060616 Getting the most from your breathing (1/3)
Getting the most from your breathing
Breathing, as we all know is an important function of life. It is just as important knowing how to breathe or not breathe, while lifting. Surfing through the internet will be a roller coaster ride if you are looking for helpful directions in the proper way to breathe. Some say, in fact most are saying to breathe out as you lift the weight. Unless there is a medical reason for breathing out as you enter the concentric phase of the lift don’t do it.
Breathing out works as long as the weight is light, insignificant, and puny because your body doesn’t need to stabilize itself as much. However, once the load increases up to a level that will make a difference in your strength levels, you will automatically hold your breath near to, at, and through the sticking point. Try and see for yourself.
Now I am not so naïve as to think some of you will not force yourself to consciously breathe, during the heaviest part of the lift just to show that you can do it. However, if you (or your partner if you have one) are truly paying attention to your breathing patterns, you will notice that you hold your breath during the heaviest part of the lift.
This is similar to trying to achieve muscle isolation; with light weights it may work. But once again, with heavier weights your body will reach out for assistance from surrounding muscles to complete the lift. The body does what it has to do to complete a task, whether it be recruiting other muscles or breathing adjustments.
Regarding breathing, you can make these adjustments to enhance your ability to move heavier weight. It will take a conscious effort on your part to successfully change a previous non-helpful habit such as forcing yourself to breathe out throughout the concentric portion of the heaviest part of the lift.
Instead, some coaches disregard the prebreathing phase altogether and recommend using a modified version of the Valsalva maneuver throughout the lift. As previously stated, you will automatically hold your breath during the heaviest part of the lift—this is normal. What is not normal is using it throughout the entirety of the lift. Problems may arise when using the Valsalva maneuver.
 Valsalva Maneuver
The Valsalva maneuver is performed by attempting to forcibly exhale while keeping the mouth and nose closed.