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Squat: When to inhale and exhale

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Apr 28, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Breathing during the squat 

Squat: When to inhale and exhale

This is a short overview on how to breathe during the squat and what helped me specifically to reduce pain for this iconic exercise. You will also find links to supporting material and please leave a comment if you have found other techniques which helped you improve.

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Numbers of repetitions

Do you actually plan when you are going to breathe before you are going under the bar? If not, this should be a quantum leap for you. Depending on what kind of training you are pursuing it is has been a game changer for me to actually make a conscious decision on when to breathe between repetitions. With lighter weights between 40 - 60% of your one repetition maximum you can cluster 3 - 5 repetitions together before taking another breath. Once you work with 60 - 85% proceed to get a breath every 2 - 4 repetitions. When you move the big weights get used to breathing between every single repetition. This can vary based on your daily performance and freshness. This is not about making a bachelor's degree out of breathing, but before you step under the bar make a conscious choice on how many repetitions you want to cluster per breath.

Strong core

Once you have a plan on how to attack your set the next thing is to be aware that your core has to be tight. To achieve this you do not breathe during the entire motion of the back squat and only at the top where you are strongest. Look up Chris Duffin's breathing techniques for detailed instructions and one of the best breathing workshops on YouTube. For here and now first thing is to empty your body of air by breathing out through the mouth. You want every last breath gone. After this, you inhale sharply through the nose into your stomach, brace your abs like preparing to get kicked in the stomach and pull in the bar into your back. This will ensure maximum tightness of your body and especially the core. By doing this you protect yourself from injuries during the lift. 

Closed scissors

This is a tip to get you in a better position. Think of your abdomen like the two parts of scissors. You want the upper and lower part to point towards each other so that the scissors close rather than away from each other to form open scissors. The open scissor position puts you at a disadvantage to build the strongest possible position for a back squat. The easiest way to avoid this is to look down and front while performing the squat ratehr than up to the ceiling.

Whn to inhale and exhale


Further reading

Topics: Lift stronger, Squat, Powerlifting