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All authoritative bodies in health and fitness warn against holding your breath while lifting a weight. Holding your breath can raise your blood pressure because of increased intra-abdominal pressure. You should exhale during the concentric portion of the lift and inhale during the eccentric portion. The experts recommend that you count your reps out loud to make sure you are not holding your breath.
Holding your breath and “pushing” is called the Valsalva maneuver (VM). This occurs naturally or reflexively when you try to lift something heavy. It occurs involuntarily and also increases intra-abdominal pressure, adding stability to the spine and core in general.
Some amount of breath holding during training involving maximal effort or even loads at 80% 1RM is unavoidable and serves an important role in stabilizing the spine.
Breath holding during a lift should be allowed to occur naturally. But exaggerating or preventing it could cause dizziness or reduce spine stability. Because of the impact of increasing intra-abdominal pressure on blood pressure, individuals with heart or vascular disease or hernias are advised to avoid the VM during resistance exercise.