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Is there a "proper" way to breathe while on the bike? In running forums they advise to do short inhales and long forceful exhales all from the mouth. Just want to know if it's the same for cycling.
 

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Make sure you're breathing deep enough. If you breathe too fast you take shallow breaths and wind up with less oxygen. Sometimes I find myself breathing too fast and have to slow down my breathing and relax.

Some people recommend to time your breathing with your pedalling. At one point I trained myself to do it only to discover that it made me slower. Its better to do your breathing at it's own pace.
 

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The way you breathe naturally is the proper way, with one possible exception: more people than you would think actually hold their breath during a sprint or a similar brief period of extreme effort. Developing the habit of forcefully exhaling during high-stress situations will keep you from holding your breath.

By the way, many elite cyclists are belly breathers. But I don't think anyone knows why that is so. Did they already belly-breathe before they took up the sport, or did they learn to breathe that way because they believed it would make them faster?

/w
 

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wim said:
By the way, many elite cyclists are belly breathers. But I don't think anyone knows why that is so. Did they already belly-breathe before they took up the sport, or did they learn to breathe that way because they believed it would make them faster?

/w
For long, steady efforts; climbing in particular, my coach has been ramming the belly breathing thing down my throat for the last year. It doesn't work well when time trialing or any time you're trying to get aero due to constricting your gut, but when you're sitting more upright, breathing into your belly is the best way to get a lot of oxygen and helps keep you relaxed.
 

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When I was in track I was always told to breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Control is the key like said above slower deep breaths make your lungs absorb more oxygen. I found that breathing this way helps me slow down and focus on how I am breathing and sucking in air from your nose definatley slows down the process, and breathing out from your mouth exspells spent gases quicker. Doesn't work for everyone, but work for me on my 400m runs.
 

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I'm no expert and even though I read a lot, don't recall much cycling-specific study of this topic.

Belly breathing is good, if you have the room (another reason for higher bars, but that's a separate rant).

I also try to inhale by nose; can usually keep that up as long as I'm below threshold. And when above, such as a climb, I've found that partial focus on really filling the lungs to full expansion can help. Just don't get so distracted that you lose focus on good pedaling form or the road! This also applies to sprinting; I tend to breath with short sharp bursts, synchonized with pedal stomps a la weightlifting. Don't know if it makes any big difference but it seems not to hurt.

Also I think Eddy B used to teach in time trials a technique involving synchronized breathing with pedal strokes - not as a 1:1 ratio, but sort an odd/even thing. They also advised a technique of softpedaling one leg every few strokes.

.
 

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I was planning on posting on this very topic myself...

I need to improve my breathing too. On rides and while running it seems to be a major factor holding me back. No matter how deep I go, I feel like I can't get enough air.

Can any of you breathing guru's offer advice as to how to increase O2 intake? What can be done while riding or running?

I have an idea, but what exactly is meant by belly breathing? How is it done?

Thanks
 

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llvllatt said:
For long, steady efforts; climbing in particular, my coach has been ramming the belly breathing thing down my throat for the last year. It doesn't work well when time trialing or any time you're trying to get aero due to constricting your gut, but when you're sitting more upright, breathing into your belly is the best way to get a lot of oxygen and helps keep you relaxed.
On what evidence does s/he have you doing that?

And what's the point of a training breathing technique you can't use when racing?

AFAIK, unless you have a functional disability (e.g. a missing lung or experiencing an asthma attack), at aerobic power levels the amount of air we get into the lungs generally is not a limiter to the amount of O2 we can get into our blood stream and to the working muscles, even at VO2 Max.
 
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