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Don't Forget to BREATHE!

Aug 14, 2013

Breathing is essential to life. Most of the time breathing is an involuntary action that the brain controls. However, when we are exercising it is imperative to be aware of our breathing. The main technique to remember about our breathing during exercise is to never hold our breath. Holding our breath during exercise can lead to problems such as Valsalva, increased blood pressure, and possible heart problems.

The benefit of breathing properly is that we will better maximize our muscles functional capacity. Proper breathing technique will allow us to be more effective and efficient with our workouts. If we hold our breath during exercise, we will build up excess carbon dioxide in the muscles and makes them less efficient. Proper breathing will allow us to get those last reps of the sets and proper breathing will allow us to do more reps and help reach our goals.

Proper breathing technique can take a little time to become second nature. Some practice at home with less intense exercises can go a long way. I will explain the proper breathing technique through a simple bicep curl, but can be applied to all exercises. The first point of emphasis is to exhale on the contraction (exertion) phase of the exercise. With the dumbbell at our hips bringing the weight up to our shoulders would be the contraction phase (breathing out). We should be exhaling throughout the range of motion to fully maximize efficiency. After we complete our curl, while bringing the weight back to a set position we are in the inhalation phase of our breathing. It is important to have a constant respiratory flow. If our flow is not balanced then our muscles will fatigue faster and we won’t be able to exercise at our full capacity. This, in turn, affects the amount of exercise we are doing and hindering us from reaching our goals.


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