Free Intro Workout

Welcome to the newest Discover Strength Podcast Mini-Series where we will focus on 12 things we think are essential to getting better results from your workouts in less time. Join us as we go deeper on each topic in a format that’s perfect for sharing and broadening your own knowledge. Thanks for joining us, and please enjoy this week’s episode on the Valsalva maneuver.

Picture this: you’re working out, the exercise is getting harder, so you get ready to push and hold your breath. That, right there, is the Valsalva maneuver. When you perform the Valsalva maneuver, a couple of things are happening, mainly involving internal pressure build-up. When you hold your breath while exerting force in an exercise, you build pressure in your lungs (intrathoracic pressure) and head (intracranial pressure), as well as a spike in blood pressure. You are, in fact, able to produce slightly more effort and force while performing the Valsalva maneuver. However, the problems associated with that extra force (increased lung, head, and blood pressure) lead us to recommend avoiding holding your breath during a workout.

Throughout a workout, your respiratory needs will change. At the beginning of a set, you may not need to breathe very hard or frequently. As you continue through the workout, you will most likely feel the urge to hold your breath, to perform a Valsalva maneuver. This is precisely when you should incorporate short, frequent breaths (instead of holding your breath). This will avoid all of the pressure increases that come from the Valsalva maneuver, and will leave you performing and feeling better.

Hear Logan and David go deep on this topic by listening to this week’s podcast mini-series episode today.

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