How do you breathe correctly during weight training? Fitness trainers answer the most googled questions

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How do you breathe correctly during weight training? Fitness trainers answer the most googled questions.

Breathwork is the latest buzzword on Instagram, commonly associated with calming meditation practices that have become part of the popular mindfulness movement. But it’s so much more than that. In fact, learning to breathe properly can actually impact the effectiveness of your intense workouts, as well as your relaxation.

How should you breathe during weight training? 

TESS GLYNNE-JONES, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR 

“You want to exhale as you exert the force. So for example, with a squat, you would breathe out as you’re coming up and out of it. So you breathe in, hold the breath as you lower then breathe out as you come up and out of it. With a deadlift you breathe out as you bring up the bar. And every time you’re exerting the energy, that’s what you breathe out when you exert force. In terms of when you’re breathing in and out to close your mouth, it doesn’t matter too much. You’re obviously going to get more oxygen in and out if you breathe through your mouth. If you want a bit more control over the breath, you could breathe in through the nose and out of the mouth. It really depends on the type of exercise you’re doing. But I’d say for instance, heavy loads, use the mouth.”

CAROLINE BRAGG, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR  

“Exhaling on the effort is a technique mainly used for muscular strength and endurance training. The valsalva maneuver is also popular for weight lifting: that’s when you breathe out of a closed mouth or nose. It can create a lot of internal pressure in your torso.  This increase in abdominal pressure turns your normal day-to-day, sponge-like core into a stiff, telephone pole-like core.”

Why is it important to control your breath while weight training?

CAROLINE BRAGG, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR  

“That rigidity is what protects your spine while you’re lifting a heavy weight and it makes for a more efficient lift. We promote diaphragmatic breathing to centre and connect with the core muscles. This also works well with your central nervous system. When we exercise, we raise cortisol levels in the body as training is a stress on our muscles. Making sure to breathe properly through exercise is proven to reduce stress and soothe the nervous system.”

TESS GLYNNE-JONES, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR 

“First of all it ensures that you are breathing - a lot of people hold their breath. Second of all, you can use your exhale to help you lift heavier weights, and then if you breathe in that way you create an abdominal brace, so that’s where you lock down your midsection, which is going to protect your back and your core, and help you lift heavier as well as reduce the likelihood of injury. So by taking those big inhales, bracing, and then exhaling forcefully, you just keep that midsection nice and tight as well.”

What are some good breathing drills to practice?

TESS GLYNNE-JONES, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR 

“Even if you’re just sat at your desk you can work on your breathing. Try to breathe in through the nose for three seconds, allow the tummy to expand, pause for five seconds, and exhale for three seconds or more through the mouth, then pause again. Keep flowing through that and then you can start increasing the seconds you’re breathing in and out for.”

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