Crossfit Blog


in The Whiteboard by Coach Amanda

Breathing during Lifts
by Coach Ryan

A cue often thrown around in the gym is to "tighten up" or "tighten the core."  The reason we use this cue is to signal an athlete to keep their midsection tight during any sort of lift whether it be a lower body pull like the deadlift or and upper body push like the Push Jerk.

What do we want you to when we say "tighten up?"  For some people, they think of flexing their abdominals like they just took their shirt off at the beach.  In actuality, this is not what we are looking for.  In fact, flexing those muscles can actually decrease support by flexing the spine forward.  The spine should be extended in the "S" curve shape and then supported by the core muscles to keep it there under pressure.

How do we create optimal support in the core during lifts?

Breathing.  Or better yet... breath control.  It is the one thing internally that we can control.  The best type of breath intake would be a "big belly" breath.  The diaphragm should be pushed out slightly as if you were trying to stick your gut out.  This is achieved by pulling the diaphragm down and out to take the air in.  This creates support on both the anterior and sides of your body.  You want to hold that breath down with your diaphragm as opposed to any clenching or holding in the throat or mouth.  This can do damage to your vocal chords on top of not giving you proper support during heavy lifts.

Some people may occasionaly experience dizziness or feel like that are going unconscious.  If this starts to happen once in a while, then practice letting out just a little bit of air.  This feeling should subside almost immediately.

This technique is best used during heavier lifts.  Crossfit workouts usually involve a submaximal load where you have to do a lift several times in succession.  Depending on the lifts, there is an optimal time for that breath intake, usually at the top of the lift.  Anything taken off the ground it is better to take the breath at the top and go down to pick it up with that support ready to go.

I learned how to take a panoramic picture! 


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