How to Do Breathing Squats

Barbell Squat

Breathing squats, sometimes called 20 rep squats, are a challenging, intense exercise. You complete 20 repetitions of squats with a weight you usually use for 10 repetitions. Only perform breathing squats if you are familiar with basic squatting form. Using heavy weight is inherent to this style of squatting, so correct form is important for safety.

Warm up prior to lifting. Perform dynamic stretches such as walking lunges or jog on the spot for up to 10 minutes to get your muscles ready for action.

Choose a weight with which you usually complete 10 repetitions of squats. Place the barbell on your back. The weight should rest below your neck on your lats, not on your neck.

Position your feet about hip-width apart. Your toes should be facing forward. Keep a slight bend in your knees; do not lock out your knees at the top of the movement.

Complete 10 repetitions at an even, comfortable pace. Inhale as you lower yourself, exhale as you press up. Start each squat by pushing back your hips, then follow with your knees. Keep your weight back on your heels. You want your knees to stay behind your toes throughout the exercise.

Take a deep breath after every rep to combat the fatigue that is starting to set in. While in the standing position, pause and breathe in and out deeply through your mouth. Continue in this fashion for the next three to four repetitions.

Take two or three deep breaths between reps once you get to the 15th repetition, as your legs probably will be shaking. Finish off the last few squats in this manner.


If available, perform breathing squats in a power rack or with a spotter. Don't rush through the set. Take as many breaths as needed until you can do your next repetition.