How to Breathe When Lifting Weights – Part 3

by Jordan Syatt March 18, 2014

In part 1 of this series I explained, in detail, how to breathe when lifting weights. I also discussed how to properly utilize bracing techniques designed to improve strength and safety while training.

In part 2 of this series I went into greater detail and outlined exactly how to breathe when lifting maximal weights. Specifically, I gave explicit instructions detailing how to optimize your breathing to instantly increase maximal strength in movements such as the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

If you haven’t already, make sure to read parts 1 & 2 prior to the rest of part 3.

In today’s piece, I end this 3-part series by outlining proper breathing & bracing mechanics for lifting sub-maximal weights.

While “sub-maximal” weights generally imply anything lower than your 1-5 repetition maximum, I prefer to sub-divide this group into two separate categories:

> Heavy Accessory Work: (5-8 heavy repetitions)


> Light(er) Accessory Work: (9+ light(er) repetitions)

With that in mind, watch the brief video below for a complete explanation of how to breathe when lifting sub-maximal weights.

How to Breathe When Lifting Sub-Maximal Weights

To Recap

During Heavy Accessory Work: Utilize a partial valsalva maneuver to increase intra-abdominal pressure, total body tension, and overall strength performance. Remember, a partial valsalva involves holding your breath and bracing throughout the entire movement until you blow past your sticking point. As you pass through the sticking point, forcefully exhale until you return to the starting position. Repeat this cycle for the prescribed number of sets and repetitions. 

During Light(er) Accessory Work: Breathe naturally by inhaling during the eccentric (muscle lengthening) portion of the lift and exhaling during the concentric (muscle shortening) portion of the lift. Don’t hold your breath and don’t brace as hard as you possibly can. Repeat this cycle for the prescribed number of sets and repetitions.

Wrapping Up

I hope you enjoyed this series and were able to take away some valuable information to improve your strength and performance.

Speaking of which, are you going to be in NYC on Sunday, April 13th 2014?

If you are, don’t miss your opportunity to attend my Maximum Strength Squat, Press, Deadlift Seminar! A 5-hour seminar being held at none other than THE CrossFit 5th Ave, this presentation will teach you exactly how to get as strong as humanly possible in the quickest, safest, and most efficient manner.

Interested in leraning how to get strong as all hell?

>>>Reserve Your Seat Here (Spots Are Limited!)<<<

Hope to see you there!

Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal.


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