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  #1   ^
Old Tue, Feb-26-13, 15:35
CallmeAnn's Avatar
CallmeAnn CallmeAnn is offline
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Plan: HFLC/IF
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Location: Houston area
Default Question for the exercise experts about breathing

My husband, who used to be a body builder on a level of just doing it because he liked it, works out with me. He has always been good at reading his own body's reactions to different techniques and supplements. Anyway, he has always used the practice of performing his reps at very slow speeds with form as perfect as he could make it. He was never a social gym rat. He didn't yak and visit between sets. He always got very good results and built a lot of actual, useful, real world strength as well as a very nice, balanced physique.
All of this to establish his credibility. Along with much of the advice from published experts, he was careful to inhale on the lift and exhale on the negative end of each rep. Naturally, he has encouraged/instructed me to breathe the same way. However, he performed the lift with a slightly faster, but still deliberate rate and resisted gravity on the way 'down' ala isometrics. In contrast, I have been using the Slow Burn technique by Fred Hahn, which calls for very slow movement on both the lift and the release movements. I simply can't breathe in slowly enough to limit my inhaling to the lift. I find I must breathe both in and out, in a slow, deliberate way, matching it to the speed of my lift and also on the negative, or 'down' motion. It's supposed to take about thirty seconds to lift the weight and the same amount going down. Should I be able to inhale for thirty seconds? It would seem to me that if I am doing the same exertion to lift as to release, it wouldn't matter which motion gets the inhale and which gets the exhale.
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  #2   ^
Old Tue, Feb-26-13, 16:53
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Seejay Seejay is offline
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I think you are right and are doing exactly what I would do. No, not necessary to inhale for 30 seconds.

I have done "Power of 10" which is a slow rep protocol. Also I did 2 years of a 3 year degree in Phys Ed, so i did the weight training part, metabolism, and physiology. Some thoughts, in no particular order:

Sometimes body builders of the old school, used the inhale as structural strength. That is, the air filling the inside, plus hardening the musceles around your core, built a tower of strength that assisted in some lifts in some conditions. Perhaps that's where they get the "inhale on lift" meme, don't know.

- When you are holding your breath you end up relying on the air column and paradoxically not using muscles as much. Beware the held breath. But a pause between inhale and exhale is different - the held breath has a closed throat.

- how much you can inhale, how slowly, can be trained. if you want to do more than now it's possible to increase your rib cage capacity and all that but not really necessary. Unless you want to train to take bigger breaths and hold them.

- Body builders in the past didn't go in much for super slow protocol so the breathing guidance is from different set/rep/tempo schemes.
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  #3   ^
Old Tue, Feb-26-13, 17:00
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Nancy LC Nancy LC is offline
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I always thought all this "you must breathe like this" stuff was probably a lot of hooey. I've never seen any actual science backing it up. Breathe however your body wants it, IMHO.
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  #4   ^
Old Tue, Feb-26-13, 17:41
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CallmeAnn CallmeAnn is offline
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Plan: HFLC/IF
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Location: Houston area
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Well, except that I've tried it both ways. The structural support described by Seejay closely describes how I felt when I was careful to breathe in on exertion and out on release. It seemed to give me strength. Sometimes I would go and try to exercise with him, but I hated it. Not anymore.
With this, however, it makes it easier to lift reeeeaaalllyyy slowly if I'm breathing in and out.

Thanks, Seejay
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  #5   ^
Old Wed, Feb-27-13, 11:39
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Seejay Seejay is offline
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You are welcome! good luck. I found that exerting through multiple breaths is harder, thus builds up more muscle faster, too. well, not that much faster but I could see improvement which is way fun.
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  #6   ^
Old Wed, Feb-27-13, 12:01
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Liz53 Liz53 is offline
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I wouldn't call myself any sort of expert on this subject, but Seejay's reponse triggered a memory for me. When I took pilates in Houston, the advanced method of breathing was to breathe in upon exertion and breathe out on the return. We did lots of exercises in which we did a few reps first breathing out on exertion, and breathing in on return, then repeated the exercise for a few more reps reversing the breathing. The latter way of doing it is more difficult, requires more control of deep muscles, and more stability.

That seems to correlate with Seejay saying that exerting through mutliple breaths is more difficult. See, you're ahead of the curve, Ann....
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  #7   ^
Old Wed, Feb-27-13, 17:46
CallmeAnn's Avatar
CallmeAnn CallmeAnn is offline
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Plan: HFLC/IF
Stats: 218/193.8/135 Female 5'4"
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Progress: 29%
Location: Houston area
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Well! That's a rarity - especially when it comes to exercise. It's also funny (odd) that it's actually easier to me, with this Slow Burn method, to breathe evenly throughout the set. Maybe that means there actually is something different about it.
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  #8   ^
Old Sun, Mar-03-13, 22:24
MarkMoxom MarkMoxom is offline
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Hi Ann,

You have to go back quite along way in the history of weightlifting for strength and fitness to understand where the breathing method comes from.

According to some of the ancient texts it would appear that athletes were encouraged to breathe in during exertion in order to stiffen the body some what as this was though to be an aid to both lifting and exertion and also the stiffening of the body meant that muscle were held in place and injury was less likely.

Other texts point out that the mere act of breathing consciously helped the athlete concentrate on the exercise that they were doing rather than be distracted by what's going on around them.

Fast forwarding to our present century many people exercise using machines which while they offer a much safer environment to work in they do significantly limit the benefit one can get by doing the same exercise with free weights.

From my experience focus-breathing is only really necessary when you are handling very large free weights as the extra support and the consciousness of breathing both help to make sure that the lift is carried out safely.

For those of us who lift just within our normal capacity the need for conscious breathing is obviously not as crucial although some might argue that it's helpful.

Personally when I'm exercising at normal speed I breathe with the exercise. However if I'm doing a very very slow repetition then I just breathe as I need to.

The bottom line of all of these is that the body requires a certain amount of oxygen in order to perform the exercise and not suffer oxygen depletion.

So the important thing is to breathe. How you breathe is very much up to you.

Hope that helps,

Mark
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  #9   ^
Old Sun, Mar-03-13, 22:34
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CallmeAnn CallmeAnn is offline
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Posts: 1,629
 
Plan: HFLC/IF
Stats: 218/193.8/135 Female 5'4"
BF:?/44%?/?
Progress: 29%
Location: Houston area
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I've pretty much been breathing evenly throughout each rep. Thanks for the lesson and the confirmation of what seemed right to me.

The time before last, I took a small notebook and wrote down all of my weight amounts and seat settings for the machines. Of course that resulted in a list of exactly which machines I have been using. It makes my workout go more smoothly and I like the consistency it allows. The funny thing is, according to my book, I needed higher weights last time I went. The previous amounts seemed too light. Either that shows great progress or last Monday was an off night. The latter is actually quite possible, as I did kind of get off to a bad start. Also, I decided to work out my weaker, upper body first after I had such a hard time on Monday. Something was different. We'll go tomorrow as well and I'll see then.
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