Monique Rana - Breathing Tips for Lifting Weights

Publish Date
Friday, 13 December 2013, 12:00AM
By Monique Rana

Think about it for a second. We can live without food for weeks. Water for days but we can’t live without oxygen for more than 4 minutes without affecting our brain or dying.  Breathing or the lack of, can help or hinder your anxiety related illnesses, strength training, endurance sports; yoga etc. You may or may not think about your breathing pattern when you perform strength exercises, but the tendency for most people is to hold their breath during the moments of most exertion. Unfortunately, breath holding increases your blood pressure response to strength training and should definitely be avoided.

With correct breathing, your blood pressure responds similarly to both strength training and endurance exercise, and the end result when done correctly is a reduction in your resting blood pressure.

  • Exhale as you lift/push or pull a weight (breathe out) throughout the lifting phase and inhale (breathe in) through the lowering phase.
  • For example - When you do bench press, you should exhale while you push the barbell or chest machine away from you and inhale while you lower the weight.

This also applies to body weight exercises.

  • For example, if you’re doing a push-up, exhale as you push away from the ground (against gravity). Inhale as you lower yourself back down towards the ground. Breathe the same way during a sit-up.You should find that your exercise repetitions are easier to perform and that you recover more quickly at the end of your set.

If you are unsure: two things don’t hold your breath and don’t forget to breathe out. Holding your breath for too long can impede the return of blood to the heart and raise your blood pressure, and in some instances you could faint.

Breathing during your stretches: Just the same way, don't hold your breath when you stretch, either. Stretching should be a relaxing activity at the end of your workout. Hold each stretch for ten to twenty seconds and breathe steadily throughout them, preferably in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Remember: Keeping a healthy flow of oxygen in your bloodstream is one of the biggest favours you can do for your body. It improves your body's ability to function in many ways. If you make a habit of breathing the right way from the onset, you'll maximize the benefits you get from weight training.

And remember never hold your breath!

Follow Monique as bodytechfitmama on Twitter for fitness/health inspiration tips.

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