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  1. #1
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    Heart Rate Barely Moves, but I can't breath

    What does it mean when your lungs give out before anything? My legs were suffering, but not real bad and my heart rate never deviated more than 15bms or so my entire ride even on my 1000 climb. Only went from 155 to 169 during the climb even though I was pushing pretty hard. My lungs seemed to be what is holding me back. I suffered from exercise enduvced asthama as a kid. I've always felt that my breathing technique is perhaps at fault for keeping my performance lower than I want.

    Do I just have small lungs or do I need to learn how to breath? Are there breathing techniques other than Yoga type exercises?

  2. #2
    Climbing Fool terrymorse's Avatar
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    You almost certainly were anaerobic, which requires a lot more breathing to expell all the extra CO2 that's produced by anaerobic metabolism.

    Almost everyone is limited by his cardio, not his lungs. If you continue to train, you should see your anaerobic threshold move higher, and you'll find it easier to breathe at higher heart rates.

    But if you think you're having asthma issues, you ought to get it checked by a lung specialist.
    Managing Director, Undiscovered Country Tours

  3. #3
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Odd....even if you had trouble breathing your heart should have sped up to compensate. If you just sit and hold your breath, your heart should start beating faster even without exertion.

    What is your max HR?
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    How old are you?

    169 HR is fast. Check your resting heart and let us know what that is also.

  5. #5
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varian72
    What does it mean when your lungs give out before anything? My legs were suffering, but not real bad and my heart rate never deviated more than 15bms or so my entire ride even on my 1000 climb. Only went from 155 to 169 during the climb even though I was pushing pretty hard. My lungs seemed to be what is holding me back. I suffered from exercise enduvced asthama as a kid. I've always felt that my breathing technique is perhaps at fault for keeping my performance lower than I want.

    Do I just have small lungs or do I need to learn how to breath? Are there breathing techniques other than Yoga type exercises?
    +1 to the previous responses.

    It sounds like you are new to exercise. Your lactate threshold (LT) and maximum oxygen capacity (VO2Max) is that of a new exerciser. So it can be possible that your "idling" heart rate is close to your LT and not very far from your maximum heart rate (MHR) which approximates where your VO2Max is. But, IMHO, you didn't hit your VO2Max. Most new exercisers don't know how to suffer enough to get there.

    As your body adapts to exercise, your stroke volume will increase which causes your "idling" (resting heart rate) to decrease. Also, your VO2Max and LT will increase. You will see these manifest themselves in a higher MHR and an LT that occurs at a higher heart rate then when you started exercising.

    All of these changes will continue (as well as others in your "plumbing"--read: vascular system) until you hit your genetic limits or wherever you plateau training stress.
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

  6. #6
    I fear angry birds Santaria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Univega
    How old are you?

    169 HR is fast. Check your resting heart and let us know what that is also.
    Based on an age of 33 and using the formula 205 - Age/2
    Maximum Heart Rate (Calculated) = 188.5

    % of Maximum Heart Rate Reserve*
    Percent 60 sec. 10 sec. 60 sec. 10 sec.
    ------- ------- ------- ------- -------
    100 188.5 31.4 188.5 31.4
    95 179.1 29.8 182.1 30.3
    90 169.6 28.3 175.6 29.3
    85 160.2 26.7 169.2 28.2
    80 150.8 25.1 162.8 27.1
    75 141.4 23.6 156.4 26.1
    70 131.9 22.0 149.9 25.0
    65 122.5 20.4 143.5 23.9
    60 113.1 18.8 137.1 22.8
    55 103.7 17.3 130.7 21.8

    * Percent of maximum, corrected for resting heart rate of 60

    I can hit 169 sustained for 4 miles @ 8:11 running...which is really pushing it, but I still don't feel like I'm hitting my LT. I've done sustained bursts of 1 mile at 7:49 and was in the 180ish range and really felt the leg/lung burn then. Its really the only way I know where my VO2max is frankly.

    My 'sweet spot' for marathon running is right between 150-160ish.

    But I'm still not seeing how 169 is high. Maybe I'm missing something...
    THE DEVIL

    Originally Posted by Scrodzilla
    If that was my house and you put your stupid bike in my flower garden to take a picture, I would come outside in my underwear and light you on fire.

  7. #7
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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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.

  8. #8
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    To the OP,

    Here's a good resource regarding how your body operates when exercising (exercise physiology):

    http://home.hia.no/~stephens/exphys.htm

    Check it out. It's in terms that are very understandable--you don't need a PhD to understand the contents.
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

  9. #9
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    Thanks...for the record I am 34. Resting HR @ 50

    My legs and my heart hardly felt spent on this climb unlike my lungs. I play ice hockey and I know when my heart feels like its gonna explode out of my chest....but I do not know my MaxHR or my LT...need to figure those our I know.

    I think learning to breath better may be the answer. I also have a new ride this year...a racier Tarmac from my Trek. That might have something to do with it.

    Thanks for you replies to a newbie who's learning to listen to his heart rate.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Santaria
    Based on an age of 33 and using the formula 205 - Age/2
    Maximum Heart Rate (Calculated) = 188.5

    But I'm still not seeing how 169 is high. Maybe I'm missing something...
    I'm 53. That would place my max at 178.5.

    So 169 would be high for me, only 10 beats from max.
    Guys my age should not go that high unless they have been evaluated by
    a doctor. What if this guy was older than me?
    That is why I asked.

  11. #11
    I fear angry birds Santaria's Avatar
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    Ah. Makes sense
    THE DEVIL

    Originally Posted by Scrodzilla
    If that was my house and you put your stupid bike in my flower garden to take a picture, I would come outside in my underwear and light you on fire.

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