Skip to main content
Fitness Tips

Beat Your PR Tomorrow: How to Use the Valsalva Maneuver for Lifting

A lot of controversy surrounds Valsalva maneuver lifting. Breathing has its place firmly in fitness, both aerobic and anaerobic.

But the Valsalva maneuver isn’t breathing, right? Wrong. The Valsalva is just a different type of breathing. Like everything, form is key. Let’s take a look at how you can lift properly using the Valsalva maneuver.

To Breath or Not to Breath

Many folks new to the gym throw their estimated max weight up, get under the bar, and with everything they got, they push. They aren’t breathing. They are straining. This is not the Valsalva maneuver. 

Why do people focus so much on breath? Well, it turns out, your body does its best when it has ample oxygen to breath! Depriving your self is a recipe for disaster, and can carry with it harm to your body.

The Valsalva maneuver, on the other hand, can be viewed as the breathing equivalent to the profoundly effective and beneficial intermittent fasting. Of course you need to eat, and of course, you need to breathe…

You need to do a lot of both of these things!

When and how you train your body to the deprivation and resistance of such necessities can determine your success in growth. Let’s take a look at how to properly perform this technique and how it helps you reach new heights.

What is Valsalva?

The Valsalva maneuver goes like this: After exhaling all your air, take a deep and full breath inward using your diaphragm. This “belly breath” is crucial.

Your next step is to “bear down”, or increase pressure in your chest cavity. You will feel as though you are blowing up a balloon, or attempting a bowel movement (minus the bowel movement). 

At this point, you are ready to lift. Push or pull, and reach your peak. Then, let the air go and exhale as you lower the weight. You’ve just performed the Valsalva maneuver.

Valsalva Maneuver Lifting: Like Your Life Depends On It

When you lift, you are essentially temporarily damaging your muscles, in order for them to rebuild themselves bigger and better.

Like a puzzle that wrecks your mind makes you sharper and smarter, and like HIIT training does to every ounce of energy you have.

Your cardiovascular system and muscular system work in tune with each other and are both pushed to gain strength. Resistance training, after all, is the act of lifting against a force that applies resistance. 

The same is true using the Valsalva Maneuver. You see, when performed correctly, the Valsalva maneuver creates pressure in the chest cavity and prevents blood from returning from the body back to the right side of the heart. 

Whether you are deadlifting or squatting, it is crucial you perform this correctly. The outward pressure of your chest cavity and outwardly bracing of your core gives you a better bodily structure to hold weight. 

Stay Safe, Lift Strong

While the Valsalva isn’t for everyone, it is a sure fire way to get you some new PR’s. Make sure you are healthy enough to be performing these intensive techniques and don’t suffer from complications such as an enlarged heart.

Keep up to date with the Valsalva maneuver and other lifting techniques at The Gym Las Vegas!