One of the most overlooked aspects of cardio training is the quality of your breathing. Too many riders are breathing excessively with the chest and mouth and not enough with the nose and diaphragm, resulting in increased upper body tension and inefficient breathing.

By learning how to drive your breathing from the diaphragm you can instantly improve the amount of oxygen you take in with each breathe as well as control how much carbon dioxide you exhale, resulting in improved cardio capacity without actually doing a single interval or training ride. Once you have learned how to breathe more efficiently you will get more out of your cardio workouts instead of just reinforcing bad breathing habits.

In this video I show you how to check your breathing and also show you a cool kettlebell swing workout called Breathing Ladders that will help you train this important skill. You can find a breakdown of the Breathing Ladder workout below. If you are not familiar with how to do a proper kettlebell swing then check out this video covering the basic kettlebell exercises.

Breathing Ladders for Better Cardio on pinkbike.com

Swing Breathing Ladder

Begin at 1 single arm swing +1 single arm = 1 breath for recovery
2 single arm swing +2 single arm swing = 2 breaths
3 single arm swing +3 single arm swing = 3 breaths
4 single arm swing +4 single arm swing = 4 breaths
5 single arm swing +5 single arm swing = 5 breaths
6 single arm swing +6 single arm swing = 6 breaths
7 single arm swing +7 single arm swing = 7 breaths
8 single arm swing +8 single arm swing = 8 breaths
9 single arm swing +9 single arm swing = 9 breaths
10 single arm swing +10 single arm swing = 10 breaths

When this is easy then progress up to 8+8 = 8 breathes and then stick with 8 breathes as your recovery as you build up to the 10+10

When this is easy then progress up to 6=6 = 6 breathes and then stick with 8 breathes as your recovery as you build up to the 10+10

When this is easy then progress up to 5+5 = 5 breathes and then stick with 8 breathes as your recovery as you build up to the 10+10

When this is easy you can increase the size of the kettlebell you are using.

-James Wilson-

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