Exhale - FIT Human Performance



November 12, 2017 – 

The general rule of thumb to breathing when working out is to breathe in while you lower/resist the weights and breathe out as you lift/push the weights. In other words, inhale during the negative/resiting portion of the rep and exhale during the positive/exertion portion of the rep. Exert effort = exhale!

However, this changes when you are doing higher intensity lifts with heavier weights and lower reps. Generally when doing powerlifting or heavy power training you’ll hold your air in during the actual rep itself and breathe in between reps.

Power Lifting

Taking a deep breath and holding your air in your core will stabilize your torso and allow you to generate more power when you lift. If you ever watch a powerlifting meet you’ll see that all power lifters do this. Think of the scene in the ‘Wild World of Sports’ commercials of yesteryear. The Power lifter takes a breath and then powerfully pushes the barbell overhead to strengthen his core and support his torso.

They start by taking a deep breath and holding it in as they squat down or push up. Then as they start to lift they may breath out or even shout or yell to help generate maximum force. Like when tennis players hit a ball HARD (check out the Sharapova Scream)!

If you are doing low rep workouts (i.e. sets of 5 reps or less) I challenge you to give this breathing technique a try. Hold your air in during the actual rep itself and breathe in and out in between reps when the weight is locked out at the top. Trust me you’ll feel stronger and may even set a new personal record in the gym! However most of us are practical and lift for strength and exercise and practice normal breathing habits. Thus, holding your breath like this isn’t dangerous for people in good health. After all you are only holding your air for the length of a single rep which is like 5 seconds or less. And if you don’t have the lung capacity to hold your breath for 5 seconds than you probably shouldn’t be lifting heavy weights either.

However, I have to post a “warning”…
The info covered in this blog post is for informational purposes only. YOU are responsible for yourself and you have to use common sense when working out. So if you have high blood pressure, if you have a hernia, or any other physical problem such as a heart or lung condition then you probably shouldn’t be holding your breath and you shouldn’t be doing any heavy lifting either. In this case you should check with your doctor before doing any exercise routine.

In good health,


“Breathing is your friend.” – Bob Geib