How to Breathe While Squatting
Learning a new exercise can be challenging in its own right, but when you try to incorporate the proper breathing techniques alongside the exercise's movements, it's easy to end up frustrated and confused. If you want to target your quadriceps as part of your weight-training regimen, squats are a simple exercise that you can perform with weights or with just the weight of your body as resistance. Once you learn to breathe correctly during a set of squats, your breath will seem second nature.
Stand in position in front of the squat rack and grasp the barbell as it sits in the rack. Exhale and lift the weight onto your shoulders. Take a couple full breaths, if necessary, before you start the exercise.
Inhale as you bend your knees to lower your body toward the floor. If performing a standard squat, stop with your thighs parallel to the floor. If performing a full squat, lower your buttocks toward your heels so that your knees are fully bent.
Exhale as you straighten your legs to return to the upright position to complete one rep. Continue this breathing pattern as you complete subsequent reps of the exercise.
If you struggle with getting accustomed to breathing during squats, perform body-weight squats and focus on your breath before trying weighted squats.
If performing dumbbell squats, exhale as you lift the dumbbells from the weight rack or off the floor.
Never perform a set of squats if you have a muscle injury.
Avoid the temptation to hold your breath during this exercise. MayoClinic.com warns that holding your breath during weight training can increase your blood pressure to unsafe levels.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.