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Breathing and Bicycling
 Did member offline
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posted 12/8/2018
at 11:35:18 AM
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Breathing comes naturally, but my question is: Do you consciously regulate and modify your breathing rate while cycling on flats, rolling hills climbs and descents? What are your routines? What works? What doesn't?

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posted 12/8/2018
at 7:01:35 PM
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One tip I read in a cycling magazine years ago was for climbing. It said to exhale forcefully but inhale in a relaxed style. Not sure if it makes much difference.

A friend of mine was training for a dive master licence years ago and told me he was having trouble meeting the time limit for the 800 metre swim part until he started breathing from his diaphragm instead of just his upper chest. Once he made the change, his speed improved considerably.

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posted 12/9/2018
at 5:45:35 AM
post #2 viewed 391 times
I consciously regulate it when climbing, otherwise I tend to hyperventilate. I use a combination of the forceful exhale/relaxed inhale above and stage 2 Lamaze breathing.

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posted 12/9/2018
at 7:47:29 AM
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Way back in the early 1980's I attended a triathlon camp in the Catskills of New York. There were several notable national champions for each event in the triathlon. I forget many of their names now, but one in particular I remember quite well. John Howard, a bicycling legend, had won the 1981 Hawaii Ironman triathlon the year before this camp. During the week-long camp I got several rides in with Mr. Howard.

Back, when I was a beginning exercise enthusiast, in my late 20's, I used to get incredible side cramps which often made me slow way down if not stop to recover. On one of the rides I was on with John Howard, he noticed me struggling with these side cramps and he offered me some advice.

He told me that I should pucker or purse my lips, like when you blow out your birthday candles, when I exhale. It made a big difference in my ability to exercise vigorously for long periods of time.

Later on, in my life, I studied biology to become a biology teacher and change my career from that of a salesman. I came to understand the science behind exhaled breathing with pursed or puckered lips and why it helps.

It helps in several ways; it reduces the number of breaths required to exchange CO2 with O2. Also, when you pucker your lips to exhale it increases the resistance within your airways which serves to keep your airway passages, from your bronchiole tubes down to your alveoli, open longer. With your airways open longer you will get greater gas exchange which will provide you with more oxygen to be taken to the mitochondria, the powerhouses within your muscle fiber cells. With more oxygen getting to your mitochondria, you will be able to go faster for longer periods of time.

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posted 12/9/2018
at 8:16:55 AM
post #4 viewed 378 times
Very helpful and and interesting information here: that exhaling part is gangbusters.

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posted 12/9/2018
at 9:16:29 AM
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I've been teaching the birthday candle trick to cyclists at the top of climbs or end of sprints for years. Someone taught it to me. Its counter-intuitive until you see that it works

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posted 12/9/2018
at 1:04:58 PM
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I kind of figured this trick out myself long ago. but my cardiologist confirmed it's effectiveness when she told me to do this if I felt chest discomfort. You pressurize your air intake system, which works so well on mechanical engines as well.

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posted 12/10/2018
at 8:45:39 PM
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Interesting read. I will have to start practicing it.

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posted 12/10/2018
at 10:05:47 PM
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At my end when I am climbing I try very early in the season to slide back on the saddle some to build up your glutes. I also try and watch my form and not lean over the bike too much when climbing as that closes up your diaphragm and shuts off your breathing some. Other than that I never really pay much attention to my breathing unless I am in Colorado and I am over 8000 ft. riding with Howard and then I am a goner anyways. At least for the 1st time I climb over 8000 ft.

Zman
post edited on 12/10/2018 at 10:08:12 PM

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posted 12/11/2018
at 12:43:10 PM
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Found that the weight lifters "exhale" works on the power stroke when going up a hill. From what I read you gain oxygen when you exhale, not inhale So that big WHOOOSH on the power stroke when exhaling really helps me for whatever reason.

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posted 12/13/2018
at 2:53:59 PM
post #10 viewed 293 times
to further the discussion, see: www.roadbikerider.com/nasal-breathing-cycling/
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