Weight training is an essential part of any fitness program, but can be potentially harmful when done incorrectly. Proper breathing is a very valuable and often overlooked function of the human body. When you inhale, you take in oxygen, which gets transported through blood cells. When you exhale, you get rid of toxins and gases such as carbon dioxide. Proper breathing during exercise is of utmost importance because it helps oxygenate hard-working muscles and supplies them with nutrient-rich blood.
When it comes to weight-training, most of us hold (or force) our breath as a means of handling intensity. Unfortunately, breath-holding decreases our ability to produce high intensity muscular contractions, and it can actually be dangerous. Breath-holding during exercise increases blood pressure rapidly and this can lead to fainting, hernia and painful Exercise-Induced-Headaches, or even stroke.
To put it simply, always exhale on exertion-through the mouth. For example, when you are pushing a dumbbell up for a chest press, you exhale on the push and inhale-through the nose, as you bring it slowly to your chest. When you are doing a pull up, you exhale on the pulling up motion and inhale on the way down.
Exhale Inhale Exhale Inhale
For abdominal exercises, inhale on the lowering phase of a crunch or sit up and exhale upon exertion, which is when the shoulders lift off from the ground. For a squat, the inhale is on the lowering phase, the exhale comes as you exert force back to a standing position.
Inhale Exhale Inhale Exhale
Keeping a healthy flow of oxygen in your bloodstream is one of the biggest favors you can do for your body. It improves your body’s ability to function in many ways, ultimately helping you to lose weight. If you make a habit of breathing the right way from the onset, you’ll maximize the benefits you get from weight training.
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