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  1. #1
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    Increasing lung capacity?

    Is there a way to increase lung capacity?

    Seems that I can cycle really fast for only small bursts until i am out of breath or sore but I can cycle really slow almost forever and forever..

    While I hope that strength training will allow me to become strong enough to have a much higher 'slow' cycling speed, I wonder whether it is possible to increase lung capacity in other ways.. or is there no hope?

    I suppose you can try to raise the anaerobic threshold, isn't it?
    Forgot how... I've been out of the scene so long (since late 1999 I haven't cycled anything over 250 km and anything over 150 K just perhaps 5 times due to very long cycling holidays).

    Thanks in advance

    Ivana
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

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    You wanna get big lungs? I know that big lungs don't help in cycling because we only derive a little of that air that enters our lungs.

    Anyway, you can improve your lungs by doing some form of breathing exercise. The Bicycling magazine did include one of the article on the lungs. They say you are supposed to breathe deeply through the nose, till you can't breathe in more air and just try to force a little more air in. Then, hold for a few seconds and breathe through the mouth. I suppose it is like more of a relaxation exercise for me but it is said to help in some way. I think they said that by doing this, it allows some of the cells to gain oxygen and help better your breathing.

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    I think breathing exercises would be great... am hesitating now between yoga (not all yoga lessons concentrate on breathing) or start singing and taking lessons..
    The latter seems a better way.. however, I have NEVER had singing lessons before and didn't like singing in school..
    BUT, I have a hearing deficiency, and since I got a brilliant new hearing aid recently, I have enjoyed singing much more than before..

    Any karaoke programs, websites???
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

  4. #4
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Lung capacity by itself doesn't get you much... it's the whole cardiovascular distribution system you need to develop. Assuming you have good base conditioning, spend more time duration "nudging" above your aerobic threshold... breathing hard, but at a sustainable level. Short, hard bursts will condition your anaerobic, lactic acid tolerance and recovery, but I don't think that it contributes much to circulatory development, which is necessary for a higher average ride speed.

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    The Lance Armstrong Performance Program (Armstrong & Carmichael) has detailed training regimens for all levels of cyclists. A heart rate monitor would probably be a wise investment if your truly interested in taking full advantage of your training.

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    You need to develop a solid base (low intensity riding for 1000 miles or so). In your build period, you work on interval training. Basically, riding near or above your LT heart rate for so and so minutes and to spend 2x time to recover riding at zone 2. Increase your time spending near or above LTHR as the season progressed. You should see some improvement after 8 weeks of interval training.

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    Currently I cycle around 160K /week (100 mi) just for commuting to/from the gym and simple errands.. with 2 spinning lessons/week.
    Outside: lots of slow rides, no hard rides unless I'm late for an appointment..
    Inside: the spinning lessons weren't going as it should because I was experimenting with more efficient fat burning.. now I consume a bit of extra carbs just prior to the lesson, things go a lot better..
    But you are thinking that training above the LT should enable me to breathe better than I do now?

    Perhaps.. at least I will also increase the time in the saddle. Not outside but inside in the gym... I don't like spending a lot of time cycling by myself unless I have pleasant company or some place to go to, in order to meet other people.
    In the past I would do functional rides (going places for events or appointments) of up to 100 km but sheer frustration about the lack of decent sign posting in this bike -apartheids country where you aren't allowed on any road outside country roads and bloody awful bike paths have taken all the joy out of it and I flat out refuse to do any functional ride of over 25 km ... a pity.. it saved me quite a bit of money in public transport.
    However, functional rides are pretty useless as they don't make me do interval training.. spring rides in which I try to catch up with other male cyclists is what makes me go faster, as well as riding ladders of increasing rpm's on a home trainer, plus the aforementioned spinning lessons.. I'd sooner go from 2 to 3 or 4 spinning lessons /week than train more outside.. the latter is just too plain boring and frustrating..

    PS: I do own a heart rate monitor.. but now I hope it's wrong.. Saturday morning I read 29 bpm.. I do have 32 bpm quite frequently when I'm fit, but 29 bpm sounds too close to death..:angel:
    I also tested my max while spinning a bike as fast as possible during a spinning session: 177bpm. But I haven't been using the HRM for a long time so I am not sure about the LT.. somewhere around 158-65bpm?
    Last edited by fietser_ivana; 12-01-02 at 10:19 AM.
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

  8. #8
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    fietser ivana has shattered one of my last illusions! I have always believed the legends of cycling Nirvana in the Netherlands...but apparently this is not so?

