Bolt Score Test – How To Increase BOLT Score? A Complete Guide
A revolutionary oxygen advantage technique suggests that breathing can improve the performance of triathletes.
In this guide, we talk about the body oxygen level test and nose breathing introduced by Patrick McKeown.
We also see how the BOLT score is found, what makes it significant and some of the exercises to improve oxygen advantage.
BOLT Score Test – What Is It & What It Means?
BOLT or Body Oxygen Level Test is an assessment introduced by Patrick McKeown to get stats on how soon you feel the first sensation of breathlessness. This test helps determine the relative breathing volume during rest and breathlessness when performing physical activity.
To perform a BOLT test, you rest for 10 minutes before taking a long breath in and out through the nose. Then, you pinch the nose using your fingers to stop the entry of air into the lungs. Record the number of seconds you can hold before feeling the natural urge to breathe. Then, you release the nose and breathe through the nose. The inhalation at the end of this hold should be calm.
The number of seconds is your BOLT score. A lower score means your breathing volume is low and you are likely to develop breathlessness when you perform a physical exercise. Most people have a score of 20 seconds if they do some moderate exercise daily. A lower score indicates coughing, blocked nose, fatigue, snoring, and breathlessness.
The goal of the BOLT score test is to increase it to 40 seconds for optimal athletic performance. When you have a score of 40 or more, your breathing is soft, quiet, calm, and effortless. If the score is lower, you breathe irregularly, loudly, and heavily. Such breathing reduces oxygen delivery and constricts the blood vessels, resulting in poor athletic performance.
Body Level Oxygen Test (BOLT) – Why It’s Important?
Body Level Oxygen Test is about holding the breath to a point where you feel the first natural sensation of breathlessness. Such an indication is useful for the evaluation of breathlessness. BOLT considers athletic performance by assessing the functional breathing of an athlete. This factor is important for the core strength, stability, and reducing the risk of injury.
How you breathe depends on how you breathe every day. A large number of athletes have poor breathing patterns. The BOLT is a highly useful tool to determine relative breathing volume without the involvement of willpower and determination. It is not a max breath test like others.
How To Increase BOLT Score?
To improve the BOLT score, you can simply start breathing through your nose. There are many breathing exercises you can perform to increase the ability to deal with carbon dioxide. You can get started with any breathing exercise that helps you relax.
A simple box breathing technique where you inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and exhale for 4 seconds will help you start breathing efficiently and calm the nervous system. You can use such techniques after training or when trying to fall asleep.
Improving the BOLT score is a simple way to improve general health and athletic performance. You can focus on nasal breathing exercises and other simple exercises to get the energy you need for your sessions without any cost.
Oxygen Advantage Exercises – Getting Started
The oxygen advantage exercises are aimed at reducing breathlessness during physical exercise, improve VO2 max, reduce fatigue, increase the oxygen-carrying capacity, and improve the overall performance of the athlete.
The Wim Hof breathing method is an excellent way to improve your BOLT score. Apart from this, you can consider High-Altitude training while walking to improve your breathing. You perform a simple walking exercise where you hold your breath as you walk. For the initial hold, you hold your breath until you feel a medium urge for air. And for the next holding of breath, you aim for a stronger need to take in air.
Walk and Hold
You walk continuously for a minute and then exhale and pinch the nose to hold the breath. Continue walking till you feel the urge to take in air. Release the nose, inhale and reduce your breathing with short breaths of about 15 seconds.
Walk for 30 Seconds and Repeat
You walk continuously for 30 seconds while breathing through the nose. Then, you exhale and pinch your nose with the fingers. Next, you hold your breath and walk until you feel an urge to breathe.
Then, release the nose and slow down breathing by taking short breaths for about 15 seconds before breathing normally again.
Repeat Breath Holds 8-10 Times
As you continue walking, continue to hold your breath after every minute to generate a strong need to breathe. Minimize the breathing for 15 seconds after every hold. You should repeat this for 8-10 times during the walk.
The complete exercise takes about 12 minutes and is quite effective at teaching the body how to improve the BOLT score. With practice, the ability to hold the breath increases without putting any stress on the body.
Buteyko Breathing Method
One of the most effective breathing techniques, Buteyko program aims to normalize the breathing volume. This method focuses on using breath holds and slow breathing to limit air entering into the lungs. This program consists of seven exercises with different variations. The core of the technique is to breathe through the nose only during the day as well as sleep.
To apply the Buteyko method of breathing, follow these steps:
1. Sit in an upright position and take a calm breath through your nose. Let the stomach expand as you inhale and focus on your diaphragm.
2. Exhale as you would normally do through the nose. Focus on the diaphragm to push the air out of the lungs.
3. Next, take shorter, light, shallow breaths through your nose for a few seconds and then stop.
4. Slowly, release the breath for 5 seconds using your diaphragm to empty the lungs. Then hold the breath.
5. Repeat the entire process for a few minutes.
This technique, with practice, teaches you how you can get your breathing volume back to normal again and reverse the effects of breathlessness. This type of breathing improves your levels of carbon dioxide and nitric oxide in the body and helps improve the breathing pattern.