The Proper Way to Inhale or Exhale on the Lifting or Lowering Phases of an Exercise

The proper way to inhale or exhale on the different phases of an exercise can be debated.

One of the main objectives of this training technique is to open up or expand our rib cages. This is the exact opposite of our shoulders rounding forward and our rib cages being closed or compressed. Usually we are taught to exhale on the exertion phase of an exercise, but if we do this on all exercises we”ll notice that our shoulders want to roll forward or internally rotate instead of opening up as intended.

For instance: when we perform a leg press we would exhale on the concentric or work phase and inhale on the lowering or eccentric phase, but on a rowing exercise we would inhale on the work phase and exhale on the lowering phase. As you pull the weight towards you, you’re opening the chest and squeezing our shoulder blades together, again, opening the rib cage. Once we are out of pain and we start becoming symmetrical, our rib cages open up, showing our postural improvements which allow our shoulders to stay back comfortably and effortlessly.

Here are some examples of exercises that should be performed while inhaling on the lifting or concentric phase:

  • Rows
  • Pullovers
  • Back extensions
  • Triceps extensions
  • Cable Torso rotation

Here are some examples of exercises that should be performed while exhaling on the concentric phase:

  • Push ups or bench press
  • Leg press
  • Squat
  • Hamstring curls
  • Planks (exhale and push the navel upward on each exhale, maintain position on the inhalation phase)

Here we have exercises that can be performed by inhaling or exhaling on the exertion phase:

  • Shoulder press
  • Hip Extensions
  • Calf Raises
  • Bicep Curls
  • Quad Extension

THE BOTTOM LINE; Whether we inhale or exhale on different exercises, a few things we are positive of;

We must breathe during our sets or routine and stay in touch with our pelvic tilt on all of the above

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