Breathing, something we do almost every second that we are alive. Sounds too cliched but yet the truth. When it comes to weightlifting though, breathing is a major component but has a different way to be performed. Most weightlifting coaches, manuals talk about something called as the Valsalva Maneuver, or the Valsalva pattern of breathing.
Especially while performing intense lifts like the deadlifts, squats, front squats place a lot of pressure on the spine and the back and hence optimum technique is essential to protect the back. This is where the abdominal muscles have to be involved in order to protect the spine. The abdominal muscles include the internal and external obliques, rectus, transversus, iliacus, quadratus lumborum, and psoas major (hereinafter referred to as the “trunk”). When you activate the trunk by holding the breath, a protective cover gets created where the spine comes in a protected position. Taking a deep breath and holding it will ensure the trunk is activated and it keeps the spine protected.
Another mechanism that is associated with the Valsalva maneuver is the pressure created in the abdominal cavity. The fluids in the abdominal region along with the tissues when kept under pressure along with the tensing surrounding muscles create a posture that helps in supporting the vertebrae during heavy resistance training.
This type of breathing is also considered relatively safe but in case you are not accustomed to this type of breathing and you face issues, kindly consult a sports exercise expert who will be able to guide you better.
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