When participating in any form of combat sport, breathing correctly is extremely important otherwise you will find yourself gassing out very quickly.

Breathing Through your Nose During Boxing

Breathing needs to be through your nose as breathing through your mouth could be an issue-especially in combat sports- if you get caught on the chin with your mouth wide open. It takes time to master as every novice is tense at the beginning, even when just hitting pads.

It is much harder to control your breathing when you start sparring as you are nervous and focus on not getting hit and generally hold your breath.

Top Trick: Exhale on every strike and you will naturally inhale.

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Also, this should give more power in your shots as you will be more relaxed and not tensed. When you are sparring or fighting the last thing you want is to get punched on the nose and get a nose bleed as this will really limit your breathing.

There are Three Main Reasons why Nose Breathing is better than Mouth Breathing During Sports:

  1. Breathing fast means moving fast: exhaling air quickly through your nose helps you to move much faster and sharper than through the mouth.
  2. Breathing through your nose decreases the amount of breaths you have to take: This is because  breathing through the mouth means 60-70 cycles per minute whereas breathing through the nose is about 40-50 cycles per minute. Breathing less means you use much less energy and you can absorb more oxygen with a deeper breath too.
  3. Less breathing means that you’re less tired: As suggested above, when breathing through your nose, you’re going to be less tired as you are breathing less and more deeply too.

What’s the best way to breathe during boxing?

Slow Breathing

Slow breathing during boxing is a great way to keep calm whilst boxing as well as allowing you to rest, to strategize, and to save up more energy. However, it’s not a good idea to continue slow breathing throughout your time in the ring. The best times to use slow breathing is when you’re moving around the ring, in between rounds, or out of your opponent’s range.

To breathe slow, simply:

  1. Inhale slowly through the nose
  2. Exhale slowly through the nose

As suggested above, breathing through your nose is the best way to catch your breath during boxing not only as it is the safest way to breath (in case of any facial punches/strikes), but it is also the deepest and most effective way to breathe as it pushes the air deep into the stomach and gives the body more oxygen.

Fast Breathing

The best times to breathe quickly during boxing is anytime you need to use fast and explosive movements such as defending, slipping or even fast footwork. However, using fast breathing excessively during a fight can lead to tiredness, out of breath and more likely to lose a fight due to lack of concentration from the tiredness.

To breathe fast, simply:

  1. Inhale slowly or quickly through the nose (you can breathe through your mouth, but this is the least preferable method because of the reasons detailed previously)
  2. Exhale quickly through the mouth in short bursts. However, one short burst can be used for one fast movement such as a punch, slip, dash, etc.

This is because inhaling slowly initially can help you stay relaxed and calm during a fight and helps bring the air deeper into your stomach instead of into your chest. Air exhaled from the stomach will give you more power than air exhaled from the chest and can help increase the power of your strikes during a fight.

Top Tip: Sports Rec suggests that during a fight you should ‘Breathe naturally in through your nose and out through your mouth. If you pay attention to this cycle and rhythm, it can help you focus on controlling your breathing as your body demands more oxygen.’

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Why is Breathing so Important in Boxing?

Evolve MMA suggests that:

‘The greatest boxers and technical fighters focus on the small details. Every little movement in boxing is significant to each technique. One of the most often overlooked aspects of technique is proper breathing.

Proper breathing in boxing is very important and can ensure that a boxer is maximizing every technique’s potential. It affects more of a boxer’s game than you may think initially and is a very big factor in how a boxer performs in a fight.’

What do I do if I get a nose bleed in boxing?

When you’re sparring and you get a nose bleed your coach may pull you out while the bleeding stops, but in a competition you would have to continue and this would be very frustrating.

To prevent getting nose bleeds work harder on your defense with a tighter guard and more head movement. You could also get a more protective head guard with a full face design or face bar.

Fighters loosen up their nose by using the palm of the glove to massage it.

How do I Stop my Nose Bleeding During a Fight?

If you have a nosebleed, you should:

  1. Sit down and lean forward, with your head tilted forward
  2. Pinch your nose just above your nostrils for 10 to 15 minutes
  3. Breathe through your mouth

Holding an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel) on the top of the nose may help reduce the blood flow. But the evidence to show it works is not very strong.

Check out the video below for more tips on how to breathe properly during boxing: