March
5

Breathing Ladders to Instantly Improve Your Cardio

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-

Social Comments:

WordPress Comments:

  1. Great points James on proper beathing. Being an old climber, I brough pressure breathing over into mountain biking long ago and found it really improves your cardio abilities. Greg Lamond was famous for his big stomach belly beathing while racing… until he started wining… then everyone else soon started belly breathing too.

    Thanks for the reminder, grasshopper.

    Reply • March 5 at 9:54 am
  2. Peter says:

    Excellent, so very right.
    Loved the comment about cute chicks, exactly the way I learnt the technique: cute chicks = yoga class = learning to breathe 🙂

    A fast and useful alternative without the kettlebell: open your window in the morning, breathe 10 times via the lower stomach and you’ll feel the difference all day. Helps even more to do a few dozen pushups before the breathing, to heat things up.

    Reply • March 12 at 9:06 am
  3. WAKi says:

    Thank ames, I never thought about it, tried it yesterday, it feel straight away that there’s something into this thing. I Assume a good way to train this is doing a mindfull meditation which BTW is amazing for focus, boosting up MTB (and not only) mental skills.

    Reply • March 15 at 2:48 am
  4. Smooth says:

    I’m not a biker but thanks man that was real helpful !

    Reply • March 29 at 4:41 pm

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James Wilson
Author and Professional
Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson