What happens to the body during push-ups?
Whatever type of push-ups you perform, there is a load on all the muscles of the shoulder girdle. Most of it falls on the pectoral muscles, front deltas and triceps. The abdominal muscles, the extensors of the spine and buttocks are in a state of static tension.
When lowering the body down, the muscles stretch, while lifting, they contract. At the same time, it is important to keep your back straight, not to round the cervical spine, not to raise the buttocks above the level of the lower back and, of course, monitor the breathing rate. Only then will you achieve the correct push-up technique that will help you:
- Quickly tone virtually all muscle groups in the upper body.
- Do more reps.
- Get faster results than with incorrect technique and breathing.
- Reduce the risk of injury.
How to breathe correctly when doing push-ups?
Take a lying position, start bending your elbows and lowering down. Inhale at this time. It should be smooth, it is desirable to stretch it for the entire duration of the negative phase of the movement. It is recommended to inhale through the nose. The exhalation should be sharper, do it at the moment of lifting. At this point, it will be more comfortable for you to exhale through your mouth .
Similarly, with push-ups on the uneven bars – inhale through the nose when lowering and exhale through the mouth when lifting to the starting position.
If you pause for a second at the top or bottom point, during which you do not need to breathe, start breathing strictly while lowering.
Why shouldn’t you hold your breath?
Firstly, oxygen is necessary for the normal course of all intracellular processes. Without it, you will achieve anaerobic glycolysis (muscle failure) much faster, which will lead to fewer reps performed. It also plays an important role in the release of energy and the utilization of fat stores. This is why many trainers recommend doing cardio outdoors.
Secondly, holding your breath provokes an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. If you add strength work to this, then the indicators will be too high. Such a load is strictly contraindicated for people prone to arterial hypertension and hypertension.
If you hold your breath, then for a while your brain will be in a state of hypoxia. This can lead to micro-rupture of the capillaries of the brain. When you finish the set, your heart rate will be close to the limit marks. It will take at least three to four minutes to restore it to its normal state. Thus, the overall intensity of the workout will also drop, and without this, neither fat burning nor muscle gain is possible.
Push-ups from the floor or on the uneven bars with their own weight is a fairly simple exercise, so the rest time between sets should not be long. A more or less prepared athlete usually needs one to one and a half minutes to fully regain breathing and prepare for the next set.
Thirdly, holding your breath will lead to a deterioration in the technique of performing the exercise. As you exhale (when lifting), you tighten your diaphragm, which stabilizes the position of your abdominals and lumbar spine. Exhaling with effort, it will be easier for you to rise from the bottom position. During inhalation (when lowering down), the lungs increase in volume, which expands the chest, and the pectoral muscles are even more involved in the work .
Correct breathing is inextricably linked with the correct position of the body, so it will be much more comfortable for you to be in the plank throughout the entire set. If the position of the body changes (you press your chin to your chest, round your back or lift your buttocks), then the efficiency of the exercise and the entire workout will drop.
Errors in breathing technique
In addition to holding the breath completely, many athletes make the following mistakes when doing push-ups on the uneven bars or off the floor:
- incorrectly set breathing phases (exhalation is done when lowering, and inhalation is done when rising);
- chaotic irregular breathing;
- constant breathing through the mouth.
The first problem may be associated with the initially incorrectly set technique for performing the exercise. It is uncomfortable for the body to work at this rate of breathing. This will lead to increased intracranial pressure and dizziness. This is why it is recommended that you consult an experienced personal trainer in the initial stages of strength training. He will help you avoid the many mistakes that you are likely to make when learning exercises on your own.
The second problem is most often associated with poor aerobic endurance in an athlete. Your lungs simply don’t have enough volume to supply your body with the amount of oxygen you need to do push-ups correctly. The athlete loses his rhythm and begins to breathe erratically, taking short breaths in and out one after the other. Of course, this is accompanied by a sharp increase in the number of heart contractions and a rise in pressure. This technique is simply unacceptable and needs to be worked on.
To make the correct breathing rate easier for you, add breathing exercises to your workout plan and do more cardio exercises outdoors (jogging, cycling, Nordic walking, etc.). As you become more enduring, pay special attention to correct breathing with push-ups and other exercises. It is better to do fewer reps, but not break the desired breathing rate. Over time, you will bring this skill to automatism, this will happen already at the subconscious level. You do not have to concentrate on breathing rate during training, the body will adapt itself to comply with it.
The third problem is not as serious as the previous two, but it will help you improve your current result. The human respiratory system is designed in such a way that inhalation through the nose “captures” more air, therefore, your muscles will receive more oxygen, which they need to work. How to exhale is not so important anymore.