How to Breathe In & Out for Dumbbell Exercises

Return to your proper breath technique as often as you think of it.
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Proper breath technique is often an overlooked part of people's workout routines -- but it really should be the first thing to master. By providing your body with more oxygen during strength training, you're allowing it to create the energy it needs to power your muscles, and you're preventing the buildup of lactic acid, which causes you to feel soreness. With that in mind, take some time to learn the proper way to breathe before your next dumbbell-lifting session. Whether you're doing biceps curls, bench presses or any other dumbbell lift, the process is the same.

    Take a few deep breaths before you begin lifting your dumbbells, to provide your muscles with more oxygen before the work ahead. Place one hand on your belly, just below your ribcage, and practice taking deep breaths that fill your lungs all the way to your diaphragm, where your hand is now resting. If you feel your belly rise when you inhale, you know you're belly breathing -- that's a good thing.

    Grasp the dumbbell -- or set of dumbbells -- and take a deep inhalation, working to fill your lungs all the way to the bottom. You can inhale through either your nose or mouth, whichever you prefer.

    Lift the dumbbell and exhale from the mouth at the same time, fighting the urge to hold your breath as you lift. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is the proper inhalation-exhalation process for safe and effective weight lifting.

    Pause for a second or two at the end of the lift, neither inhaling nor exhaling.

    Inhale as you lower the weight back to its starting position.


    • Continue this pattern of inhaling as you lower the weight and exhaling as you lift the weight throughout your entire dumbbell lifting routine.


    • If you find yourself very short of breath during your lifting exercises, stop and take a break, focusing only on deep inhalations and exhalations. If the problem continues, talk to your doctor.

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