Breathing in Sport

Get the Edge you’ve been searching for, the natural way


The Buteyko Breathing Method is a corrective breathing program that has drastically improved sports men and women's health which underpins their fitness.


Hill Climbing & Sprint Cycling

Having Rowed Competitively for 20 years, I had to give up due to back injury. The doctor told me to cycle 5 time a week to strengthen the muscles in my lower back,
I joined one of the local cycling clubs and found that I enjoyed it at the start of the season. I was finding it took me a long time to recover from a hard training session or race, I would be coughing for 10—15 mins and a lot of lactic acid build up in my legs. After a 10 mile time trail I spoke to Alex, who asked if I always suffered like this, he suggested that he could vastly improve my recovery, with a breathing technique.
After working with Alex, in a very small space of time I found that I had stopped coughing completely and the build up of lactic acid in my legs was reduced.
My performance improved each week with my 10 mile time trail times dropping, by nearly one and a half mins from 27.30 to 26.10.

In my Club, Hill Climbing and Sprint Leagues, I climbed from 9th to finish 4th in both.
Other benefits I found is being more able to cope with stressful situations at work and more relaxed in general.
Ian B, Scotland Taught by Alex Spence""

Martial Arts Master

As a professional martial artist I have been training my mind and body for many years. Breathing exercises and meditation make up a large part of my art.
I was curious about the Buteyko Method so I called Steve Lumsdaine from Breath Connection...

The Buteyko method of breath retraining and related exercises that Steve showed me helped me understand the techniques that I had been using in my meditation and martial arts. Not only did it clarify (scientifically) many of the techniques that I had been exposed to in the Eastern Teachings but it helped me understand many of my own personal experiences and difficulties as well.

I feel now, having been through the Breath Connection course, that I understand many of the traditional breathing practices on a much more subtle level. In particular, the performance enhancing practice of nasal breathing while exercising. I find this technique is providing me with more sustainable endurance and I feel calmer and more composed during training - essential in martial arts. Also after training I feel less tired and a greater sense of well-being.

Sensei Phil Holt - 3rd Dan Master Instructor - Bukido Taijutsu Taught by Steve Lumsdaine

A second makes a big difference

"Where a fraction of a second makes a big difference, correct breathing is an area that we cannot ignore. While I am not asthmatic, I use the Asthma Care program and have found improved performance and health benefits overall. I think in time, all athletes will be considering this approach to retain their competitive edge."
Brian Maher. Kilkenny City Harriers: Taught by Patrick McKeown

Body builder
I spent a weight lifting training session with body builder Steph Sinton Nabba Uni 2006 Pro-Am Overall Winner. I instructed Steph on his breathing which reduce his recovery time from 1 hour 30 minutes down to 10 minutes.
Steph Sinton: Taught by Alex Spence ""

Rugby: New Zealand All Blacks
Con Barrell is well-known as a rugby player in his native Canterbury, New Zealand, and now nationally as an All Black reserve. What many rugby fans may not realise is that Con is also a chronic asthmatic.

"I would train hard and be rearing to go to the next big game for the Canterbury Crusaders, only to be knocked back by asthma after catching a slight cold", he says.
"It was heart-breaking. My family and friends would ask, 'why are you doing this to yourself'? because I had to take so much medication to get through a game. It worried me as well, and I seriously thought of giving the whole thing away. But thankfully that is a thing of the past - life is only going to get better from now on!"...

Con Barrell New Zealand: Taught by Russell and Jennifer Stark

Triathlete who nose breathes

Eexercise with your mouth closed! I used pauses and Reduced Breathing (RB) to increase my CP at first to get rid of asthma and my sucepibility to bronchitis. I was getting bronchitis/pneumonia 3-4 times per year since about year 2000. Eventually, I quit doing pauses and RB when I felt I had acheived a good level of health. I am a triathlete and push myself with biking and running. But the only difference now is that I keep my mouth closed no matter what. Since I found Buteyko a little over a year and a half ago I have had two very very small head colds. In fact the colds I have had were so small, my nose only got a little runny (not stuffy). The colds never went to my chest like they normally would. I never had to be sick in the bed or call in sick to work. I feel that my daily intense exercise with my mouth closed is responsible for maintianing my improved level of health.

Usually, when I enter a race I have a 50% chance of placing top 3 in my age group. It really depends on the field and how competitive the other racers are. Also, I focus more on distance now than before. When I had asthma, I could not go as long. Now I can go and go and go and go as long as I want as long as I want. When I run I usually go anywhere from 7-10 miles. Tomorrow, I am running the "Surfin' Santa 10 Miler Race". It will be cold... 40s. But with my mouth closed the cold does not bother my lungs any more.

