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Controlled breathing is essential during strength training

A lot of people here advocating for strength training, but aren't mentioning the caveat: potential for injury. I used to spend 6 days a week doing a mixture of HIIT and strength training. Despite my best attempts, there were occasional lapses in form, and I found that I was developing joint pains, and indeed a few injuries.

Controlled breathing, as mentioned, is central to the wim hof method, the yogic practice of pranayama, and to many kinds of martial arts and meditation, and doesn't really have the potential for injury (with the exclusion of the more physically demanding martial arts). Some of those practices are also more accessible to people with mobility issues.

My personal experience with yoga and meditation, is a very significant uplift in mood, and better sleep (I used to have a very bad snoring problem). I also do a mix of weighted exercise, callisthenics, and cardio, and I've found the combination to work very well.

Here’s one caveat for you specifically: don’t train six days a week.

That's kinda straw-manning my point :) But to clarify, I wasn't strictly doing heavy weight for each of those days, and yes I could have taken it easier.

That's not really straw-manning when exercise-induced injury is the main point you are trying to make.

6 days a week of HIIT training, without enough time for your body to recover is a recipe for injury. Of course, this can vary from person to person and the intensity of the workout and the level of your experience and form - but these are things you didn't mention.

Point taken. To clarify, it wasn't always 6 days a week, that was an over-exaggeration by me. An average was maybe ~4.5 days a week, and some days were much lighter than others. I was maybe trying to communicate that I've invested in this kind of regime, and it's derailed the conversation away from the point I was trying to make.

HIIT is very specific, you’re talking bout going past your lactic acid threshold, they are very hard to recover from. So much so that it will stop you from other exercise. You wouldn’t even be thinking about lifting weights.

This would of course lead to injury. I don’t think anyone wants to squat heavy after sprinting.

Weightlifting is pretty safe when done right. Just make sure you have plenty of rest. At the same time, unrelated, but the posture benefits are way overrated. In fact, it’s gonna lead to bad posture over time unless you couple it with yoga or some sort of corrective stretching.

> This would of course lead to injury. I don’t think anyone wants to squat heavy after sprinting.

That's a fair call. Heavy weight training was usually on separate days, but I recall some crossfit WODs would include deadlifts alongside other fast-paced exercises, and now I question the safety of that. Those deadlifts were likely low weight, high-rep though.

You wouldn’t be developing joint pain if you took a couple days to rest and recover. That’ why your caveat is a non issue.

Regarding strength training and injury you have a point: if you are a beginner avoid anything with a powerlifting bias (i.e. adding weight is the main objective). Stronglifts, r/fitness, ... Also bench press will not do much for posture.

Bodyweight training/calisthenics is interesting but is lacking on two of the best exercises for posture: Face pulls and (Romanian) Deadlifts. For Deadlifts light to moderate weight is enough, with perfect form, be careful if you have tight hamstring to work on mobility.

Just to clarify: I was training with a gym instructor friend and he was assessing my form and we were doing the whole gamut of exercises. We were doing heavy weight training 1-3 times a week (deadlifts, clean+jerk, strict press, amongst others) mixed up with other crossfit style routines (kettle bells, calisthenics, gymnastics, cardio).

Bodyweight stuff is what I mostly do now with some weighted exercises, but I'm keen to get into heavier weights again.

I have a big snoring problem. Did yoga help you with that?

From memory, I believe it did. But since then I've taken up meditation which has had a much larger impact on my life, and so it's hard to tease apart which helps what, and to what degree.

The technique I learnt was at a 10-day silent retreat, of which we spent the first days (9-hours a day) exclusively on concentrating on respiration. With this new awareness, I realised, just in my day to day, and especially when I'm trying to focus, I sometimes forget to breathe. This is something I otherwise would not have noticed and not corrected. Also important to note that I used to have mild sleep apnoea, and I would always wake up feeling groggy from lack of oxygen. I haven't had a sleep study since I've started practicing, but I no longer wake up groggy, and now I can go to sleep within the hour instead of tossing and turning half the night.

I've noticed that yoga and meditation have also improved my breathing and form during exercise.


Know someone who had this issue, turned out to be related to sleep apnea. Their life totally changed after it was diagnosed and a CPAP was used during sleep.

No. Loosing weight and fixing your TSH levels will..

I only had mild sleep apnoea (according to a sleep study). Meditation (maybe not yoga) did reduce symptoms for me, but there are many contributing factors, and for severe cases CPAP is often necessary. Based on my limited anecdata, I think meditation could help other reduce or manage their symptoms, and I strongly doubt it could be harmful.

Good point. Thinking about it, I achieved similar benefits from marathon running and at the time I now realise I was taking breathing quite seriously (understandably).

I actually find controlled breathing is very good for regulating pain.

As a beginner runner (2.15 half time) how can I use breathing effectively?

Kind of too long for an HN post but long distance running is all a game of efficiency. Good breathing makes sure your oxygen levels are working for you rather than against you. I remember subtle things like switching between calmer breathing to steady the heartrate and deeper faster breathing for getting over a hill. This all can happen naturally, but you'll be surprised the difference in doing the breathing mindfully/proactively rather than passively.

The breathing also helps mentally but also helps relax the body. As you are exerting yourself it can be a natural response to carry tension in your body. Tension is usually the enemy of body mechanics - it leads to inefficient technique.

Watch any sport (including running) and something notable about any pro is how easy or relaxed they look.

This can be learned and breathing has some chicken/egg relationship with relaxation

I'd say it's impossible to lift weights close to one's max, without controlling one's breath :- )

Meaning, one a bit learns to control the breath, without thinking about it, just doing?

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