How To Breathe Properly When Lifting Weights

By Steve Hall

July 19, 2013

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You would think that breathing would be second nature and there really shouldn’t be much thought put into it. Breathing is something that our bodies will do naturally. As a child it is easy for us to breathe properly, however as we age our lives fill with stress and our brains begin to become flooded. The over abundance of activity tends to become too much and can block us from having the ability to slow our role and focus on critical areas that enable us to progress.

Learning How To Breathe Properly Is Like Riding A Bike

We have all heard the age old expression “It’s just like riding a bike”. Meaning somethings we learn come easy and even without practice we can accomplish the task at hand.  Reconnecting with ourselves and making an adjustment in the way we breathe is as easy as riding a bike. Like I stated earlier as a child taking a breath was no problem. We did it well and we did it correctly. Our lungs filled with air that was pulled deep from our diaphragm. Now that we have aged our breaths have become shallow and our air is pulled from our esophagus.

If we can take the time to slow our minds down for a short period of time each day we can re-train ourselves to use the diaphragm. Once we re-learn how to breathe. Yes, I said re-learn, we can apply that to lifting weights.

The Benefits of Learning To Breathe Properly

breathing-when-working-outIt would be safe to assume that there are numerous benefits from learning how to breathe properly (bold). More than one can possibly list. I know what I have experienced since my refresher course in breathing is a reduction in stress but more importantly the ability to focus my intentions as I lift. My main purpose with this article is to discuss how proper breath can increase ones potential when lifting weights.

As a lifter we want to get better at our chosen sport. Wether it be bodybuilding, weightlifting, crossfit or power lifting. And in most cases if your a serious athlete you will train and train to get better. Our good fundamentals are drilled in by constant repetition. Sometimes though we may forget to breathe.
Let me stress this before I move on, breathing may be different based upon what lifts are happening and at what rate but understanding the proper procedure will allow us to adapt to the circumstances.

Having said all that I feel the main benefits of learning to breathe properly when lifting weights is that we will be able to perform at our full potential.

How Can We Learn To Breathe Properly

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. The way we learn is different for each of us. Either way it’s essential we figure it out. My lessons in breath came from my participation in Golden Breath American Tai Chi . Unlike traditional systems where the focus is on balance, the focus of Golden Breath is to connect our breathing with our movements. The way we were taught to breathe from the diaphragm was to use a counting method. By counting slowly to 4 while inhaling and counting to 4 while exhaling the bodies movements were able to slow down and match the flow our air.

Many of us may already be familiar with this counting method. If your a bodybuilder you may know it as rep tempo. Our tempos can range but I have found that a 4 count is pretty easy for most and gives enough time for a full breath of fresh air. There are many videos and articles on the net that explain diaphragmatic breathing. In the video below I feel that the instructor gives a pretty good explanation on proper breathing.

In all honestly it is a pretty simple process. It just takes constant attention until it becomes second nature again. Each time you lift make sure you are taking your breath from your diaphragm and slow your role. Sometimes our routines call for fast explosive movements. And that is fine but in most cases if we can take the time to control the form and control the breath in the end we may have a better outcome.

The more you do it the easier it will become. So practice your breathing like your practice your lifting. Learn how to breathe properly when lifting weights and increase your potential.

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Steve Hall

Steve is a strength training fanatic who geeks out over the best, most efficient workouts, nutrition and gear to help get you stronger and healthier!

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