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In less than two weeks, CrossFit legend Rich Froning will take the competition floor in Madison, WI with his team, CrossFit Mayhem Freedom, and attempt to make history once again. This time by winning a tenth CrossFit Games championship. He currently holds four individual Games wins and five Affiliate Cup victories.
We got the chance to ask Froning a few questions about training, and this is what we learned:
What is training like in the final few weeks before the Games?
“[With less than two weeks to train], not only is the volume at an all-time high, but so is the intensity, he said.”
“I have other tools to help recover and perform, but none of them are on the competition floor other than the AIRWAAV.”
“There are plenty of other recovery tools that I use pre and post-workout, but when you’re in the middle of an intense workout, the only hope to recover is through breathing effectively. Keeping your jaw relaxed, unclenched, open airways, etc. So yeah, I have other tools to help recover and perform, but none of them are on the competition floor other than the AIRWAAV.”
How were you introduced to breath training?
“I was initially introduced to breath training through Chris Hinshaw. At the time, it was foreign to me, but as I continued to work with him to build my aerobic threshold, I realized how getting adequate oxygen increased my body’s ability to adapt faster and tolerate more.”
How has breathing training improved your performance and recovery?
“There are always going to be workouts during training or events at the Games that we dread because we know it’s going to hurt, that’s inevitable, but training to breathe properly has helped me realize I can control more than I once thought I could.”
What can the average CrossFit athlete gain from breath training?
“Because of the style of workouts we do in CrossFit, I don’t think the average CrossFit athlete realizes how much their breathing hinders or enhances their ability to perform.”
Froning continued, “I also think we overlook the fact that we have to train our breathing just like anything else because it’s not as talked about or as noticeable as good mobility or a heavy barbell. We think being out of breath is just part of it, and it is to some extent, but we can make it work for us.”
Rich, What else would you like to share about how breath training has set you up for success in competition or otherwise?
“The biggest thing I’ve noticed has been the crossover of benefits now that I’m getting into other endurance sports like mountain biking, off-road triathlons, and flag football. The awareness to keep everything as relaxed as possible during high-stakes or stressful scenarios is a concept that benefits many areas of life in general.”
The bottom line: Froning has been at the top of the support of fitness for almost a decade, and one of the key factors that has moved the needle for him in recent years has been breath training. As one of the earliest adopters of the AIRWAAV Performance Mouthpiece, Froning has witnessed its benefits firsthand and continues to rely on breath training as he prepares for competition.