How to Breathe Correctly While Bench Pressing

Breathing correctly can make a great difference when you are bench pressing for a maximal single. Add 20 pounds or more to your bench press with this article's method of forced heavy breathing with the chest and abdomen.


  1. Image titled Breathe Correctly While Bench Pressing Step 1
    Put the weight on the bar. Lay down flat on the bench. Put the bar into your hands.
  2. Image titled Breathe Correctly While Bench Pressing Step 2
    To press the maximum weight, expand your chest to the maximum. The muscles for bench pressing have the best leverage with your chest fully expanded.
    • Do a general warm up to expand your chest naturally. Keep the warm up period short but have some intensity.
    • Expand your chest further with deep breathing. Push the air down to your abdomen. Pump up your chest and abdomen with each breath like you were pumping up a bike tire that requires 100 pounds of pressure. As you keep pumping the tire, it will get harder and harder to pump air into it and this is how it would be with inflating your chest.
    • When your chest is very expanded, your arms will be at your sides and slightly raised, your posture will be ramrod straight and your chest held high - no other position will be comfortable. You must look like a proud weightlifter - not to show-off but because this is the position of strength.
  3. Image titled Breathe Correctly While Bench Pressing Step 3
    While you are pumping up your chest, also think about technique and psyche yourself for the heavy lift.
    • Initial explosion of the bar off your chest: 1)keep your forearms vertical, 2)use your lats, 3)tense and chalk your hands before gripping the bar, 4)place the bar exactly on your palms, 5)gather your strength before the lift, 6)lower the bar slowly, 7)don't bounce the bar on your chest, and 8)keep inflating your chest.
    • Mid lift mental preparation do this: bring your elbows out and pull the bar up with your shoulders and traps.
    • Lockout: 1)push and keep pushing, 2)straighten your arms, and 3)don't lose the bar with the horizontal movement.
  4. Image titled Breathe Correctly While Bench Pressing Step 4
    Unpack the weight off the rack and bring it towards your chest when you do this inhale as you lower the weight towards you. The inhale here is with your chest fully expanded and here take a few more quick gulps of air to expand your chest a tiny bit more
  5. Image titled Breathe Correctly While Bench Pressing Step 5
    Exhale strongly with your throat constricted to maintain the air in your lungs as you push the weight away from you. Do not fully exhale - you will lose your strength. Exploding the heavy barbell off your chest will not be spectacular because the bar will not be moving fast to a spectator.
  6. Image titled Breathe Correctly While Bench Pressing Step 6
    Keep a lot of your breath to lift the bar beyond the initial explosion off the chest, pulling the weight up with your traps, to lockout, and to rack the bar.
  7. Image titled Breathe Correctly While Bench Pressing Step 7
    Use a different technique when doing repetition lifting. The breathing method just explained is for doing singles or doubles.
  8. Image titled Breathe Correctly While Bench Pressing Step 8
    Apply this sample bench press routine for yourself. This is a late cycle routine that incorporates deep breathing, in the beginning or middle part of a cycle forced, deep breathing is optional.
    • Do 10 minutes of warm up.
    • Set 1 - barbell with two big plates for five repetitions.
    • Set 2 - add weight and do a single. Start slow, deep breathing after this set and think about correct form. With each set, increase the volume of air in your chest.
    • Set 3 - add weight and do another single. Continue the slow, deep breathing and the complete exhale. Start breathing deeper and into the abdomen. Keep thinking about proper form and explosive power.
    • Set 4 - add weight and do another single. This single would have begun to feel very heavy and you must start breathing deeper. Stand and pace back and forth to keep warm. Breath even deeper and your exhale will be so controlled there may be a rasping sound from your throat. Continue thinking about the correct form and summon up your nerves for the explosive start.
    • Set 5 - add weight and do the final set. Exhale a bit when pressing the weight up, explosively at the start, and continue to exhale a bit more as the bar is at mid-range and finally at lockout.
    • Racking the weight - after completing the final single, take a few, quick gulps of air and then rack the weight.


  • Try not to be too dramatic with the deep breathing.
  • Rest between sets according to your goal. The high intensity method has no rest between the tops sets of the lifts which are done back to back. If the top set is all that matters rest as much as 15 minutes, or more, between sets.
  • If you are unable to control your breathing, lift lighter or enlist the help of a spotter in addition to having a spotting device.
  • Make sure you are lying down on the bench with your feet planted on the floor and your legs and abdominal area solid
  • Heavy breathing also brings oxygen to your brain and body.


  • When bench pressing always have a sturdy spotting device and a spotter.
  • Consult your internist before attempting to do heavy singles cycle.
  • Don't smoke. Drink alcohol sparingly or not at all. Live a healthy lifestyle.

Article Info

Categories: Gym | Personal Fitness