Double breathing in the snatch test

kb4mk

Double-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
I recently attended the SFG weekend after training for about a year. Despite that amount of time, I still struggled with the snatch test. I was plenty strong, but it seemed that during every attempt I would run into a wall around 3.5 minutes where I felt like death was imminent. After failing the test at the cert, I came home and continued to train but still struggled.

Then, on a whim, I decided to try double breathing after remembering an SF article I read some time ago. Game changer. I don't know if it's that extra little bit of oxygen from what is admittedly a very small second breath, or maybe its just forcing me to regulate my breathing. But no more near-death experiences, and I passed the test soon thereafter.

So I'm curious, has anyone else experimented with double breathing, and what were your thoughts?
 

Oscar

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I recently attended the SFG weekend after training for about a year. Despite that amount of time, I still struggled with the snatch test. I was plenty strong, but it seemed that during every attempt I would run into a wall around 3.5 minutes where I felt like death was imminent. After failing the test at the cert, I came home and continued to train but still struggled.

Then, on a whim, I decided to try double breathing after remembering an SF article I read some time ago. Game changer. I don't know if it's that extra little bit of oxygen from what is admittedly a very small second breath, or maybe its just forcing me to regulate my breathing. But no more near-death experiences, and I passed the test soon thereafter.

So I'm curious, has anyone else experimented with double breathing, and what were your thoughts?
I have only completed the snatch test once, and I´m not an instructor, so I dont have a lot of experience.

When I did the snatch test I didnt have any issues with breath. I managed to keep the breathing rhythm, in this was in spite the test was at the limit of my capacities. I think this can be related with buteyko breathing practice, that teaches the body to breathe less.
 

Colin Stewart

Double-Digit Post Count
Elite Certified Instructor
The science behind the double breath is taught at the Second Wind seminar.

Long story short, you're setting a rhythm and maximising oxygen uptake.

I use double breathing whenever I'm snatching 'light and for reps'.

As a case study of n=3 I've taken SFG candidates, pre cert, from around approximately 85/5min to 100/5min 40 mins later by teaching the double breathing. Caveat, they already had great mechanics on the snatch.
 

kb4mk

Double-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
As a case study of n=3 I've taken SFG candidates, pre cert, from around approximately 85/5min to 100/5min 40 mins later by teaching the double breathing. Caveat, they already had great mechanics on the snatch.
Yeah that's pretty much me right there. It was like the strength and general ability was there but breathing was the one big limiter. Good stuff.

@Colin Stewart, what technique do you recommend? I just started counting the rep at the top of the snatch, it seemed like the simplest way to learn the technique.
 

Sean M

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Hopefully this isn’t too off-topic:

Does this apply to the (double) clean and jerk? What is a good breathing pattern for it? Does it change if it’s a heavy set for 1-3 reps vs higher-rep set (8+)?
 

kb4mk

Double-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
Does this apply to the (double) clean and jerk? What is a good breathing pattern for it? Does it change if it’s a heavy set for 1-3 reps vs higher-rep set (8+)?
I haven't tried it with the C&J but my hunch is that it's something fairly specific to the snatch. In my eyes the C&J is essentially two movements done in quick succession, each deserving their own breath, which I suppose fits the definition of "double breathing." The catch with snatching is that it calls for the biomechanical breathing match at hip extension like the swing, but the snatch takes longer to complete than the swing meaning more time spent between breaths.

That may not be very helpful.... but I'd say experiment with your breathing in the C&J and let us know what you come up with.
 

Mark Limbaga

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Elite Certified Instructor
Hopefully this isn’t too off-topic:

Does this apply to the (double) clean and jerk? What is a good breathing pattern for it? Does it change if it’s a heavy set for 1-3 reps vs higher-rep set (8+)?
Yes it does
 

Van Der Merve

Double-Digit Post Count
You can also try to reverse the breathing pattern during snatch: inhale when the bell is moving up. This way you also use chest muscles to move the bell up. It does two things: make energy use more efficient - more muscles involved in the lift - and makes intercostals required for forceful inhalation stronger.

This is how gireviks breathe. They also take extra breath when fatigue sets in - when the bell is lowered, so 6 breath cycles altogether.
 

Colin Stewart

Double-Digit Post Count
Elite Certified Instructor
Yeah that's pretty much me right there. It was like the strength and general ability was there but breathing was the one big limiter. Good stuff.

@Colin Stewart, what technique do you recommend? I just started counting the rep at the top of the snatch, it seemed like the simplest way to learn the technique.
The idea is you break the down phase of the snatch and the up phase into halves. So you essentially have a series of 'breathing quarters'.

Down #1 - Sniff in one (half air)
Down #2 - Sniff in two (full air)
Up #1 - Fire out of the bottom position
Up #2 - 'no breath' (I guess you could count here, I just count in my head)

The power exhalation comes as you contract the glutes and push the floor, so the exhalation should be finished before you even slip under the 'bell.

I tend to think on the snatch (for reps) that my breath should be over before the 'bell breaks my (standing) eye line. If it's not, I need to re-orientate and readjust.
 

kb4mk

Double-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
The idea is you break the down phase of the snatch and the up phase into halves. So you essentially have a series of 'breathing quarters'.

Down #1 - Sniff in one (half air)
Down #2 - Sniff in two (full air)
Up #1 - Fire out of the bottom position
Up #2 - 'no breath' (I guess you could count here, I just count in my head)

The power exhalation comes as you contract the glutes and push the floor, so the exhalation should be finished before you even slip under the 'bell.

I tend to think on the snatch (for reps) that my breath should be over before the 'bell breaks my (standing) eye line. If it's not, I need to re-orientate and readjust.
Interesting. Maybe what I was doing, in using an audible rep count at lockout as a "breath," doesn't really fit the standard definition of double breathing (although it was effective). I'll definitely give your technique a try, thanks.
 

Eric Addis

Double-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
Just for clarity:

Double Breathing "How do you do it? Simple: on the backswing you sniff in. On the hip pop, you breathe out. Old hat. Now, as the kettlebell is making its final ascent into the lockout, you simply sniff in and breathe out again, but faster. "

From Akeks Salkins article linked here.

And some more descriptions of double breathing (and more) in this article by Derek Toshner. Watch the video in the post.
 
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william bad butt

More than 500 posts
I haven't tried this yet. I'm just breathing in on the descent and breathing out on the ascent. But I am only doing sets of 5 reps via A&A, so that may be ok.
 

Karen Smith

More than 300 posts
Master Certified Instructor
Iron Maiden
Interesting. Maybe what I was doing, in using an audible rep count at lockout as a "breath," doesn't really fit the standard definition of double breathing (although it was effective). I'll definitely give your technique a try, thanks.
This is my preferred method and often teach students do the audible count at lockout and it helps them master the timing and aligns the power breath system the hips where it should be. Once they have trained this way with counting for some time, they can just breath the second breath in place of the audible rep count.
 

Bauer

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Just for clarity:

Double Breathing "How do you do it? Simple: on the backswing you sniff in. On the hip pop, you breathe out. Old hat. Now, as the kettlebell is making its final ascent into the lockout, you simply sniff in and breathe out again, but faster. "

From Akeks Salkins article linked here.

And some more descriptions of double breathing (and more) in this article by Derek Toshner. Watch the video in the post.
Thanks for sharing, those are two brilliant articles.

I always thought the double breath was just a double sniff on the way down, but apparently that is only one variation of it.
 

kb4mk

Double-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
This is my preferred method and often teach students do the audible count at lockout and it helps them master the timing and aligns the power breath system the hips where it should be. Once they have trained this way with counting for some time, they can just breath the second breath in place of the audible rep count.
It's funny. I find that the idea of a second breath at the top of the snatch is hard to process for me. But just tell me to audibly count the rep, and it's a piece of cake. Just a testament to the value of a well thought-out coaching cue...
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Derek Toshner had a nice post on his Facebook page about, if memory serves, not only double but triple breathing for the TSC or SFG snatch. Perhaps he or someone can post a link?

-S-
 
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