When all else fails, just breathe. Your breathing does not have to be perfect when you strength train, but do not hold your breath. Holding your breath when you strength train increases your blood pressure, especially if you force an exhale through a closed throat. You may not even realize you are not breathing when you perform arm curls to strengthen your biceps. When you learn a logical breathing pattern to follow, you may have more success keeping your breathing regular and your blood pressure normal.
Exhale on the exertion phase of the exercise. Think of this as when you move the weight against gravity. Exhale during an arm curl when you raise the dumbbell to your shoulder.
Inhale on the easiest part of the exercise. Think of this as when you move the weight with gravity. Inhale during an arm curl when you lower the weight from your shoulder.
Use a full inhale and exhale as you perform the arm curl. Take your time lifting the weight to coincide with your exhale. Slowly lower the weight in time with your inhale.
Inhale and exhale through your nose or mouth, whichever is the most comfortable and effective for you.
- Try not to stress if you breathe backward of the recommended pattern. The important thing is to breathe. Practice until you get used to exhaling on the exertion and inhaling on the relaxation.
- Before you begin strength training, speak with your doctor, especially if you have high blood pressure.
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.