Let’s talk breathing. Breath is everything. The life force. How does that translate to strength training you may ask? Breathing is something one does every day but it can impact your athletic performance. When you inhale you take in oxygen. The more you move, the more oxygen you need. Oxygen fuels your muscles! Proper breathing should be one of the primary focuses during exercise. Proper breathing will help you lift heavier and will give you more muscular endurance when weightlifting.
Proper breathing begins with the diaphragm which is a muscle between the chest and the abdominal cavity. One should be breathing from here rather than the chest, whether exercising or not. When you breath from the chest you are not getting as much oxygenated air into the lungs. This increases the heart rate, blood pressure and feelings of anxiety and stress. Diaphragmatic breathing begins with breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. You fill up the diaphragm all the way down to the belly, then exhale as the stomach collapses. This helps ensures core activation and oxygen to your muscles. Also every inhale and exhale changes the position of the thoracic spine, ribs, pelvis and shoulders. The way you breathe can impact how hard or easy it is to get through your work out.
In strength training, a tight core equals more power and stability. Breathing out also acts as a pressure release to prevent a significant loss in blood pressure or cause dizziness.
An example on how to use the breath with benchpress would be to take in a deep breath at the top, lower the bar to chest, push the bar up, blow out air, then inhale again before lowering the bar.
This is bracing.