Breathing During the Squat

I have what may be a really basic question on this topic. In the past, I’ve always inhaled deeply on the way down, then held it tight when I coming back up. Lately I’ve gotten the impression that I may be doing this wrong. I understand that some lifters (maybe the better ones) take a really deep breath at the top and then hold it during the entire squat in order to brace during the full range of the lift. Does anyone else here do that? I’ve tried it and find it difficult to hold my breath during the entire lift. Again, sorry if I’m asking something that is obvious, but I’m curious how everyone else here is doing this. I’m especially interested in proper bracing because of a history of spine issues (had microdiscectomy a few years ago); I’m always looking for a way to squat intensely but as safely as possible.
Thanks in advance for any input you can offer.

Yup. It sucks and you blow out blood vessels, but it is worth it.


I used to breathe in coming down also. Switched to breathing in deep then open my mouth wide to force in more air and start to drop right as I’m filled with air. I’m not very comfortable breathing in air pausing for a second then squatting. Then I feel like I need to let it out early.

That’s what I do. You get used it.

Personally take full breathe as deep as possible. Before I ever unrack. Then hold through the entire motion unless doing reps. I pretty much only do sets of 15 plus or singles lol. So if doing reps the weight is light enough I don’t compromise bracing and the such. But with a max effort it’s full breathe, full brace, held from start to stop.

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Yep, I take as much air in as possible at the top and I don’t exhale until the rep is complete. If it is a heavy double I’ll often hold my air/brace for both reps. Like Mark said, just something to get used to!


From unrack to rerack only one breath of its a single? That’s a long time I breathe in to unrack then again before the single

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I take a deep breath and hold it on the way down and probably most of the way up. Sitting in my chair I can’t think at what point I start to exhale.

Are you squatting out of a rack? I believe @Reed is in a monolift.

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O that never even crossed my mind

I still have to do the same thing when walking out. Big breathe, two steps back tops and squat definitely harder which is why I much prefer a mono haha


Inhale at the top, exhale when the lift is complete. Same withe every lift for me. I remember asking for a spot on the bench once for a single, didn’t know the guy. It was a grinder and the guy was yelling “breath out, breath out!” Apparently he was worried when I started changing colors. LOL

For a single or doubles, it’s the last thing i do before I unrack. Walk out two steps, sip in a little extra while the weight settles, and don’t let it go until the weight is back in the rack.

Triple can go either way.

For my heavy attempts I’ve tried unracking and then breathing shallowly but honestly I prefer my last deep breath, unrack, walk back, squat, then I’m allowed to breath shallowly before re-racking though usually I don’t bother until the weight is off my back. This includes in competition.

Sends your BP way higher and you’ll blow blood vessels as mentioned but it sure helps with the brace.

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Just before going down, breathe in and push out against the belt and hold it. Hold it all the way up. The first few times you do this your abs and sides will be sore but they will get stronger with time. This is the secret to spinal health.

Also, heavy good mornings for triples while bracing like this will work wonders. Think about this. In the bottom position of the squat, when you have some forward lean, is that not a good morning? If your legs can squat 500, but you cant hold 500 in a leaned forward position what will happen. I have worked the good morning so that I can good morning more than I can squat so I dont ever worry about back stability in the hole.