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Holding Breath While Lifting...Bad Habit

For aslong as I can remember I have had a perhaps nasty habit of holding my breath while concentrating on something that requires physical exertion. (yes wanking included)

The problem is while lifting, I perform much better If I hold my breath most of the time and only occassionally take deep breaths, as opposed to breathing deeply consistently and smoothly, like how everyone tells you to.

Infact If I try to breath fluently while lifting I find myself getting exhausted much faster, loosing concentration, jitteryness, and just general overall poorer performance.

What are peoples thoughts on this? Is this natural? Or just a really bad habit i need to kick.

Every once in a while I catch myself holding my breath the last rep or two of a set…then I think about it and remind myself, inhale on the positive and exhale on the negative.

Kindke,
For a lot of people holding their breath is a natural reaction to intense concentration, intense exertion, or both. If what you’re doing works for you then I wouldn’t worry about trying to change it. The only thing you might want to be wary of is your blood pressure. If you have a history of high BP then i’d be careful as holding your breath while exerting yourself can really make it rise

Isn’t holding your breath during something heavy, like squats or deadlifts, normal and perhaps even beneficial? Most people before they perform the lift take a deep breath and hold it until the lift is done in order to stabilize their torso and spine.

It might be not beneficial to do it with all exercises, though, due to blood pressure reasons.

When lifting near maximal weights, I breathe out only after clearing my “sticking point”. E.g. when benching, I inhale deeply, lower the weight to my chest, press and don’t breathe out until the lockout portion.

Using lighter weights for higher reps, this obviously is only an option for the last few reps, as GDI Inc mentioned.

Just be careful. The last time I held my breathe I ended up blowing some blood vessels in my eye.

i would hold my breath tight in anything that loads the spine

i would work on releasing breath after sticking point. and hold my breath in chest area not gut. just my opinion. maybe look into the old breathing squat routines for a while to assist you, in training your breathing pattern

[quote]mbdix wrote:
i would work on releasing breath after sticking point. and hold my breath in chest area not gut. just my opinion. maybe look into the old breathing squat routines for a while to assist you, in training your breathing pattern[/quote]

pretty sure you want to be using pushing your stomach out and bracing it hard (which I guess is holding it in your gut.)

[quote]irish20cb wrote:
Kindke,
For a lot of people holding their breath is a natural reaction to intense concentration, intense exertion, or both. If what you’re doing works for you then I wouldn’t worry about trying to change it. The only thing you might want to be wary of is your blood pressure. If you have a history of high BP then i’d be careful as holding your breath while exerting yourself can really make it rise[/quote]

As someone with high blood pressure I can tell you the negative effects of holding your breath while lifting.
One day I was at the gym training a smaller friend of mine to become more knowledgeable in the gym and such. He was spotting me on the bench press and sure enough like an idiot I was holding my breath on the concentric phase. Eventually, the pressure mounted to a point where a blood vessel literally ruptured in my head and I had to be taken to the hospital. My advice is that you never EVER hold your breath when lifting.

Thanks for the advice. I know breathing is important but actively thinking to ‘breath’ when I would otherwise instinctively hold my breath really really hampers my performance.

For example doing simple press-ups just ‘normally’ I can manage about 20, however when i do a set concentrating perfectly on my breathing this falls to a pitiful 9-10 reps.

Its really strange.

If you’re holding your breath through squats and deadlifts you are susceptible to hernias, strained intercostals, popped blood vessels, etc.

thats why people grunt and make noise when they lift. its usually air coming out of their mouth. if you watch anybody who is lifting big weights, they breathe in and hold their breath and then at a certain point they release air and then breathe in again and repeat the process. its natural for most people. if you are doing that then you are ok. if you hold your breathe the entire time, then you need to fix that.

check this vid of kevin levrone around the 3:30 mark to see how to breathe when lifting heavy…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMaJZo0nqWo&feature=channel_page

[quote]DanErickson wrote:
Just be careful. The last time I held my breathe I ended up blowing some blood vessels in my eye.[/quote]

WHAT ?

Learn how to hold your breath properly when you do big lifts like squats. Keeps your trunk big and stable with air. Release air at the top.

^^^ for sure

I find in the gym I yawn alot and occaisonally get this sensation where it feels as if I am breathing out my ears. I explained it to a buddy and he thinks its increased inner cranial pressure from bad breathing.
Anyone else ever experience this

[quote]jasmincar wrote:
DanErickson wrote:
Just be careful. The last time I held my breathe I ended up blowing some blood vessels in my eye.

WHAT ?[/quote]

Yah, I felt something really weird in my eye at the time. Later that night I was taking a shower and it kind of felt like something stabbed my eye. I looked in the mirror later and the whtie of my eye was all red. Was like that for about 2 months.

[quote]D Public wrote:
thats why people grunt and make noise when they lift. its usually air coming out of their mouth. if you watch anybody who is lifting big weights, they breathe in and hold their breath and then at a certain point they release air and then breathe in again and repeat the process. its natural for most people. if you are doing that then you are ok. if you hold your breathe the entire time, then you need to fix that.

check this vid of kevin levrone around the 3:30 mark to see how to breathe when lifting heavy…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMaJZo0nqWo&feature=channel_page
[/quote]

BEAST 495x3 flat, 405x6 over and over incline, plus one at 450lbs all w/ great form no bounce, the guy was a beast!!!

For squats i exhale to help get me out of the “hole”