T Nation

Breathing During Reps

I have had some spotters telling me that I’m not breathing through my reps and that it’s not only dangerous, but ineffectual.

Since they have mentioned it I have noticed they’re right but I seem stronger and more stable in the bench and squat while holding my breath until near the end of a rep. Then I exhale smoothly, suck in another lung full or air and hold it through all the eccentric and most of the concentric again.

I don’t see anything in the archives which recommends breathing habits during a lift. I generally breathe through a set when it is not near a max attempt but when I go heavy I always seem to hold it. Anyone have some knowledge on the subject???

I like what Charles Staley recomends dont focus on the breathing just make sure you do it. In other words let it take care of its self. Breath in a way that feels natural and comfortable to you.

Also in big compound moves, squats, dl’s bench, etc, by holding your breath you are increasing abdominal pressure and making a solid core base.

I personally do the same as you and hold it through the motion until I am clear of the sticking/tough part of the range of motion. Near the end. Breath and go again.

Just dont go multiple reps or extended periods holding that much pressure.

Thats my take anyhew.

Here’s what my wife blasts into my skull(She’s an EP(Exercise Physiologist))She tells me that based on all the VO2 max mumbo jumbo, that consistant breating is required, even during heavy movemnts, but like as “Also in big compound moves, squats, dl’s bench, etc, by holding your breath you are increasing abdominal pressure and making a solid core base.”

adding that pressure can offer some benefit, This is what i do, on a compound lift i will actually time my breathing and the movemnt to correspond ie; multiple breath as i move and i will actully practice it before the actual lift to time my self and it seems it actually takes my mind off the weight and places it on my form and rythym…thats what works for me…and my wife doesnt blast me for it…she can hurt me so i better listen

I believe this is a natural reaction. You can make your breath work for you, however. In martial arts they have kiyups (the loud sounds they make). These actually help you generate force.

If you exhale in a short burst, you can achieve a similar power boost. When I do it, I don’t inhale and exhale normally… rather I breath in slowly and deeply, and then I push the breath out with force at the same time I push the weight.

Hope that helps

Thanks Guys,

I have a feeling that it’s important to keep breathing smoothly in most exersize situations and I will try to subconsciously condition myself to achieve this. But, as I’m sure you know, when doing a max attempt the internal pressure can help build a solid foundation from which to control the weight you’re lifting. I’ll research the subject a little more and see what the experts recommend.


I think I read somewhere that if you hold your breath during the concentric protion of a lift you can contribute to acid reflux/heart burn.

  1. Not really an issue unless you already get heartburn.
  2. Could be total BS. I might have read it in Muscle & Fiction.