There is much debate as to whether learning proper breathing techniques while doing weightlifting workouts is beneficial for your overall health and fitness. Even though there are variations on what are the best techniques to use, one common theme is there is much to be gained by developing the right breathing patterns.
The purpose of learning to breathe correctly is to create the right stability to help you get the most out of your workouts, while reducing your risks for injury, and being able to burn more calories and move more weight. Not to mention, to help you achieve a more physically fit appearance faster.
The generalized technique recommended for weightlifting workouts is to exhale during eccentric movements and inhale during concentric movements. If you are new to weightlifting workouts, you may not be familiar with these terms. That is okay, and we will look at an example to illustrate the two different movements.
For example, you are bench pressing weights while lying on your back with the weights being pulled down toward your chest and pushed up, away from your body. The eccentric movement is when you are pushing the weights away from your body and upward. The concentric movement occurs as you lower the weights toward your chest. Raising the weights requires more exertion, so this is a good time to exhale, while lowering the weights uses less exertion, and this makes it an ideal time to inhale.
Another way to remember this is to look at the particular weightlifting exercise. You should breathe out (exhale) whenever you are exerting effort into the exercise. In other words, anything that requires you to push, lift, or pull is almost always the eccentric part of the exercise and is the perfect time to exhale. The second part of the exercise movement is the concentric part, and it is the best time to take a breath and inhale.
However, if you find yourself short on breath, do not hesitate to exhale and inhale, even if you are in the middle of either an eccentric or concentric movement. You should never attempt to hold your breath, which is referred to as the Valsalva Maneuver. Some weightlifters do this, as they think it will give them even more stability and greater control during pushes, pulls, or lifts.
Yet, there are risks with this maneuver, since it increases the blood pressure, and can cause fainting and heart attacks. Even though you might encounter “professional” powerlifters who highly recommend this breathing technique, it is not worth the risks it poses to your safety and well-being.
Other beginner tips you can use to work on developing the right breathing patterns is to practice breathing in and out deeply before you start working out, and to use light weights during your workouts until your breathing patterns become second nature. Don’t forget to refuel the energy you burned during your workout with protein bars available from Promax Nutrition.