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How To Breathe While Doing Weight Lifting?

October 4th, 2012 · 1 Comment ·


People who practise Tai Chi or Yoga pay much attention to breathing. They believe that breathing will change the the internal energy. While weight lifting is more straight forward exercise, breathing does play a role. I dare not say breathing will make or break your weight training result, but since you still have to breathe, it does not hurt to learn to breathe correctly while you are pumping iron. If you are interested to learn more, read on.

Rule of Thumb for Breathing While Doing Weight Lifting:

  • Inhale (breathe in) when you lower the weight and exhale when you lift the weight.
    • For example, when you are bench pressing, you inhale when you lower the weight and exhale when you lift the weight.
  • If you are not sure how the above rule 1 applies on weight machine – inhale when the weight plates go down and exhale when the plates go up.
    • For example, when you are doing leg press, exhale when you are doing pressing your legs and vice versa.

So, one breath (in and out) for one repetition.

What happen if you cannot recall when to inhale or exhale? Should you just hold your breathe then?


No, you should never hold your breath. If you stop taking in air for all the repetitions, your blood pressure may increase significantly and place strain on the heart. You may have headache or feel dizzy. So, in worse case when you cannot get the “in” and “out” right, just breathe. Breathing normally is better than holding your breath. Sometimes, powerlifters and bodybuilders do hold their breath during a very heavy set, for several seconds, but it is not something for laymen or average weightlifter should do.

Not to worry if you are not able to do the correct breathing. It takes time to master it. Once you learn it, you will breathe correctly naturally. So, after learning this breathing technique, not to hold your breath when you are lifting heavy weight, including when you are moving furnitures.




Category: Weight Training

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1 response so far ↓
  • saibakbak // Oct 10, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    I always breathe wrongly during the weight training session. I found that I am comfortable to exhale while lower down the weight and inhale while lifting. It’s hard for me to inhale while lower down the weight. I feel pressure in my heart if I inhale while lower down the weight

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