3 I hit 3 minutes flat and Week 4 I hit 4:03 for my all time high. These holds were static, with a breathe up, and before I had worked out for the day. After PR attempts and CO2 tolerance exercises there is a routine for recovery breathing that is fantastic. I’ve been using it after class, between sparring rounds, and post running. It’s been a tremendous addition to my training and it feels as though I’ve upgraded my cardio to a new level. I am fresher at the end of class than I ever have been, my CO2 tolerance is higher, and I am able to push a harder pace longer.
SuperHold exceeded expectations and provided significant improvements with minimal investment. I can’t speak to the other courses offered and how their other breathing techniques may be useful for BJJ, but I am confident in Valentine and Nabil’s coaching. I encourage you to try it for yourself here and I‘d love to hear your experience with this, or any of the other courses they offer; so please reach out to me at @Jackrabbitslim on Instagram.