Breathing and Warm-Up – Are They So Important?

How To Breathe During Exercising?

While it always seemed pretty natural to me, there is a great deal of confusion as to how to breathe properly during a weight training exercise.

Without spending too much time on a fairly simple to understand concept, you should exhale when your muscles contract and inhale when they lengthen.

To explain a bit further, if you’re doing an exercise where you’re pushing a weight away from you, you would exhale during the pushing (contracting) and inhale during the return movement (lengthening).

If you’re performing an exercise where you’re pulling a weight toward you, you would exhale during the pulling (contracting) and inhale during the return (lengthening).

Now, if you’re performing an exercise as slowly as I recommend, you may find the need to take more than one breath during each repetition.

There’s nothing wrong with that, just make sure you’re breathing freely and evenly.

Perhaps even more important than proper breathing during exercise is simply breathing at all…make sure to never, I mean never hold your breath while exerting yourself maximally.

This can cause all sorts of problems including increased blood pressure, risk of hernia, and fainting.

Is Stretching/Warming Up Really Necessary?

As I mentioned earlier in this book, muscle flexibility is an important part of achieving total fitness.

But I do not recommend spending extra time on stretching, unless you have a therapeutic need for it due to a previous injury or existing condition.

Why? When you perform the type of resistance exercise in this book, you are automatically stretching the opposite muscle that you’re working.

For example, in the bicep curl, you are contracting your biceps, but at the same time, you are lengthening or stretching the opposing muscle, the triceps.

As long as you’re using a full range of motion, you’ll get all of the stretching you’ll need, plus you’ll avoid the problems that many stretch-fanatics encounter, including permanently stretched out ligaments and tendons.

I also don’t recommend excessive warm-ups.

Why? Again, warm-ups are built in with this type of workout. When you move slowly and deliberately, the first few repetitions of an exercise serve as the warm-up.

This saves you even more time, and provides all the warm-up you’ll need.

I do permit my students to do 1. warm-up set of the very first exercise of a routine if desired. This can help wake the body up and prepare it for the workout, but it is not necessary.

If you do choose to do this, make sure it’s a very light weight for you and easy to complete.

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