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  1. #1
    Fresh Zoomers is offline In Orientation
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    Why is it important to properly breathe when lifting weights?

    Whats the science behind proper breathing when lifting weights and what does it do to your muscles? Does it pump oxygen to the muscles after every rep/breath? And how should this proper breathing be done?

    What would likely happen if you were to hold your breath in while working out?

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  3. #2
    DiabloDj1 is offline In Orientation
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    I'm no expert, I'm sure someone will come and deny somethings I say but.. Breathing in air brings oxygen into your muscles. Breathing will make your exercises easier. Holding your breathe puts a lot more physical stress on you and makes it harder to complete the workout effectively. At least I've noticed that a bit.
    Inhale on bringing a bar down, exhale while pushing it up. (Bench press wize.)

  4. #3
    Fresh Zoomers is offline In Orientation
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    Is it going to make any difference if I were breathe the opposite way? Because thats how I've been breathing while I work out for the past year and it seems alot easier to breathe that way then the way you suggested

  5. #4
    Merciless is offline Fourth Set
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    First off, breathing is extremely important to weight lifting. Breath out during the most strenuous part of the movement (eccentric phase) and breath in during the concentric phase. DO NOT hold your breath!!! There is danger in holding your breath while lifting weights. Exhaling during the exertion phase lowers your internal pressure, while failing to breath correctly can lead to broken blood vessels, as well as a hernia.

  6. #5
    LeiYunFat is offline We are all one
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    It doesn't matter, as long as you DO breathe.

  7. #6
    malkore is offline Deceptimod
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    there are several important reasons for breathing correctly, and a few times when you don't exhale until the rep is completed (more on this...)

    normally, you inhale during the eccentric contraction...the 'easy' part...lowering the bar on bench press for example.
    then, depending on the lift, you will start to exhale at some point of the concentric contraction...the hard part....pushing the bar back up in the bench press.

    now, this is all assuming you are NOT powerlifting. powerlifters (I believe) DO hold their breath. The reason is to stabilize the torso via internal pressure built up via breathing in.
    For the same reason, when lifting heavy, you usually won't begin to exhale until about 50-60% of the way through the concentric movement...past the usual sticking points.

    Also for this same reason, you don't exhale until the rep is at least 90% completed when squatting, ditto for deadlifts. The internal pressure helps stabilize the abs, which in turn help stabilize the lower back, which is vital when lowering injury potential on those lifts.

    It should feel natural to breath in on the easy phase, and out during the hard phase.
    Haven't you ever heard the guys who grunt at the gym? (like me) I'm not talking about obnoxious guys, but the real hardcore guys that are pushing their limits, going for that last rep?
    well, you can't grunt unless you are exhaling, and you are exhaling because you're curling that 100lb barbell up and its hard as hell.

  8. #7
    Hoss is offline mѡr // -v
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    Quote Originally Posted by malkore View Post
    there are several important reasons for breathing correctly, and a few times when you don't exhale until the rep is completed (more on this...)

    normally, you inhale during the eccentric contraction...the 'easy' part...lowering the bar on bench press for example.
    then, depending on the lift, you will start to exhale at some point of the concentric contraction...the hard part....pushing the bar back up in the bench press.

    now, this is all assuming you are NOT powerlifting. powerlifters (I believe) DO hold their breath. The reason is to stabilize the torso via internal pressure built up via breathing in.
    For the same reason, when lifting heavy, you usually won't begin to exhale until about 50-60% of the way through the concentric movement...past the usual sticking points.

    Also for this same reason, you don't exhale until the rep is at least 90% completed when squatting, ditto for deadlifts. The internal pressure helps stabilize the abs, which in turn help stabilize the lower back, which is vital when lowering injury potential on those lifts.

