Breathing is an unconscious function our body does everyday. It is essential for us to stay alive. While this is knowledge we are all aware of, some of us tend to forget the importance of this during exercise, more specifically, during strength training. We are so focused on completing the task at hand that we hold our breath and our body suffers because of it.
As a beginner of exercise, it is imperative that you know the importance of breathing while weight lifting at the very start of your program. Before you learn technique, before you discover what comes easy and what’s a challenge, even before you towel off that first bead of sweat. The common rule of thumb is to exhale during exertion (working against gravity) and inhale when you’re bringing yourself back to start. Let’s take a basic squat for example. As you lower your body down toward the ground, you inhale, taking oxygen into the body. As you begin to push yourself back up to a standing position, you are exhaling. While this is a proven way to effectively oxygenate your body, that important thing is not when you are breathing, but that you are breathing.
When working with our Portland personal trainer clients, we have them count out each rep loud enough so that we can hear them. While this may seem elementary, it encourages consistent breathing and allows them to focus more on the exercise and less on when they should be breathing in and out. Just one missed breath could alter the direction of the workout, leaving you feeling light headed, dizzy, or even nauseous. I don’t know about you, but experiencing any one of those feelings is the last thing I want to feel when I’m lifting weights. Not to mention that you’re putting yourself in danger of injury when you cut off the oxygen supply to your body and prevent your muscles from achieving peak performance.
If the previous benefits of maintaining a consistent breathing pattern don’t have you convinced, listen to this. Our body needs a steady oxygen supply during exercise to use as fuel to increase our fat burn and amp up our workouts to make them as effective as possible. What’s not to like about that? So there you have it. Breathing makes all the difference in your workout. Instead of holding your breath during those push-ups, allow yourself to breathe so that you can remain on your A game to becoming a lean, mean, fat burning machine.