Photo Credit: Teaganne Finn
Enjoying Morning Chalk Up? Access additional exclusive interviews, analyses, and stories with an Rx membership.
The AIRWAAV has taken over the CrossFit world and is a relatively new tool that top athletes have gotten behind. I recently gave it a go and I have to say, I did feel like I could beat Rich Froning in a workout.
Okay, maybe not that good, but you get the point.
As a person who doesn’t wear lifters, rarely wears a belt, and only recently found knee sleeves I was skeptical of the AIRWAAV mouthpiece and if it would really improve my training. I wore the device for a week’s worth of workouts and even gave some Team and Age Group Quarterfinals workouts a try while wearing it and was pleasantly surprised.
Here’s my breakdown of what I noticed over a weeks worth of lifting, metcons, and conditioning work.
Heavy breath (in a good way): One of the first things I noticed after wearing the AIRWAAV during a conditioning workout was my breath. It was an EMOM (every minute on the minute) that day and I was cycling from one machine to the next for roughly 30 minutes. I recall being on the machine and hearing myself breathe— something I hadn’t noticed before or at least didn’t think much of until now.
The AIRWAAV helped me cycle through my breathing in a much deeper way than before. I grew up playing sports and doing triathlon training for a short period and I was always told to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth to regulate your breath. But with the AIRWAAV I was thinking about that much less and just doing it naturally. My breaths were also much deeper, much like when you’re in a yoga class, but instead of a humble warrior pose I was sprinting on the rower.
Clear airways: I have always been a runner more or less throughout my life and I have always struggled to regulate my breathing when I’m going for a harder pace. I recently did a conditioning piece that involved an 800m run buy-in on the Air Assault Runner, followed by a 400m ski erg in a 10 minute window. Normally, I’d look at this workout and feel a sense of…pain and anguish. But instead I popped in my AIRWAAV and started my run.
I at first tried to regulate my breathing as I always do and it felt good. I felt like the air going in was actually reaching my lungs as opposed to sometimes you stop yourself short because you feel like you need another breathe. By the second time I was on the runner I really felt unstoppable and like I could keep up my pace whereas I often feel like I “need” to slow down by 400 meters. It was definitely a new feeling for me and made me excited to get back on the runner again.
More focus: I’ve been doing CrossFit for some time now and have always been more or less relaxed when it comes to competition or the Open, etc. I regrettably don’t have a game plan and more or less just go for it, but with the AIRWAAV there is a new sense of focus. I think adding in an exterior element like a mouthpiece feels a bit more serious and if you’re adding this element to your training you’re likely trying to get better.
I noticed in metcons and during my lifts I was able to focus on my breathing and on the goal of the workout in a way I hadn’t before. I think I was less afraid of what the workout was going to feel like and more focused on a plan of execution. The AIRWAAV shifted my mindset from just going into a workout without any goals in mind to going into a workout and wanting to get something more out of it.
The bottom line: While I would say I waiver between a minimalist crossfitter and a decked out crossfitter,I am most definitely adding AIRWAAV to my list of training accessories. The mouthpiece is really a game changer and in the short time I wore it improved my breathing immensely.
A few tips: The mouthpiece fitting is an important step and one I would make sure is done correctly by watching the fitting video on YouTube. Be patient and work AIRWAAV in slowly. I recommend using it for low-intensity activity the first few days (warm up, steady state bike or run) to allow yourself to get used to it before using it during lifting sessions or metcons.