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In part 1 of the How to Build a Stronger Deadlift, I discuss Breathing & Bracing for the deadlift. But the great thing is that once you effectively learn to breathe and brace, it will help ALL of your lifts.
I used to think that having a strong core was simply enough – doing some ‘core movements’ here and there would be enough to carry over to my lifts and that wearing a belt. My lifts always got to a point at which they stalled and looking back I’m certain that lacking correct breathing and bracing was why. Once I figured out how to breathe and brace correctly, it felt like I unlocked a new skill level in lifting weights, everything felt more solid and the weights moved in a better way.
Getting this right is a continual process, and I still work on improving my technique. It is not something that you get right overnight, and will not only have to practice in the gym, but there is carry over to everyday life.
Breathing is an important first step because it creates the internal pressure that we need to brace with. When you breathe correctly, your belly should be expanding and your shoulders should stay still.
When we breath for lifting, we want to inhale as much as possible into our midsection, with a focus on inflating the lower back and obliques – the front of the abs will take care of themselves. And we want to maintain this pressure for the entire lift.
Bracing is the second part of the puzzle and is basically setting the core for maximum stability and holding that pressure in. With the aim of turning something flexible into something incredibly rigid. I like to imagine I’m bracing for a punch, contracting not just the front abs, but the obliques and lower back.
When we get it right, our core will be rigid and shouldn’t move under load – whenever there is movement under load it represents a power leak and means we aren’t being efficient with our movement pattern.
Once you have all this pressure built up, you’re ready to lift – DON’T EXHALE until the lift is over!
I’ve personally found it a lot easier to take in breath at the top of the deadlift and hold that breath until I’ve completed the rep.
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