Instructional - Olympic Weightlifting

Breath Control & Trunk Stability For Olympic Weightlifting

In order to create the spinal stability that we need for both performance and safety in weightlifting, the trunk must be pressurized with air. In addition to improving force transfer to the bar through increased trunk rigidity, intervertebral disc pressure is reduced and the ability to produce muscular force is increased with breath-holding.

To take in a full breath, the diaphragm must contract and push downward, which means our guts have to move out of the way to allow the lungs to fill—this requires the abdomen expand to some degree during inhalation.

Maintain enough tension in the trunk to support whatever weight is on you, and allow the abdomen to expand to fill your lungs—allowing only the chest to rise is not adequate and can actually decrease stability.

Brace the musculature around the circumference of the trunk by imagining pushing your abs down—this locks in the air and stabilizes the trunk while maintaining a broad base. Don’t suck in the abs or cinch your waist in.

A controlled amount of air can be released during the most difficult part of the lift as needed to avoid dizziness, but must be a limited amount so trunk stability is not compromised.

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