Core training and cardio training are two things that most people don’t think of as going together. However, they are tied together for one simple reason – both drive your breathing and stability comes from the core.
While the core has muscles specifically for breathing, sometimes things get out of whack and we “forget” how to use them. We end up using other muscles like the chest to drive our breathing. This leads a couple of critical problems on the trail.
First, chest breathing is inefficient and doesn’t use our full lung capacity. You have to use the diaphragm to draw air all the way into the lungs and the deep abdominal muscles to exhale to achieve optimal gas exchange.
Second, when you don’t use the right muscles to breathe you end up using muscles that are better used to stabilize and power movement. When given the choice between creating movement and breathing those muscles will always choose breathing, leaving you without all of your core muscles to help you on the bike.
This means that when you are training you have to focus on good breathing habits so you don’t simply ingrain bad habits. In this video I go over some basic strategies I use to help improve a rider’s breathing and to help integrate that improved breathing into strength and cardio workouts.