Cycling Tips for Training Like an Olympian

Olympic track cycling involves intense acceleration and sprinting at high speeds. These sprint races require a combination of tactics and power for the six track Velodrome cycling events. Olympic road cycling however requires stamina to endure the long distances. This applies to both the road race and the individual time trials.

Cycling tips for training like an Olympian

The cycling disciplines of road cycling and track cycling demand a high level of stamina, power and strength. Obviously, a coach will provide athletes with a training programme designed to improve these areas. Such training includes overloading muscle fibres in order to obtain a training response. However, there is a group of muscles that, if also subjected to overloading, will also ultimately improve performance. In fact, it could provide you with the ‘edge’ over the competition. These are the breathing muscles; specifically the inspiratory muscles (mainly the diaphragm and intercostals).

Breathing muscle training is scientifically proven to improve breathing muscle strength, power and endurance. Additionally, it also reduces breathing muscle fatigue. Training the breathing muscles is achievable by using an inspiratory muscle training device, such as POWERbreathe IMT.

Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) uses resistance training to apply the ‘overload principle’. The process of IMT involves breathing-in against a resistance load. The scientifically proven training regimen for POWERbreathe IMT combines training duration, intensity and frequency in order to achieve overload.

This ‘resistance training’ strengthens your breathing muscles by making it harder to breathe in. It works in the same way as increasing dumbbell weight to improve the strength of your biceps or triceps. In fact, IMT is often referred to as ‘dumbbells for your diaphragm’.

Cycling specific breathing tips

Incorporating IMT into your track cycling or road cycling training promotes a fuller utilisation of your breathing muscles. IMT will also enhance core stability which helps to optimise pedal efficiency. Furthermore, by increasing the strength and stamina of your breathing muscles with IMT, the better you tolerate the crouched position on the bike.

Breathing exercise for road cycling

Scientific studies show inspiratory muscle training improves the strength (by 31.2%) and stamina (27.8%) of your breathing muscles. Furthermore, it shows cycling time trial performance improves by 4.6% – equivalent to slashing 3-minutes off a 40k time trial. Finally, a study shows that IMT enables participants to cycle for 33% longer and with a lower sense of effort.

Breathing exercise for track cycling

Sprint racing drives breathing to its limit because of the repeated high-intensity effort it requires. It also requires a stable core and strong upper body. Equally of importance is the ability to focus on the tactical elements of track cycling, even when breathing discomfort is high.

A study in the International Journal of Sports Medicine shows that IMT accelerates recovery during repeated sprints (by up to 7%). This will help you as a track cyclist to maintain your intensity during an event. Additionally, because you will recover more quickly from intense cycling sprints, the worry about breathing discomfort becomes less and you will be able to focus on tactics instead.

As a sprint athlete, you will also appreciate the realisation that IMT attenuates metaboreflex. The reason for this is because the body will restrict blood flow to the limbs when your breathing muscles fatigue. When this happens, your body goes into survival mode, shutting down blood flow to your limbs so that your diaphragm and breathing may recover. Therefore, the stronger diaphragm your diaphragm, the better blood supply to your limbs and the better you perform.

IMT specific cycling tips

  1. While turbo training and seated in the aero position, perform two or three sets of 30 breaths on your IMT device, such as POWERbreathe.
  2. Hold a basic plank for 30 to 60 seconds while using your IMT device. Perform 3 sets, inhaling forcefully and then exhaling for about 4 seconds. You can easily vary this by performing different plank variations, such as on a balance ball.
  3. Remember to perform a pre-race IMT warm-up because research shows that a standard pre-exercise warm-up routine fails to prepare your breathing muscles for the rigours of intense exercise.
  4. Research shows that completing an IMT cool-down will help to speed lactate clearance more effectively, helping you to recover more quickly.

Rio Gold Medal Winner Uses POWERbreathe

Robson Conceição is Brazil’s first Olympic boxing gold medalist, winning at this year’s Rio Olympics. And he is using POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT).

Why Conceição began boxing

As a child Robson Conceição took to fighting with other children on the streets of Salvador. His uncle is an ex-street fighter and is known as one of the bravest street fighters. Conceição wished to improve his fighting skills and so a friend began teaching him boxing techniques. It’s thanks to a social project in Salvador that Conceição took the decision to stop street fighting and start boxing instead. He could then see it as a way of life.

Conceição is an Olympic champion

Robson is having more success than his previous Olympic appearances in Beijing and London. He is fighting in the lightweight boxing weight class. And this year he made history at the Rio Olympics in Brazil. Robson is Brazil’s First Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist.

POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training

Robson Conceição is training his inspiratory muscles with POWERbreathe under the guidance of Brazilian physiotherapist, Mateus Esquivel. It will improve his breathing strength and stamina when fighting. It also helps to improve his general fitness without exerting his body any more than his sparring sessions do. POWERbreathe IMT is also beneficial in speeding up his recovery between bouts of fighting.

POWERbreathe for recovery

Conceição performs a recovery breathing set by using his POWERbreathe IMT on a lower setting. This training speeds up lactate clearance more effectively than a traditional recovery. Researchers in Brazil have found that breathing against a small inspiratory load straight after exercise reduces lactate by 16%. And it’s quick. When using POWERbreathe for recovery, after just 5-minutes lactate concentration is the same as that found after 15 minutes of passive recovery.


We are sending our congratulations to Brazil’s First Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist, Robson Conceição! We also would like to thank Mateus Esquivel for supporting Robson throughout his breathing training.

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Brentford and Republic of Ireland midfielder suffers EIA

POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) could help Brentford and Republic of Ireland midfielder Alan Judge who’s recently been reprimanded by the Football Association after breaching doping regulations for consuming higher levels of his asthma medication than is permitted. Judge is one of many sports people that suffer with exercise-induced asthma (EIA) and uses an inhaler. Endurance sports, such as long-distance running, cross-country skiing and cycling are the most likely activities to cause problems for people with exercise-induced asthma. A Case Report published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine looked at Inspiratory Muscle Training: a simple cost-effective treatment for inspiratory stridor, which described the support given to a British elite athlete in the build-up to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Complaining of breathing symptoms during high intensity training which resulted in a reduction in performance and premature cessation of training, the athlete undertook a eucapnic voluntary hyperpnoea challenge to test for her exercise-induced asthma (EIA). Following consultation with a sports physician and physiologist, the athlete was diagnosed with inspiratory stridor and an inspiratory muscle training (IMT) intervention was implemented. The IMT intervention required 30 loaded breaths twice daily using POWERbreathe five times per week for 11 weeks. The athlete reported a precipitous fall in symptoms and was able to complete high intensity training without symptoms. If you suffer from exercise induced asthma (EIA) then breathing training with POWERbreathe could help you train in a safe and productive manner and because it is drug-free won’t incur scrutiny from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

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Inspiratory Muscle Training: A Simple Cost-Effective Treatment For Inspiratory Stridor

“This case study describes the support given to a British elite athlete in the build up to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. The athlete had complained of breathing symptoms during high intensity training that led to a reduction in performance and premature cessation of training… Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) was implemented to attenuate the inspiratory stridor.”


“Following an 11-week Inspiratory Muscle Training programme, the athlete had a 31% increase in mouth inspiratory pressure and a reduction in recovery between high intensity sprints. The athlete reported a precipitous fall in symptoms and was able to complete high intensity training without symptoms. This case shows that IMT is a suitable cost-effective intervention for athletes who present with inspiratory stridor.”

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