Marc Marquez is a Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and three-time motorsport world champion. He rides as part of the Repsol Honda Team. And MotoGP recently asked him some questions about the physical complexities of riding a MotoGP™ machine over 300km/h.
Breathing in motorsport
In his question and answer session Marc is asked about his breathing. Apparently some motorsport riders only breathe between corners. Marc however says that he does breathe during cornering. He says that it helps him stay calm and focused.
Why other riders may hold their breath when cornering
The end of an inhaled breath and the end of an exhaled breath is a critical moment in breathing. If the inhale and exhale are not performed smoothly it can feel disjointed, rather than ‘circular’. Good breathing should flow without a pause. A ‘wobble’ in that flow might cause a de-stabilisation of the upper body. Not something a rider would wish to happen just as they enter a bend on two wheels. So by holding their breath they feel they are reducing the risk of destabilisation.
The role of the inspiratory muscles
The inspiratory muscles (the muscles used to inhale, including the diaphragm) are not just important for breathing. The diaphragm and trunk muscles are also a vital component of the core stabilising muscles of the abdominal compartment. Furthermore they give postural stability to the upper body. This is an important feature when cornering on a bike at speed.
Training the inspiratory muscles in addition to core stabilising exercises will increase the ability of these breathing muscles to meet the dual demands of breathing and postural control.
Training the inspiratory muscles with POWERbreathe IMT
POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) targets the breathing muscles, mainly the diaphragm and intercostals. It exercises them to make them stronger, improve stamina and reduce fatigue. It’s the diaphragm that plays a big role in stabilising the core. In fact good diaphragmatic activation is absolutely necessary for good trunk control.
By using POWERbreathe IMT you are activating the diaphragm and making it work correctly and effectively. And a stronger diaphragm will help stabilise the upper body when riders are racing around corners at speed.