Superventilation vs Hyperventilation

The idea of breathing heavily on purpose has gained traction in the training world. Because of this there need to be distinct terms for what is being discussed.

This is where the terms above come to play.

Hyperventilation clearly already carries a negative connotation and for just reasons. When one hyperventilates they lose too much CO2, stop using the Oxygen in their body and may pass out. Along with this comes way too much stress on the body and an emotional state completely outside of one’s control.

As we focus on our breathing we don’t want to put ourselves in this stressful state, but buffer ourselves against it. Instead of losing control of our emotions and physical reactions to them we want to have maximum control of our own state of mind and well being. This also means being in control (as much as possible) of our physical selves and using our own biology in purposeful ways.

This is where superventilation comes in to play. Superventilation does involve breathing more than we normally would. However, now the rhythm and volume is completely under your own control. There is a purpose to it and you can turn it off or on or up or down as needed. Superventilation can be extremely beneficial for both creating clear and focused mental states as well as recovering quickly from exercise or other stress.

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