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    wow, 29 bpm? Are you sure its contacting properly? I heard Lance has 25 bpm. You can increase your lung capacity by running. I started running before biking, and I almost never get out of breath bikeing (It seems my legs give up before my lungs) I suppose you could increase your lung capacity by trying spinning. Spinning uses less of your leg muscles, instead it causes you to get out of breath. If you can stay out of breath for aroound twenty minutes, you are increasing your lung capacity.

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    Originally posted by Phatman
    wow, 29 bpm? Are you sure its contacting properly? I heard Lance has 25 bpm. You can increase your lung capacity by running. I started running before biking, and I almost never get out of breath bikeing (It seems my legs give up before my lungs) I suppose you could increase your lung capacity by trying spinning. Spinning uses less of your leg muscles, instead it causes you to get out of breath. If you can stay out of breath for aroound twenty minutes, you are increasing your lung capacity.
    Oh boy,.. I have more physical problems than toes and fingers on my body.
    Not just RSI in neck and shoulders plus wrist which forces me to use a butterfly bar to keep up neck/shoulders in a comfortable way, I also have shortened achilles tendons and bunyons that don't allow proper running. I tried to skip rope 9 months ago in order to lose excessive fat.. but hurt my left heel so badly, I am still hurting there.. it's called plantar fasciatis I think.. visited a sport's physician who recommended me to run & walk as little as possible but keep cycling and take up weight training again.. I had done about 2 mo. of lower body weight training as a rehab program.. and was getting good progress.. but 1 day of walking and esp. a visit to a museum leaves me tired as a dog and feet hurt lots again.. amazingly weight training hurts too, but not as badly.

    so.. i can drop down to 25 until I should start worrying should I?

    Indeed the NLs is not cycling nirvana.. unless you don't cycle more than 5 K. Most Dutch own and ride a bike, many own even more.. but indeed, for most people, riding more than 10 K is unthinkable. I know since I was 25 years old when I rode my first distance above 15 km! What most people do is shopping, visiting friends, going to school , all in the same town or city.. and perhaps going to the nearest railway station or next village..
    I habitually cycled 10K to the railway station 10 K away and even very fit co-students would be saying "gosh, that's way too far for me...". Got some very strange looks indeed in those 2 years when I tried to cycle everywhere...... up to 125K wasn't a problem.. but eventually I got so f**kingly frustrated by the inadequate signposting , unnecessary deviations and silly rules . Like having to stop everywhere for cars, until recently the NLs was one of the only countries in the world where only cars, trucks and motorbikes had the right of way coming from the right, all slow traffic had to stop, regardless of direction... Now that rule is overhauled, they just put up unnecessary stop signs..
    And I don't even talk about how you need to manually press buttons twice when you want to make a left turn at a traffic light.. just like a pedestrian.. Or that you can't go on the roundabout itself, but have to go on outlying bike paths where cyclists either don't have right of way (stop signs all over) or where you are in such a danger of being cut off anyway because you're being overlooked. Well, that's a lot of fun... being dead despite having had the right of way.. I simply take no chances and take the road despite risks of not being given the right of way by self-righteous car drivers or handed a ticket by cops... aaaargggghh sorry, had to release some tension here.
    Perhaps you'll understand now why I limit my long rides to organised ones with no TL, very few bike paths.. better for my blood pressure that way!
    Last edited by fietser_ivana; 12-01-02 at 01:31 PM.
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

  11. #11
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    you need to force your body to adapt. I know an
    easy way to do exactly that. Swim. Or to be more precise, do laps at an easy pace,but, only breathe
    on the right side stroke. Done properly, this will drive you into oxygen debt, and keep you there. After a period of time you will have to stop, and take a few breathes. No problem, just get back to doing laps after 10 breaths or so. Works great, not pleasant, but you get used to it.

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by late
    Hi,
    you need to force your body to adapt. I know an
    easy way to do exactly that. Swim. Or to be more precise, do laps at an easy pace,but, only breathe
    on the right side stroke. Done properly, this will drive you into oxygen debt, and keep you there. After a period of time you will have to stop, and take a few breathes. No problem, just get back to doing laps after 10 breaths or so. Works great, not pleasant, but you get used to it.
    Mmm.. I'll remind myself to buy one of those swim-goggles as recommended by my cycling buddy when I complained that I couldn't swim on my back properly because of lacking lines in the ceiling (which is not straight) and that swimming 'normal'gave me neckpain.. he recommended me to buy goggles and only breath in & out every other stroke.. thanks mate!
    In winter I like doing indoor sports because of the company of other people around me... it will also increase strength in my arms & shoulders.. when done not too fast, it will be beneficial I think..
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

  13. #13
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    it's called plantar fasciatis I think..
    Had the same problem. Hurts like h*** and the bottom of your foot aches from the ball down to the heel, especially arouns the heel.