I work in the public school system which is a germ factory. Since September the kids and teachers have all taken their turns with awful stuffy nose colds and awful hacking coughs with rattling mucuosy sound... NOT ME! Knock on wood... I have avoided this. My breathing remains permanantly shallow without having to focus on it. Thank GOD for Buteyko!!!
Nicole Cleveland, US

Canadian Police Fitness Test
"I was in the process of going through all the testing required to apply to police services and during the process did a practice session of the physical test. Upon completion, though I almost succeeded, I was disappointed at how physically weak I felt and how long it took me to recover between exercises. I believe due to the intense stress I put on my body physically that day, I developed immediate symptoms of a cold and severe coughing.
The actual test was only 7 days from the practice and I reached out to find a way to reduce the coughing fits and increase my recovery time during the testing. I discovered via internet the Buteyko method of breathing and e-mailed Alex for more information. Because my test was only 7 days away, Alex did advise me that what I was asking was a tall order. He guided me on how to begin breathing through my nose and gave me exercises to do during the day that would hopefully improve my results and how I felt on test day. I followed to the best of my ability his advice and was pleasantly surprised at my results. I passed the physical testing (even with cold symptoms) and felt amazingly better afterwards.
My coughing was not as severe and my muscles felt less "heavy".
I am a personal fitness trainer and will absolutely try to encourage my clients to practice the Buteyko method.
Thank you Alex for all the coaching and constant e-mails and follow up to ensure I was on track. "
Maggie, Canada: Taught by Alex Spence "" via the internet.

Marathon Training
As a runner I have benefited greatly from improved breathing control and efficiency. I successfully trained for the Auckland Marathon using only Buteyko method breathing and can consistently run between 4:30 and 5:00 minutes per kilometre. My resting heart rate is now typically in the low to mid 40’s. An added bonus is that I now find that I need to drink less while running.
Neil Chase New Zealand: Taught by Glenn White

I undertook a Buteyko course run by Glenn White in November of 2004. I have not had an asthma attack since. Nor have I used an asthma puffer. I have incorporated the principles I learned from Buteyko into my training. I credit Buteyko with totally overcoming my asthma and I am truly grateful for all it has taught me.
Darnelle Timbs- NZ rowing four 2004-5: Taught by Glenn White

Motocross (Scrambling) Lactic Acid & Forearm pump

Back in 1986 at the age of 17 I started racing Motocross (Scrambling). The first meeting I raced in, I remember thinking how hard I was gripping the handle bars of the bike during the race I was not able to keep it up for long until fatigue crept in (Lactic Acid). I trained hard to try and relieve the problem but was never able to get rid of it, it seemed the harder I trained the worse it got, so I raced my bike at a pace that I could ride without tiring and never gaining much success.
I packed in racing in 1994. In 1999 I came back into the sport at the age of 30. During the time away from the sport I still went to the gym on a regular weekly basis. Back racing I still found the same old problem Lactic Acid, I went to my Doctor asking him if he knew how I could over come it. He didn't but said he would try and find out. I never did get to find out from him, and know now why.
A stroke of luck - I happened to be talking to Alex Spence who mentioned that he had just come back from New Zealand after becoming a Practitioner in the Buteyko Breathing Techniques. I started to quiz him about this and told him about the way I was breathing before and during race meetings. Right away he said I was doing the wrong thing and didn't I suffer from Lactic Acid? Yes big time, I replied.
The next few weeks he gave me a few brief points on how the breathe. There was only a handful of race meetings left. I started breathing the way Alex had said to right away and felt the difference. I was far more relaxed and had far more energy. The last meeting of the season and I had a 5-point lead of the championship. I went into the meeting feeling so relaxed even to find that they had added an extra lap to each race, before this would have finished me. The whole day went so easy for me and at the end of the meeting I finished with first overall in all my classes giving me first overall in the 2002 Scottish classic under 40s Championship. Second overall in the Pre 75 up to 300cc. Also, first Scottish rider on the day to win the Scotland v England team challenge, and this is because I partly knew how to breath correctly.
Since then I have done the full Buteyko breathing course with Alex and apart from racing I have found much more benefits from the course. Can't wait to get back on a bike.
Stephen McNally, Scotland: Taught by Alex Spence ""

Sleep problems/fatigue
I have been struggling with poor sleep, low energy and palpitations for the past five years. Although I have experienced some improvement with various alternative therapies nothing had really resolved my insomnia and consequent exhaustion. However, since practising the simple Buteyko breathing exercises I have slept well for the past five weeks and have more energy than I can remember for many years – so much so I am planning a long-distance charity bike ride. I feel generally calmer, my hands and feet are no longer blocks of ice and my chill blains have disappeared! What a wonderful, simple therapy." "Lisa Layfield, Complementary therapist, High Peak February 2012: Taught by Janet Winter... "Lisa completed her 200 mile bike ride (in Scotland, very hilly and dreadful weather, nasal breathing for all but the steepest climbs."


Learn the Buteyko Breathing Method

Contact Buteyko Instructor Alex Spence