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The Pump – New and Improved

TeamReady Mindset

This updated version of The Pump is being revised to recommend Nasal Breathing, the most efficient and effective way to breathe heavily for a short and intense time, settle down and gain the therapeutic value:

  • The secretion of nitric oxide which sterilizes incoming air, opens up airways and enhances oxygen uptake to bloodstream which increases concentration and improves cognitive behavior.
  • The reduction of stress and anxiety by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system that creates a calm and clear thinking.
  • Improves the quality of sleep, one of the most critical factors for optimal health and well–being. Sleep and breathing influence one another. The right amount of sleep ensures the production of the growth hormone needed for proper recovery, healing and growth.

By definition nasal breathing involves breathing in and out of the nose. However, the exhale may be forced through the nose or mouth depending on personal preference to meet the intended results. In my experience, exhaling through my nose creates more of a calm state and exhaling out of the mouth creates more power and intensity. Both are OK!

The Pump style of power breathing features an intense inhale, the ability to lift up your head, raise your chin and flair your nostrils and get the maximum amount of air though your nose into your lungs. The exhale is forceful as you use your core muscles and your diaphragm to drive the air out.


For each set of the Pump there are three periods.

  1. You breathe in and out of your nose and at the end of the specific amount of time you forcefully exhale all of the air and hold your (empty) breath.
  2. You hold your breath for the specified amount of time. At the end of this period you get one slow long inhale though your nose.
  3. Again, you hold your breath for the specified amount of time or longer.
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As a beginner you might want to start with a time of 45 seconds: 45–1:30–2:15. Work your way up to 1:00 minute 1:00–2:00–3:00. And then to 1:15 minutes. 1:15–2:30–3:45. And, finally, to 1:30 minutes. 1:30–3:00 min–5 min to 6 min.


The Pump exercise with nasal breathing builds endurance, increased lung capacity and efficiency and a positive shift in mood. The shift in mood enhances your ability to manage your emotions and let go of grievances that represent a need to forgive and heal.


Establish a habit in the morning and evening to start and end the day with the Pump. Then throughout the day, do a set as needed. I recommend doing a minimum of three sets per day. I think you will find that this practice will help you to feel more rested and calmer during the day, to recover faster from physical exercise and fatigue and to improve the quality of your sleep.

Travis Grant, World Champion Paddling Athlete, speaks to the value of the Pump:

“I use the Pump method every morning. It’s my way of telling my brain that we are about to get to work. The Pump invigorates my body and mind. It’s a small challenge to start the day. I usually aim for the 1:30 Pump but some mornings I fall short and only do the 1-minute hold and that’s okay. After the routine I feel ready to tackle my first task of the day, which is usually a workout.”

That's HiLevel!