It’s not just muscle mass that affects your performance when lifting weights; it’s also your breathing. However, breathing is something that most of us do instinctively. As a result, many inexperienced bodybuilders and athletes either hold their breath or breathe incorrectly when lifting. This article explains the correct way to breathe when lifting so that you can achieve maximum gains.
When you’re trying to set a new personal best (PB), you probably don’t think too much about your breathing. After all, breathing is something that humans do naturally. It’s not something that takes much effort or thought. Nonetheless, the way in which you breathe plays an important role in your ability to lift weights. So, what’s the right way to breathe when lifting weights?
Warm Up Before Lifting Weights
Before lifting, warm up your lungs by taking slow, deep breaths. As you inhale, wait for the air to completely fill your lungs, at which point you can slowly exhale. When done correctly, you should feel more relaxed. Breathing warm-ups such as this send oxygen to your lungs, reducing fatigue and facilitating gains.
Inhale During the Eccentric Part of the Lift
One all-too-common mistake people make when lifting weights is holding their breath. They assume it’s best to hold their breath until they are finished with the rep. As a result, however, they restrict oxygen to their lungs.
The correct way to breathe when lifting weights is to inhale during the eccentric part of the lift. This is the stage during which your muscles are most relaxed, such as lowering a barbell to your chest when performing chest presses. Because the eccentric stage is less intense, you’ll have an easier time inhaling. You can even synchronize your lift with your breathing. Begin inhaling when you first lift the weight and stop at the end of your rep.
Exhale During the Concentric Part of the Lift
You should then exhale during the concentric part of the lift, which is the up motion of a lift. During a barbell chest press, for example, the concentric part of the lift occurs when you push the barbell above your chest, whereas the eccentric stage occurs when you bring the barbell down to your chest.
Exhale Through Your Nose
A good rule of thumb is to inhale through your mouth and exhale through your nose. This doesn’t apply strictly to weightlifting. You can use this technique when running, jogging, cycling, swimming, and performing other forms of physical activity. The general idea is to create more controlled breathing by inhaling through your mouth and exhaling through your nose. By exhaling through your nose, you’ll prevent sudden and rapid breathing that could otherwise hurt your performance.
Find a Rhythm
Perhaps the most important tip is to find a rhythm for your breathing. If you breathe erratically, it will lower your lung function and ultimately hurt your ability to lift weights. So, develop a rhythm in which you inhale and exhale at regular intervals throughout the lift.
These are just a few tips to help control your breathing when lifting weights. Whether you are performing barbell chest presses, dumbbell curls, kettlebell swings, etc., you should control your breathing by following the advice listed above.