    It should feel natural to breath in on the easy phase, and out during the hard phase.
    Haven't you ever heard the guys who grunt at the gym? (like me) I'm not talking about obnoxious guys, but the real hardcore guys that are pushing their limits, going for that last rep?
    well, you can't grunt unless you are exhaling, and you are exhaling because you're curling that 100lb dumbbell up and its hard as hell.
    Pop quiz for your CPT/CSCS malkore, what's that action called? what's the name for it? (I actually had a Q about this)


    Oh and I fixed the bottom portion lol
    Last edited by Hoss; Sep. 27/06 at 05:44 PM.

  9. #8
    stroutman81 is offline Verge of Overtraining
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    Oo, pick me, pick me! I know!

  10. #9
    standAPART is offline First Set
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    The "Valsalva Manneuver" is sooo misunderstood in text books and beginners. The act of holding one's breathe for a second during eccentric contractions or during pauses is for teh following reasons (some of which have been mentioned):
    1.) Oxygen is delivered to vital muscle cells via blood
    2.) Abdominal "bracing" is the action of the transverse abdominals (TVA) to actual brace and stabilize the spine and protect it. This is very important and should be mastered. It is not practiced by beginners and is usually only efective in sub max or max loads.

  11. #10
    Timmy is offline Warming Up
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    It was my understanding that if you hold your breath while you're exerting yourself, all that abdominal pressure applies a pressure on the heart. Thus, exhaling while you exert yourself prevents the pressure from being static.

  12. #11
    Hoss is offline mѡr // -v
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    I do it solely for #2 on standapart's list...

  13. #12
    M.J. Quiocho is offline Warming Up
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    Hi There!
    The following information regarding breathing and progressive exercising is taken from the teachings/instructions of The Yin Exercise System (YES).
    In brief the writings are put into a scientific and poetic understanding allowing the student/participant to "sense the education & feel the learning."

    "WHY you breathe is life-giving. HOW you breathe is life-taking."
    Breathing is not just mere gases we take into the human body. Breathing is a way the body receives constant "universal" information and there is active consistent communciation that is taken all the way to its cellular bodies.
    Energy is bascially the carrier of all information that is naturally transported by our ciruclatory/respriatory "messenger" systems.
    Breathing permits and provides the substance of life like the running of gentle streams and calm rivers that only bring life to everything it touches.
    Breathing does set the rhythms of moving life from inside/out creating a healthy atmosphere to brethe in and fit environement to move through."
    From The YIN EXERCISE SYSTEM - THE OFFERRING

    Oxygen/air is what fuels the innate/inborn bodies systems and regulates the transmission of messages that circulate to the core of living life the heart-brain-spine and throughout the entire body's systems.

    Physcial exercises, no matter what method, demands bodily repetitive movements that helps us accomplish our health and fitness goals.
    The most important actual movement to understand and learn is breathing not just when exercisng but when we are not exercising.
    This is where you truly findout how healthy and fit you are and if you relate and connect to what it is your doing while exercising.

    When we use progressive resistance exercises and equipment, breathing correctly is what determines the "present health" of your body.
    The right pattern of breathing when "lifting weights" is learning the "Least Path Of Resistance", that, which reduces stress and strain on the internal bodies structural stability (joints, muscle attachments, posture) and innate fuctional active movement (oygen consumption, heart beat, blood circulation,brain activity, etc) .
    Finding out and discovering the right breathing practice/pattern while exercisng is a healthy approach to your present health and fitness.
    To merely say just breathe can be life-taking, for every breath you do take and how you take it in does contribue to the longevity of your body's life and being alive, fully alive to it.
    Need to cut this short. Hope it brings some awareness to your breathing and stimulate to do more research on proper breathing patternes.

    Before ending, there is a saying in the Hawaiin Islands where I teach:
    "Modern Science, Medical Research and Ancient Healing/Health Wisdom all meet on common ground. This place is within the soil of the human body.
    What takes place after will known as the Proven Grounds of Life."

    That's It for now, ALOHA!
    mikey q.

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