Take a deep breath in, hold & breathe out.

Chances are the breathe you’re taking is causing your chest to rise & drop, which is completely normal right. However doing this prior to performing any major lift that forces us to keep rigidity thru our back & core stabilisers will cost valuable strength output in the long run as well as making the back more susceptible to injury.

Your probably asking yourself, “well how should I be breathing thru my lifting?”

Put simply you want to breathe by what is referred to as intra-abdominal bracing. This movement involves contracting both your anterior abdominals & lower back muscles at the same time by building a pool of air from within the abdominal mid-section & holding that air in while expanding the mid-section creating a brace all while pulling the diaphragm down.
This is a complex manoeuvre that all world class weightlifters/powerlifters perform exceptionally well but is overlooked with most beginners & even intermediate level lifters.

Why is it overlooked?

If you think about it isn’t the most natural movement to do but even so the average gym goer isn’t lifting at the weight tonnage that some top level lifters are so it’s really pointless for some to be bracing this way while performing a leg press or a preacher curl.

So how do I get better at intra-abdominal bracing?

This needs to be practiced on the daily to fully master, practice it when you’re sitting in the office; when you’re picking up your laundry basket at home or even before falling asleep. The more practice you have with this manoeuvre the better you will become at holding a tight enough brace to keep rigidity thru your back to allow ultimate support with your major lifts.

Some take home points:

  • If your chest rises before you midsection when bracing for major lifts you’re not bracing properly, midsection needs to fill before chest begins to rise.
  • Ensure to pull diaphragm down once midsection is filled with air to complete the brace.
  • If you’re not bracing properly, you will be at more risk to back injuries in the long run.
  • Want to lift like a pro, brace you fool!
  • Practice, Practice, Practice!