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Why do people have a tendency to hold their breath when lifting? Is that dangerous?
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If you look at Olympic weight lifters, we're talking about clean and jerks, snatches, Romanian deadlifts, more of the Olympic style weight training, they're being taught to actually hold their breath. If you watch people in a natural sense do things on a daily basis, there is a lot of breath holding. When you actually lift up luggage, you will temporarily hold your breath. When you lift groceries, you will temporarily hold your breath. When you lift laundry or kids, you will temporarily hold your breath. So who knows if there is a natural phenomenon that you just do. I don't think it's even habit that the body at least wants is some kind of still phase, where it does some kind of correction or readjustment. There are theories involved, and it hasn't been set out in stone, why people still hold their breath. But again, but what we tend to see when we're doing a long term holding breath - we have a thing called a val salva maneuver and what happens is when you close your glottis and you're really holding your breath, you're disallowing the blood to go to your brain. And that's why sometimes you'll see people pass out in the gyms when they're doing the heavy lifting, because they lose blood to the brain and then they'll lose consciousness. And that's when the danger occurs, is when the weight gets slammed on their chest or on their head. So that is probably is the only dangerous aspect of holding your breath too long.
 
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