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How A Single Breathe Changes Your Strength & Endurance


By Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner
DVRT Master Chief, Senior RKC, OS Instructor, MFF’s Strongest Film Major

Welcome back! On a very special episode of “Nailing the DVRT Clean and Press Test” we’re going to cover something that is crucial to life itself… BREATHING!

Strength wasn’t an issue when I first trained for the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Clean and Press Test, my conditioning was. I would lose my breath to an unholy degree and miss reps and accrue ridiculous amounts of fatigue. To be clear, my conditioning in terms of the RKC Snatch Test (100 24kg kettlebell snatches in 5 minutes) was spectacular. I had a 28kg Snatch test pretty dialed in. The Clean and Press Test is a different animal when it comes to breathing.

Let’s take a moment to talk about quality “diaphragmatic” breathing. We want to inhale through the nose, using our diaphragm and breathing low into our belly. We brace around that belly of air, then let out a sharp “hiss exhale” as we explode through the concentric phase of motion. Repeat.

A kettlebell snatch (or KB swing, Ultimate Sandbag Clean or Ultimate Sandbag Snatch) has a pretty easy and comfortable pattern in terms of breathing. You would inhale on the downswing and let out that sharp “hiss” exhale on the upswing. We can simplify this as a normal 2 step breathing pattern with 1 inhale and 1 exhale per rep.

I’ve found the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Clean and Press Test to have a 7 STEP BREATHING PATTERN.

  • Inhale before the clean. *This inhale is only needed at the first rep of a set. Once you’re repping you’ll go from stage 6 to 2. 
  • Exhale at the clean.
  • Inhale in the USB Front Load position.
  • Exhale at the Push Press. 
  • Inhale as you pull the USB back into the Front Load position. *This is also the ideal spot to take a rest break if needed. While you’ll be forced to maintain the USN in the front hold the USB, this will allow you 
  • Hold your breath as you un-clean the USB to the floor.
  • Start back at Stage 2. *See note in stage 1!

I have found the above steps to be a winning breathing strategy. Is it the only plan of attack? Hell no! It’s just the one I KNOW that WORKS.

That’s been our very special episode of the “Nailing the DVRT Clean and Press Test” series. And now you know, and knowing is half the battle. Yo Joe!

The series finale is up next! Stay tuned.

Don’t Miss Coach Holiner Teaching An Upcoming DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Course Boston HERE