just another gosling
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004
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I had trouble breathing when I started serious riding, also. People could always tell when I was coming up on them on a climb, because I sounded like a steam engine. It got better. You know your heart has two sides. The left side runs your body, while all the right side runs is your lungs. I think as your heart gets stronger, especially the right side, your lungs will get more blood and will do a better job of oxygenation, and you'll feel better. It takes a good year for your heart to really respond to training, so be patient.
But yes, there is a breathing technique. First, straighten your back. Let your belly drop toward the top tube. This is very important. Imagine there is a helium balloon attached to the top of your head. Let your head rise and move back over your spine in response to the balloon. Open your mouth wide and let your tongue come forward until it rests against your lower lip. When you breathe in, breathe from the bottom first. Breathe in by pooching your belly out like you are pregnant, until the bottom of your lungs are completely full. Then fill the upper part of your lungs by allowing your chest to rise and fill. It's a conscious two-part operation at first, but will become natural. So breathe like this on a climb, as slowly as your need for air will let you. Completely fill your lungs with every breath.