Cycling performance improves with better breathing

This article in Bicycling magazine recommends that you “harness your lung power for a stronger, faster cycling experience”.

Improve your oxygen uptake while cycling

The main topic of this article is to teach cyclists to focus on their breathing. By taking deep quality breaths as you pedal you can improve your performance. As a cyclist you may think about your breathing while cycling only in terms of breathing hard. But is your breathing high-paced and coming from your chest? If so then you’re limiting your intake of oxygen, the article reports. This will leave your muscles hungry for more.

Breathe better

So improving how you breathe will have positive benefits on your performance. Therefore the author of the article talks to breathwork practitioner Al Lee for breathing advice. Al compares breathing efficiency to improving your car’s miles per gallon. He explains how with a bit of training you will improve your breathing efficiency. One of the breathing techniques Al suggests is deep, belly breathing. In order to achieve this you need to use your diaphragm. The diaphragm is your main breathing muscle.

Recruit your diaphragm

POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training helps you to recruit your diaphragm. As you breathe in through your POWERbreathe IMT device you are exercising your diaphragm. The exercise comes from breathing in against a resistance, or breathing load. Because the load is adjustable you can increase it. You will need to increase it as your breathing muscles become stronger. It’s just like any other training. When you find your POWERbreathe breathing training is getting easy then you need to increase your load. This trains your breathing muscles to become progressively stronger. Consequently breathing stamina increases. As a result your performance improves too. The article concludes by reminding you to check in with your breathing as you pedal. If you find you’re breathing from your chest, take a deep breath and reset. Remember your POWERbreathe breathing training and you’ll find you’ll be recruiting your diaphragm again.

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Inspiratory Muscle Fatigue In Trained Cyclists: Effects Of Inspiratory Muscle Training

“This study evaluated the influence of simulated 20- and 40-km time trials upon postexercise inspiratory muscle function of trained competitive cyclists. In addition, it examined the influence of specific inspiratory muscle training (IMT) upon the responses observed.”


“Data support existing evidence that there is significant global inspiratory muscle fatigue after sustained heavy endurance exercise. Furthermore, the present study provides new evidence that performance enhancements observed after IMT are accompanied by a decrease in inspiratory muscle fatigue.”

Read Inspiratory muscle fatigue in trained cyclists: effects of inspiratory muscle training >

Loading Of Trained Inspiratory Muscles Speeds Lactate Recovery Kinetics

“The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of inspiratory threshold loading and inspiratory muscle training (IMT) on blood lactate concentration and acid-base balance after maximal incremental cycling.”


After maximal exercise, inspiratory threshold loading affected lactate recovery kinetics only after IMT. Our data support the notion that the inspiratory muscles are capable of lactate clearance that increases strong ion difference [SID] and reduces plasma [H+]. These effects may facilitate subsequent bouts of high-intensity exercise.”

Read Loading of trained inspiratory muscles speeds lactate recovery kinetics >

IMT Abolishes Blood Lactate Increase Associated With Volitional Hyperpnoea Superimposed On Exercise And Accelerates Lactate And Oxygen Uptake Kinetics At Onset Of Exercise

“The effects were examined of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) upon volitional hyperpnoea-mediated increases in blood lactate during cycling at maximal lactate steady state power, and blood lactate and oxygen uptake kinetics at the onset of exercise.”


“Following the intervention, maximal inspiratory mouth pressure increased 19% in the IMT group only. Following IMT only, the increase in blood lactate during volitional hyperpnoea was abolished. In addition, the blood lactate and phase II oxygen uptake kinetics time constants at the onset of exercise and the maximal lactate steady state blood lactate were reduced. We attribute these changes to an IMT-mediated increase in the oxidative and/or lactate transport capacity of the inspiratory muscles.”

Read Inspiratory muscle training abolishes the blood lactate increase associated with volitional hyperpnoea superimposed on exercise and accelerates lactate and oxygen uptake kinetics at the onset of exercise >

Inspiratory Muscle Training Lowers The Oxygen Cost Of Voluntary Hyperpnea

“The purpose of this study was to determine if inspiratory muscle training (IMT) alters the oxygen cost of breathing (Vo(2RM)) during voluntary hyperpnea.”


