Samara Donald is: The Gym Coach

Make the most of your workout!

Don’t forget to breathe…

Proper Breathing during your workout can help you have a more comfortable and more efficient day at the gym. But it’s not as easy as our automatic breathing we do in the rest of our day. Just remembering TO breathe is good, but with a few simple breathing know-how’s, you can get more out of your workout.

Breathing in weight training: In a weight training exercise (such as a bicep curl), there are usually two movements: concentric muscle actions (the muscle shortens) and eccentric muscle actions (the muscle lengthens). You may think of this as lifting and lowering/releasing the weight.

The general collective thought of industry pros is to exhale on the concentric (lift) movement, and inhale on the eccentric (release) movement. This is because you are (generally) a bit stronger when you exhale – so do so on the harder part of the lift. For a bicep curl as an example, you would breath out as you ‘curl’ the weights upward, and inhale as you lower them back toward your thighs.


Breathing while Running is a bit more complex, and driven by the speed at which you are running. But keeping a consistent breath is a way to get the most from your run – you’ll be able to go a lot further/longer if you breathe with a consistent inhale/exhale pattern.


In general, keeping your breath in pattern with your heel strikes (your steps) is a good way to keep your breath consistent (thereby developing a ‘rhythm’ or what running pro’s call ‘cadence’). Try either a ‘2/2’ (breathe in for 2 steps, out for 2 steps) while running a moderate pace, and a ‘2/1’ cadence (breath in for 2 steps, out for 1 step) on a faster run. For more, see Runners World:

Cycling breathing rhythm (cadence) is similar to running, but a little easier to learn, because you can time your breath with the spin of the wheel. Try using a 3/3 cadence (breathe in 3 counts/spins, out 3 counts/spins).

Again, just remembering TO breathe is a good thing, but you can make your workout really count with these small tips.

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One comment on “Don’t forget to breathe…

  1. Jen-JensFitnessTips.com
    January 26, 2010

    Love the post! Breathing is so important in working out! Great detail. I like what you said about how to breathe correctly while running. I always find it hard to keep a steady pattern. I’ll definitely give it a try! I think it will help me out a lot! Thanks for sharing!

    Jen 🙂

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This entry was posted on January 25, 2010 by in Training planning.
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