Personal Training Questions with top London Personal Trainer, Nick Mitchell.

(Please note that this question first appeared in the July 2009 edition of Marie Claire magazine)

Question: Nick, what sort of breathing pattern do you recommend while doing sit-ups/crunches? Would you recommend blowing out heavily? How does this help?

Answer: To make sit ups (any exercise that recruits the abdominal muscles) as effective as possible you should inhale as you lower your trunk and then exhale hard and audibly as you curl up and contract your stomach muscles. The very act of blowing hard (dare I say “grunting” even) has been scientifically proven to make you 2-3% stronger, which in the long run does add up!

Exhaling hard is especially useful for all stomach exercises as the less air there is in the lungs the flatter the stomach and the more forcible the potential muscular contraction. All of which adds up to a flatter and more defined stomach in a shorter space of time.