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Holding Your Breath During Lifts?

I have read that you should hold your breath during a few lifts such as bench press and shoulder press. Am I making an error? Or are we supposed to hold it in during the lifting portion of the exercise?

Maybe i’m behind the times when it comes to the “cutting edge” of lifting, but I’ve never heard of that. Holding your breath just sounds like a bad idea…

Some lifters use a technique called the Valsalva Maneuver, which is performed by attempting to forcibly exhale while keeping the mouth and nose closed. It generates intra-abdominal pressure and aids in supporting the vertebral column internally.

Opinions vary on the safety and efficacy of the technique, and it is certainly not recommended for anyone with a cardiovascular or respiratory condition, but it has been shown to increase performance, especially in maximum effort lifts.

[quote]Kal-El wrote:
I have read that you should hold your breath during a few lifts such as bench press and shoulder press. Am I making an error? Or are we supposed to hold it in during the lifting portion of the exercise?[/quote]

You are not making an error, hold it. If you have to breathe do it at the top - before you begin the lift or in between reps.

How can you NOT hold your breathe during a heavy lift?

This has been brought up quite a few times. Its kindof funny because when I start training a client for the first time, so many are concerned with when to breathe. During most exercises I would say you exhale during the most difficult part of the movement. But on structural exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and overhead presses, the extra stability gained through holding your breathe by far outweighs the risk IMO of holding it.

I dont know the stats on this stuff, but I have not heard of cardiovascular events happening from the valsalva manuever while lifting. Im sure they have but, I bet is is extremely rare.

My Ex Phys professor told me there had been studies done seeing blood pressure reach 400mm mercury while performing the valsalva manuever squatting… Now this sounds bad, but how risky is it really?

For Max Effort Lifts Holding Your Breath and using this Valsalva Maneuver that arthursaxon is talking about will defiantly help you lift more. You can also save one powerful breath for the sticking point in your lift to let out. This won’t work for everyone and defiantly won’t work if your sticking point is near the bottom.

Hold the breath while doing heavy lifts. I use it when doing movements in the 1-5 rep range.

Thanks for all the input. I have been exhaling on the postive since I began lifting. Are there safety hazards with breathing? Or is it more of a boost in power when you hold?

I think it becomes more of an issue as the weights get heavier. You tend to lose tightness when you breathe during a lift.

If you get loose on a squat with 225, it is pretty easy to recover. If you get loose with 675, not as easy to recover mid-lift.

hold the air in you STOMACH NOT YOUR HEAD more power this way also and safer.