How to Breath when Lifting Weights

2 min read

How to Breath when Lifting Weights

Breathing correctly is extremely necessary in weight training if you want the best out of your workout. If you are not breathing correctly during weight training you could find yourself fatiguing quickly and not being able to lift as heavy. 

The general prescription for breathing during weight training is inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. As you perform any weighted exercise you want to inhale during the eccentric phase (lowering the weight) and exhaling during the concentric phase (explosive movement). For instance when performing the chest press you inhale as you are lowering the weight down to your chest and then exhaling through the power explosive movement of pushing the weight up. This form of breathing is generally advised for high repetition sets.

Secondly we have the Valsalva Maneuver (VM), another breathing technique used in weight training. This type of technique is performed by taking a deep breath and holding it, forcefully exhaling against the airway. A great example is pinching your nose to unblock your ear.  The VM main purpose is to increase intra-abdominal pressure to increase power output potential and provide core support to protect your lower back from injury.  In essence, it is performed by inhaling during the eccentric phase (lowering the weight) and holding your breath during the concentric phase (explosive movement), then breathe out when you finish the repetition.

This breathing technique is used for lifting sub-maximal to maximal loads in the 1-5 rep range.

Most people would agree with these 2 forms of breathing and how they are utilized.  So read on to find out the benefits of utilizing both these techniques during weight training.

Inhale / Exhale:

  • Has the ability to loosen tight muscles and assist with posture and stability.
  • Experience greater motion due to drawing in more oxygen to the working muscles.
  • Can help with limiting the risk of dizziness, faint or black outs.

Valsalva Maneuver:

  • Causes temporary elevations in blood pressure through increased muscle tension. (That may sound unhealthy, but any kind of exercise temporarily increases blood pressure. If it didn’t, your muscles wouldn’t have enough oxygen to keep contracting, and you’d never be able to do anything more strenuous than walk to the refrigerator.)
  • The lower spine receives more support and protection from injury due to the pressure in the abdomen.
  • Produces maximal force and is frequently used in powerlifting to stabilize the trunk during exercises such as the squat, deadlift, and bench press, and in Olympic Weightlifting with the Clean and Jerk and the Snatch.

As you can see, breathing correctly is extremely important during weight training. It is recommended that inhaling and exhaling during weight training should be performed with high volume and the VM should be used when performing low volume and heavy weights. Both techniques are supported and should be tested by each individual to see which technique is best suited for them with their current training style.

We really appreciate you taking your time to read this article, if you have anything to add please comment below, Thanks Freak Athletes.

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