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Aristotle on proper weightlifting technique

[Originally published at the now defunct group blog explananda.com]

Posted on September 8, 2007
Tags: fitness

Commenting on an obscure point about connate pneuma in his 1912 translation of Aristotle’s De Motu Animalium, A.S.L. Farquharson writes that a comment of Aristotle’s is, “a reference perhaps to holding the breath when a weight is lifted. A[ristotle], like gymnastic teachers to-day, supposed it gave power.”

Interesting that Aristotle’s assumption about breath still held in Farquharson’s day. My understanding is that this is not a good thing to do, and the laziest of googlings suggests that the current consensus is that the proper technique involves breathing out as you work the muscle through its range of motion and in as you relax it. So, also, I was recently told by a rather large man at my gym who noticed that I was holding my breath a bit without noticing it, and who shouted, “Gotta breathe, baby, gotta breathe!”


Author: alif sikkiin
Date: 2007-09-09

I am often the only woman in a weight room full of men – like, 40 or so – and no one so much as says, “nice pipes!” to me.

You know what I’ve noticed? Is that after I’ve done my cardio and I’m lifting weights, I start yawning like crazy.

Author: Anne
Date: 2007-09-10

Aristotle has a lot of theories about breathing, doesn’t he? (I guess that’s true for just about any topic one could name.) The one I recall has to do with holding the breath being required to achieve orgasm.