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Old 09-16-2010, 11:45 PM   #1
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Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

It makes it harder, not easier - especially over a protracted period. How come it's such a common thing, when lifting something really heavy, to hold your breath?
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Old 09-17-2010, 12:33 AM   #2
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Re: Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

It stabilizes your torso by keeping your diaphragm motionless.
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Old 09-17-2010, 01:53 AM   #3
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Re: Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

Same reason sprinters do, I think.

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Originally Posted by Wiki
Anaerobic exercise is exercise intense enough to trigger anaerobic metabolism. It is used by athletes in non-endurance sports to promote strength, speed and power and by body builders to build muscle mass. Muscles trained using anaerobic exercise develop differently compared to aerobic exercise, leading to greater performance in short duration, high intensity activities, which last from mere seconds up to about 2 minutes.
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Old 09-17-2010, 01:54 AM   #4
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Re: Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

When you breathe you are moving your stomach back and forth. Lifting the weights you have to stabilize your torso, as previously said, you have the stomach muscles essentially maximally contracted at least at some point of the lift, which makes breathing very difficult. You donīt need to exchange air in the lungs for the short time the lift needs. You can concentrate on the lift better not having to try to adapt the breathing motion in this extreme case. Holding your breath is the best option, imo.
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Old 09-17-2010, 01:57 AM   #5
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Re: Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

It allows you to activate your core for more strength...the problem is that it can lead to hernias. This is why people use a weight belt (even though doing so will lead to a weaker core). Holding your breath allows you to push against the abdominal wall = more strength in the core.
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Old 09-17-2010, 02:31 AM   #6
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Re: Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

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Originally Posted by plaaynde View Post
When you breathe you are moving your stomach back and forth. Lifting the weights you have to stabilize your torso, as previously said, you have the stomach muscles essentially maximally contracted at least at some point of the lift, which makes breathing very difficult. You donīt need to exchange air in the lungs for the short time the lift needs. You can concentrate on the lift better not having to try to adapt the breathing motion in this extreme case. Holding your breath is the best option, imo.
When I lift weights it's a number of repetitions and that's really what I meant. I take your point though, in that holding your breath probably works for one or two lifts, but over a long period it is definitely counterproductive (at least for me). Probably it's my stupid body not realising I've got a dozen more after the first. What I found odd about it was that it's a subconscious thing that happens. I was speculating there was therefore some advantage I couldnt think of.

Thanks to those who responded.
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Old 09-17-2010, 02:51 AM   #7
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Re: Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

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When I lift weights it's a number of repetitions and that's really what I meant. I take your point though, in that holding your breath probably works for one or two lifts, but over a long period it is definitely counterproductive (at least for me).
In this case, find out at which moments during the lifting-resting process breating is most easy. Try that out, doing it consciously at first, after a time it will become an automatism.

Last edited by plaaynde; 09-17-2010 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:50 AM   #8
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Re: Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

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In this case, find out at which moments during the lifting-resting process breating is most easy. Try that out, doing it consciously at first, after a time it will become an automatism.
This is bad advice.

OP: you breathe in on the down phase and out on the up phase.

So, bicep curl: breathe in when you`re lowering, out when you`re lifting. Same goes for squat, etc. Tricep is the opposite: when you`re extending you breath out, in when you`re returning to base.

For whatever exercise, when you`re doing the maximal effort, you should be breathing out.
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:23 AM   #9
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Re: Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

Agree my advice maybe was a little on the principal side. Itīs probably about the same thing, though. When you do the effort, and the abdominals are at least somewhat contracted, itīs easier to breathe out than in, and when relaxing, itīs a suitable time to breathe in.

I do so light weight excercise myself, that I donīt have to worry. More on the "feel good" basis.

Last edited by plaaynde; 09-17-2010 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:58 AM   #10
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Re: Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

It would be a terrible idea to breath in while doing heavy lifting...it would invite injury.

Don't give advice if you don't have any idea what you're talking about.

(Disclaimer: I was a personal trainer for 5 years with 2 years of a kinesiology degree and a national level athlete.)
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:30 AM   #11
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Re: Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

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Originally Posted by bunny View Post
It makes it harder, not easier - especially over a protracted period. How come it's such a common thing, when lifting something really heavy, to hold your breath?
I don't hold my breath. I exhale at the point of exertion. I believe this is the correct way to lift.
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:31 AM   #12
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Re: Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkeN_fkXrdE

Thread should be in H&F
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:42 AM   #13
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Re: Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

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Originally Posted by durkadurka33 View Post
It would be a terrible idea to breath in while doing heavy lifting...it would invite injury.

Don't give advice if you don't have any idea what you're talking about.

(Disclaimer: I was a personal trainer for 5 years with 2 years of a kinesiology degree and a national level athlete.)
Congrats. Read my posts again. This is SMP. You give hands on advice, and I can see they are great. People are responsible in this thread to know where they are posting. Here you maybe should be allowed to think a little more about where the breathing principles stem from.

Last edited by plaaynde; 09-17-2010 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:02 PM   #14
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Re: Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

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(Disclaimer: I was a national level athlete.)
Caveat: Canada.
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:40 PM   #15
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Re: Why do we hold our breath when we lift weights?

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Hard! Hurry, Hard! HAAARD! Whoa! Right off! Right off! Hard! HURRY HARD!
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