Weights and breathing!

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    Jun 03, 2011 12:10 AM GMT
    Hi Folks

    I would like to know your thoughts on breathing whilst lifting weights.

    Like most things associated with fitness, there seems to be a myriad of opinions on what is right and wrong.

    For example... when doing a barbell upright row, do you breathe in as you lift the weight up, or do you breath out? Doing a lat pulldown, do you breathe out when pulling the bar down, or on the way up? and so on...

    I've also heard that breathing very deeply when doing things like barbell squats is better for muscle development.

    I'd like to hear your thoughts around the whole breathing and lifting weights topic.

    Cheers
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    Jun 03, 2011 12:54 AM GMT
    My trainer tells me to exhale while exerting the muscles and inhaling while relaxing. So I inhale while going down into a push-up and exhale when going up again. That doesn't work to well with squats for example, so I inhale while standing and exhale through-out the motion.
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    Jun 03, 2011 2:19 AM GMT
    Really don't know much, but one thing I've heard that works for me is to breathe deeply before going down into a squat or before lifting the bar in a deadlift. It helps brace the entire torso/core, giving you more stability and helping to prevent injuries... other than that, I just do the general exhale while exerting. Once I read that with back exercises, you should inhale on the exerting motion, but I've tried it and can't really feel a difference either way.
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    Jun 03, 2011 2:47 AM GMT
    I use to have a trainer who moved on to train celebrities and such (so i imagine he knows his stuff), but he always told me to breathe right before lifting and exhale once you've finished the rep and are in the starting position again.

    So if you're doing squats standing in the ready position:

    Quick, heavy breath right as you start going down, then once you get back to the top, release it and repeat.

    Good question though. Breathing correctly can definitely give you an extra rep or five by the end of a set icon_smile.gif
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    Jun 03, 2011 4:02 AM GMT
    I always forget to breather during sets... lol. But, inhale when resisting, exhale when returning to starting position.
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    Jun 03, 2011 4:10 AM GMT
    I just checkout Scott Herman for each excercise. He's exhales so loudyou can't mistake an exhale! "Chhhheeea."
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    Jun 04, 2011 2:52 AM GMT
    Ravco saidI just checkout Scott Herman for each excercise. He's exhales so loudyou can't mistake an exhale! "Chhhheeea."


    Thanks for the tip, but I've heard a few guys doing the Scott Herman 'thing' at the gym and it drives me nuts! icon_lol.gif

    The only way it would be acceptable to me if it was actually Scott himself, with his shirt off, doing his thing. He could do as much Ch ch ch'ing as he likes! icon_wink.gif
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    Jun 04, 2011 3:15 AM GMT
    I've actually never heard any form of debate over the matter. Every major health/fitness organization (ACSM, NSCA, NASM, etc) recommends the same: inhale during eccentric contraction of the agonist (targetted) muscle and exhale during concentric contraction. Concentric contraction is the shortening of the muscle - say the curling portion of a biceps curl or the "moving upward" during a squat. Eccentric is the opposite - the lengthening of a muscle.

    A really easy way to remember this is to breath out while the weight is moving AWAY from the ground and vice versa. This works for all movements like squats, pushups, skull crushers, etc. Just be careful during cable type exercises. The lat pulldown for intance, while you're pulling TOWARDS the ground, the weight is actually moving AWAY from it - so exhale then.

    There are instances during which the Valsalva maneuver is suggested, but only for young, healthy, and experienced weightlifters. Essentially this is just the holding of the breath and locking of the abdominal wall and spine stabilizers during the concentric phase of motion. You'll see this amongst professional weightlifters as well as gymnasts during "hold" skills. But be careful as it causes a drastic spike in blood pressure that is brief, but dangerous for the elderly and/or CVD-predisposed.