No one understands the power of breathing like someone with asthma. As a kid my asthma was bad enough that running around the block was impossible. In Army Basic Training I could barely pass the 2-mile run for the PT test. I still have minor asthma as an adult.
I learned the power of breathing on an Army base (Ft. Gordon, Georgia).
I had a fight coming up and hit the track for some road work. After finishing a difficult interval run, I felt my pulse pounding in my ears, my gums ached, and I couldn’t catch my breath.
It occurred to me, “Our breath isn’t something we control. We work ourselves hard and whatever happens, happens.” Slowly I regained control of my breath.
My asthma was never fully cured. As a runner at my physical peak, my top 5-mile run time was 35 minutes. That was while training hard, and my 2-mile PT time for the Army was never better than 12:30.
But my cardio was good enough to train boxing and even win.
There was never a good course on breathing – until now.
Wim Hof’s Breathing Course is well worth the price.
Like most of you, I learned about Wim Hof from the Joe Rogan podcast. During the Joe Rogan Podcast, Wim Hof led Joe through a breathing exercise that had Joe able to hold his breath for two minutes and thirty seconds. (Read: The Animal Within.)
My own Gorilla Mindset breathing techniques are effective to improve your focus and intensity, but Hof’s method is systematic and detailed. I’ve been following it by the book for the past six weeks.
There’s more to Wim Hof’s breathing technique than breath alone.
His full course is based on breathing, cold therapy, commitment, and physical exercise.
While breathing is the based of the method, you’ll be introduced to cold showers, contrast showers, and cold baths. Hof also teaches you how to exercise while holding your breath and performing various stretches.
Commitment is important, as you must trust the process for it to work. Perform the exercises without judgment. Witness the process. Focus on your breathing.
And oh wow, the method works.
The Wim Hof Breathing Method explained.
I’m not going to give away Hof’s course, as that would be theft. That said, Hof has made some of his material public, and that’s fair to share.
Perform 3 sets of 30-40 reps.
You start by taking in 30-40 deep breaths. You go fully in, as deeply as possible, for one breath. You then exhale. You “let go” of the breath rather than forcefully expel oxygen from your lungs.
On the final breath (or rep) of your set, you exhale. Then hold your breath.
Keep a stop watch handy.
Once you need oxygen (Wim Hof stresses that you should not try to go too hard, relax, enjoy the process), take one deep breath in. Hold that breath for 10-15 seconds.
Immediately begin another set.
Wim Hof breathing method summary:
- 3 sets of 30-40 breaths
- After exhaling on the last breath, hold your breath for as long as you can (time it with a stop watch)
- When you need oxygen, take on a deep breath. Hold that for 10-15 seconds.
- Begin your second set.
- Once you get more advanced, you’ll perform some exercises with your breath held.
“Fully in. Let go.”
During the course, you find yourself repeating Hof’s mantras. He emphasizes that your breathing exercises should not be forced. “Fully in, let go.”
Do not force the breathing exercises. Focus on the process. It is not a competition.
After mastering the breathing exercises, Hof has you perform some yoga stretches.
Later in the course you introduce cold water training.
You’ll also learn how to generate more power in your body by doing push-ups while holding your breath.
How I’ve been doing cold water training while using Wim Hof breathing.
Cold water therapy and contrast showers are part of the Wim Hof method. As I’ve been doing contrast showers for over a year, I skipped ahead a bit.
I have access to a cold water and warm water pool. The cold water pool is at 19 to 21 degrees and the warm water pool is at 30 degrees. Depending on ambient air temperature, the cold water pool gives me shivers and goose bumps when not focused on my breathing.
Using contrast therapy/Wim Hof breathing:
I perform the Wim Hof breathing method twice a day.
Here’s my schedule for each session:
- Jump into cool water pool. Do not do the breathing technique. Just get cold.
- Jump into the warm water pool. Feel the capillaries dilate as blood rushes to the surface of your skin.
- Repeat the process 3-5 times.
After the warm-up, I hop into the cold water.
I perform 4 sets of Wim Hof breating exercises.
On the final set, I hold my breath (do not exhale) and swim a lap in the cold water. I started off only able to make it one-half the length of the pool. Today I was able to make it the full length.
- Warning: Do not do this. That’s dangerous. The life guards keep a close eye on me as they think I’m a weirdo who performs abundance posture exercises in cold water as the sun sets in the infinity pool.
The contrast therapy boosts your lymphatic system. Today I almost threw up, as the cold water/hot water got lymph fluid moving.
The Wim Hoff Course is a professional product, and it’s what I’ll model a Gorilla Mindset video course after.
Wim Hof’s course is a full, 10-week course with a workbook, numerous videos, and articles from scientific journals explaining why the Wim Hof method works.
Week 1 provides you a workbook, access to numerous videos and articles, and a full introduction to the Wim Hof breathing method.
I commit a full 30 minutes to my breathing exercises, and I do this twice daily.
You could start off with four minutes a day, as Hof has an abridged video for the time crunched. (There is 10 minute and a 4 minute exercise video.)
The Wim Hof course is the best money I spent all year.
I highly recommend it.
P.S. Do not ask me any specific questions about the Wim Hof method.
I can explain to you how I modified it to suit my lifestyle and strengths.
For example, I do 10 “Wim Hof breaths” when lifting. The amount of lactic acid in the body decreases, and muscular failure is more “neurological” than “lactic.”
But giving away the information or full program would be theft.
Also, if you buy the course, you can also join a private Facebook to ask your questions.
Yes, it’s a relatively costly course, but Wim’s mission is important, and he’s a great human being.