April 2015
High endurance athlete? It is usually assumed that respiratory muscle performance is ample for most people undertaking endurance sports like cycling. However, studies have shown that in some cases performance can be improved by suitable respiratory training. Simple exercises to improve activation of the diaphragm are recommended, because when performing at a high intensity, the ability to supply oxygen and remove waste product via respiration will affect your performance no matter how much strength work you have done previously. Here is one for you to try:
  1. Lie on the floor face up with knees slightly bent.
  2. Place a small pillow under the head if that is more comfortable for you.
  3. Place your hands lightly on your stomach.
  4. Concentrate on breathing using the diaphragm, not using the chest, and feeling the stomach rise as the lungs fill from the bottom.
  5. Let the stomach fall naturally when breathing out by relaxing the diaphragm.
  6. Progress by placing a small weight on the stomach, such as a small book, on do it all again.
  7. The next stage is to stand up and place your hands on your stomach again, feeling how you breathe. Surprisingly, you may find this step requires some concentration initially.
  8. Finally, practice breathing correctly whilst on the bicycle.
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