Valsalva maneuver – how to breathe when lifting weight

Proper breathing during exercise will help improve the quality and number of lifts. This is a proven fact, therefore, working with large weights, you should pay attention not only to the technique of the exercise, but also to breathing. Mastering the correct breathing will be as difficult as the technique, but then the body will memorize the desired sequence, the movements are synchronized with the inhale and the exhale. If you have recently started working with weights, then it will be useful for you to spend a few minutes on mastering the skill of proper breathing.

In any gym you can see a person who works with the weight by a curious method. He makes a full or incomplete lifting of the weight and at some point holds his breath. Holding your breath while lifting weights is one of the few ways breathing is confirmed by science.

The official name of the method is the Valsalva maneuver, its essence is in creating optimal pressure in the abdominal cavity. When you take a deep breath and then hold your breath, the intra-abdominal pressure increases, making the core of the body stronger. Strengthening the core allows you to better support the spine, increases stability and strength, thanks to it you will be able to lift large weights and withstand heavy loads without the risk of injury.

breath hold

Valsalva maneuver

Not everyone believes that this maneuver is safe. Of course, when it is performed, the body becomes as rigid as possible, but it does not bring negative consequences. Studies carried out with respect to this technique show that it does not cause an increase in the heart rate and blood pressure, and does not increase the risk of bleeding in the brain. The evidence presented in these studies is trying to challenge, but no one argues with the fact that the Valsalva maneuver significantly increases the effectiveness of training.

Before performing each ascent, a deep forced expiration is made, at the beginning of the ascent a deep breath is taken by the abdomen, followed by a breath hold. At the end of the repetition, exhalation is made, with force, through closed teeth.

Guided by this technique, you will increase strength and performance without increasing the load on the cardiovascular system.

If doubts about the safety of the Valsalva maneuver outweigh its potential effectiveness for you, then it will be useful for you to learn that this technique is widely used for medical and recreational purposes. It is used to diagnose if you suspect the possibility of sudden cardiac arrest, as a first aid for attacks of tachycardia.

This technique has contraindications, but they completely coincide with contraindications to power loads. Perform Valsalva reception is strictly prohibited when problems with the cardiovascular system, varicose veins and other diseases of the veins, any chronic diseases in the acute stage. In the presence of one of these states, weight lifting is also prohibited.


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