    1. Wore double quality socks

    2. Always wore Nike Air Cushion

    Problem eventually went away, and I haven't even thought about it tell you mentioned it.

    I no longer regularly wear double socks, but I almost always sure to have Nike Air Cushions on. Makes a great deal of difference.
    Almost gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for another fun new group of 50+ folks

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    But you didn't have a problem with weight lifting, did you?
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

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    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Originally posted by fietser_ivana
    But you didn't have a problem with weight lifting, did you?
    No, just with walking, running and standing

    But, the weight lifting itself was no problem. After I recover from the neurosurgery for about two more weeks, I am cleared to lift weights fully again.
    Almost gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for another fun new group of 50+ folks

  16. #16
    Love Me....Love My Bike! aerobat's Avatar
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    This link was on another thread about swimming, which I agree is an excellent cross training exercise, and specifcally for the reason you mentioned.
    http://www.swimmersguide.com/
    "...perhaps the world needs a little more Canada" - Jean Chretian, 2003.

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by aerobat
    This link was on another thread about swimming, which I agree is an excellent cross training exercise, and specifcally for the reason you mentioned.
    http://www.swimmersguide.com/
    Sorry, where is this guide for, other than finding a swimming pool. I know where the local pool is.. been there a number of times, you know .
    I am sure you meant something else, can you be more specific what you meant to indicate with this link?
    :confused:
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

  18. #18
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    I know that your resting heart rate can be way different from your lowest heart rate. Before I started to build my aerobic base, I had a resting heart rate of 63. My lowest heart rate would be 50, monitored with my heart rate monitor worn overnight.

    Now, my resting heart rate is 52 after a month of aerobic base training. I'm not sure about my lowest heart rate now, but it should be in the 40s.

    I think it is common to have a lowest heart rate way below your resting heart rate. I remembered that when I watch discovery channel, the astronaut has a resting heart rate of 30+. Imagine someone with a resting heart rate of 30+ on earth going into space. It might just drop to 10+. HEHE

  19. #19
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    A (possibly) useful article:
    Boosting Aerobic Capacity

  20. #20
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    Hey guys/gals.. an update

    Bought swimming goggles today..really hip blue glasses from Speedo.. it was truly a lot of fun to be cycling under water with them..
    I went to the warm pool after having met too many people who swim in the same lane all the time (I jokingly asked whether they drove their car in the same lane as well!) .
    Warm pool is half the size.. managed to do all of it under water.. was cool , even in warm water .. which has the advantage of not overly increasing appetite now I'm dieting (see http://www.thefactsaboutfitness.com...ch/swimming.htm) and also that it is fairly shallow at 1,20 m..when I'd be nearly drowning,I'd be standing up in no time

    Yup... swimming it will be!
    Last edited by fietser_ivana; 12-05-02 at 09:31 AM.
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

  21. #21
    Breaker of Spokes P. B. Walker's Avatar
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    Hey... I just got goggles... mine are blue from speedo too.

    Just did laps this morning... it's surprising how fast my endurance in the pool is increasing in just 4 weeks (4 visits).

    PBW

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    I'm amazed at how TIRED I am!

    Yesterday I did my first swim with new goggles and didn't concentrate on style or anything, just in trying to keep my head under water for longer periods of time.. like coming above water 3-4 times in one lap.

    Though I didn't feel that I swam fast or anything.. it really really exhausted me... and appetite was indeed increased a lot!

    However, I think it is a wonderful tool for increasing lung capacity as I already notice that I'm breathing deeper than before...

    A miracle tool!!!
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

  23. #23
    Breaker of Spokes P. B. Walker's Avatar
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    Yeah it definitely gets you tired. I could only do 20 laps the first time. I only swim once a week. The next week I was able to do 36 but it really tired me out. I did 36 the next week too just to take it easy. Yesterday I did 52. I want to be able to do 72 (1 mile). I haven't noticed any "beefing" up in my upper body. But I'm starting to trim down a bit and tone up. Plus, my cardio is going thru the roof.

    I also noticed the increase in appetite. And not just right after swimming... for the rest of the day too.

    PBW

  24. #24
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    I have done laps on my back before.. a few times without breakfast.. but last time I had had breakfast but skipped my 2nd meal and it was time for the 3rd meal before I was finished.. I nearly fainted.
    Now I had eaten recently, but the swimming under water, despite the much shorter amount of laps (perhaps just 10-15) really drained me.. and.. I had been doing aquajogging the night before!
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

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