How to breathe during deadlift? Is It Possible For Me To Breathe During The Lift?

The deadlift is no exception to the rule that breathing is a crucial aspect of any workout. I’ve discovered that the best technique to brace the core is to breathe properly, which is why it’s one of the most crucial technical factors in properly setting up the deadlift.

How to breathe during deadlift
How to breathe during deadlift

So, How to breathe during deadlift? Before beginning the lift, take a deep inhale into your belly button and imagine ‘forcefully exhaling’ without letting out any air. Holding this breath throughout the lift will provide us with stability in our core, which will allow us to generate the most power. This is necessary not only for safety, but also to lift maximum weights.

Breathing may appear straightforward, yet there are several ways to breathe incorrectly when trying to lift maximum. In this article, I’ll go through how to breathe properly during a deadlift.

The Reason for Breathing

The Reason for Breathing

The concentric component of the deadlift is the first thing we do (the ascent phase). We must generate enough force to lift the weight off the floor because it has come to a complete stop. We lack the eccentric range of motion (lowering phase) necessary to tighten our muscles. As a result, by bracing our core, we must establish proximal rigidity.

Breathing — and breathing begins with the diaphragm — is the first step in causing rigidity in our core.

The diaphragm is the muscle that controls inhalation and exhalation (breathing out). The ‘intra-abdonimal pressure’ is what we’re attempting to achieve by inhaling and exhaling.

We breathe in, hold our breath, and then forcefully expel without breathing out (also known as the Valsalva maneuver). It’s as though you’re attempting to exhale but can’t. Our spine is stabilised by bracing our core in this way.

How should a brace be worn before a deadlift?

How should a brace be worn before a deadlift?
  • “Squeeze Your Abs” is a phrase that means “squeeze your abs.”
  • “Pull Your Belly Button Into Your Spine” is a phrase that means “pull your belly button into your spine.”
  • “As if you’re about to be punched, tighten your stomach.”
  • “Breathe Into Your Stomach” is a phrase that means “breathe into your stomach.”
  • “Expand Your Horizons” is a phrase that means “expand your horizons

Is It Possible For Me To Breathe During The Lift?

Is It Possible For Me To Breathe During The Lift?

Taking Deep Breaths As You Ascend

On the way up, you might hear some lifters exhale (like a sprinkler). This does happen, but it usually happens towards the top of the lift or shortly after the’sticking point.’ Breathing out at the bottom of the lift or when attempting to commence the first pull off the floor is not recommended. This is a typical deadlift blunder I see among beginners.

You’ll want to get the intra-abdominal pressure when you get yourself off the floor, as indicated above.

On The Way Down, Breathing

It’s fine to start letting out your air when you’ve completed the lift and are standing up with the weight. Unless you’re performing a controlled eccentric performance (like in a tempo deadlift). If you want to make a controlled descent, take a small breath at the top and hold the air the rest of the way down.

However, because there is no load passing through your body, it is not necessary to breathe or brace on the way down as you guide the bar back down to the floor.

As You Work Your Way Through Reps

Touch and go deadlifts are a favourite of certain lifters. This entails bouncing the weight off the floor or not bringing it to a complete halt between reps. In this situation, people usually take a second breath at the peak before moving on to the next rep.

You can also do this if you need to catch your breath since you don’t want to pass out in the lift. Once the lift is completed (or nearly completed), breathe out as much as you want, but make sure to breathe and brace before performing another rep.

Breathing Position of the Spine

Breathing Position of the Spine

Now that you know how to breathe properly, you may be wondering how your spine, particularly your lower back, should be positioned while breathing.

When teaching someone how to deadlift, I always tell them to keep their spine neutral and straight. Some individuals deadlift with a rounded back, but this is a more advanced method that only pertains to the upper back, not the mid or lower back (we’ll reserve that discussion for another day).

While lifting, it is critical that the spine does not shift. When the spine moves during lifting, it is exposed to greater stresses (especially shear forces), which might lead to an energy leak. This may raise the risk of damage, yet it has a significant effect on performance.

Allow me to amuse you with another analogy. If water is flowing through a hose and there is a leak anywhere, the water’s power output will be lowered. If your spine flexes under load, a similar ‘leaking’ action can occur. When my spine flexes when deadlifting, I lose my placement and the deadlift becomes extremely difficult to lockout.

When you’re breathing and bracing, keep your spine in a neutral position that doesn’t shift during the lift.

Putting Everything Together

Putting Everything Together

Let’s pretend you’re about to do a hard deadlift session. Before pulling, practise breathing a few times. Breathing can be improved by incorporating it into other workouts such as front planks or bird dogs. This is something you can perform during your warmup or even in between sets.

Breathe deeply into and around your belly button as you prepare for your pull, and keep that brace until the pull begins.

You can either take another breath at the top and repeat for another rep, or you can lead the barbell down and take another breath at the bottom as you finish the pull. Some individuals prefer to complete numerous reps with one large breath, but it’s entirely up to you and how many reps you’re doing. Try different things and see what you prefer.

How to breathe during deadlift: Review

How to breathe during deadlift: Review

In his renowned book “Starting Strength,” Rippetoe goes into great length about the valsalva movement. Before beginning the deadlift, take a deep breath, close your glottis, and try to force your breath out against this closed system. This raises the internal pressure in your lungs, which is counterbalanced by the internal pressure in your belly. Your entire torso becomes a pressurised vessel, supported and pressured by your abdominal muscles, allowing your torso to withstand much more force. Consider the difference in strength between an unopened and an opened coke can.

With a full breath and a closed glottis, you should tense your abdominal muscles firmly. I’m not convinced by the imagery of “drawing your belly button to your spine.” It’s never appeared in any of the books I’ve read.

F.A.Q how to breathe during deadlift:

When you’re lifting something heavy, how do you breathe?

Lifters should take a deep breath in as they lower the weight and exhale as they lift the weight or work against gravity as a fundamental breathing technique. You’ll be able to effectively circulate oxygen throughout your body, protecting your muscles from injury.

When deadlifting, why do individuals hold their breath?

When powerlifting, holding your breath helps to support the spine while completing the movements. The valsalva manoeuvre, which is responsible for increasing intra-abdominal pressure, is used to accomplish this (IAP). In other words, a person’s core muscles’ innate stability.

When Deadlifting, how can you keep from passing out?

When you sit for an extended period of time and then stand up, blood pools in your lower extremities, causing a drop in blood pressure. To avoid this problem, make sure you’ve been standing or walking around for a minute or so before attempting a max deadlift.


You may develop a stable platform for yourself to perform at greater levels by investing some time in improving your breathing. Don’t forget to use your diaphragm the next time you deadlift; it’s a muscle!

And this article will help you answer the following questions about how to breathe during deadlift:

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Field John

If you are an avid believer in health and fitness and want to do something for your team, I can help. As the founder of Field Goals Fitness, I lead a collective of health and fitness professionals dedicated to helping Australians lead a more active and healthier lifestyle. With a warm, friendly, and supportive approach that gets results, I enjoy helping individuals & organisations achieve sustainable success with their health and fitness goals. Certifying as a Personal Trainer in 2009, was a turning point in my life. I had spent 14 years in the corporate world in Business Development roles and decided to take all that I had learnt in sales and marketing and start my own business.

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