“The present study provides novel evidence that IMT reduces the O2 cost of voluntary hyperpnea in highly trained cyclists. This IMT-mediated reduction in the O2 cost of voluntary hyperpnea suggests that reducing the O2 requirements of the respiratory muscles may facilitate an increase in O2 availability to the active muscles during exercise. Thus these data may provide an insight into the possible mechanisms underpinning the previously reported improvements in whole body endurance performance following IMT.”

Read Inspiratory muscle training lowers the oxygen cost of voluntary hyperpnea >

The Effect Of IMT Upon Maximum Lactate Steady-State And Blood Lactate Concentration

“Several studies have reported that improvements in endurance performance following respiratory muscle training (RMT) are associated with a decrease in blood lactate concentration. This study examined whether pressure threshold inspiratory muscle training (IMT) elicits an increase in the cycling power output corresponding to the maximum lactate steady state.


“Data supports previous observations that IMT results in a decrease in blood lactate concentration at a given intensity of exercise. That such a decrease in blood lactate concentration was not associated with a substantial (>2.5%) increase in maximum lactate steady state power is a new finding suggesting that RMT-induced increases in exercise tolerance and reductions in blood lactate concentration are not ascribable to a substantial increase in the ‘lactate threshold’.

Read The effect of inspiratory muscle training upon maximum lactate steady-state and blood lactate concentration >

Repeated Abdominal Exercise Induces Respiratory Muscle Fatigue

“Prolonged bouts of hyperpnea or resisted breathing are known to result in respiratory muscle fatigue, as are primarily non respiratory exercises such as maximal running and cycling… Sit-up training has been used to increase respiratory muscle strength, but no studies have been done to determine whether this type of non-respiratory activity can lead to respiratory fatigue. The purpose of the study was to test the effect of sit-ups on various respiratory muscle strength and endurance parameters.”


“After a one-time fatiguing sit-up exercise bout there is a reduction in respiratory muscle strength (MIP, MEP) and endurance (incremental breathing test duration) but not spirometric pulmonary function.”

Read Repeated abdominal exercise induces respiratory muscle fatigue >

The Effect Of Exercise Modality On Respiratory Muscle Performance In Triathletes

“The aim of this study was to examine the effects of the cycle-run and run-cycle successions of the triathlon and duathlon, respectively, on respiratory muscle strength and endurance.”


“Respiratory muscle strength and endurance were less decreased after the cycle-run succession and that cycling induced a greater decrease in respiratory muscle endurance than running.”

Read The effect of exercise modality on respiratory muscle performance in triathletes >

Respiratory Muscle Power And The Slow Component Of O2 Uptake

“The slow component of O2 uptake represents a progressive decline in work efficiency during strenuous, constant work rate cycling. Although most of this “excess” O2 uptake can be explained by factors intrinsic to the exercising muscles, it has been proposed that respiratory muscle work rate may also contribute to the O2 uptake response.”


“This investigation supports the thesis that the energetic contribution from respiratory muscles to the O2 uptake amplitude is disproportionately higher during severe-intensity exercise compared with that during heavy-intensity exercise.”

Read Respiratory muscle power and the slow component of O2 uptake >

Contribution Of Respiratory Muscle Blood Flow To Exercise-Induced Diaphragmatic Fatigue In Trained Cyclists

“This study investigated whether the greater degree of exercise-induced diaphragmatic fatigue previously reported in highly trained athletes in hypoxia (compared with normoxia) could have a contribution from limited respiratory muscle blood flow.”


“When respiratory muscle energy requirement is not different between normoxia and hypoxia, diaphragmatic fatigue is greater in hypoxia as intercostal muscle blood flow is not increased (compared with normoxia) to compensate for the reduction in PaO2 , thus further compromising O2 supply to the respiratory muscles.”

Read Contribution of respiratory muscle blood flow to exercise-induced diaphragmatic fatigue in trained cyclists >