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  1. #1
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    Benefits of NOT breathing through mouth

    Yesterday I did a workout that woul dhave been rated easy. One hour at 70-110 cadence, HR around 65% of max. Power - i'm don'tknow, it wasn't monitored.

    I spent roughly 30 minutes breathing through my nose. I've heard of some triathletes doing this. I wanted to try it out to test the water.

    How is this advantageous to my body? Will it help my TT times? If I consistently train in this fashion for 1+ or 2+ hours, will I gain any leg up? What if I bring my HR up to 75% and keep the breathing through my nose?

    Anyone have any experience with this?

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    Why would breathing through your nose help your TT times?

    Is the idea that you train with restricted breathing and race with unrestricted breathing? I've never heard of that as a training technique.

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    I think, in general, it's always better to breathe through your nose if it's comfortable.

    Your nose is built to pre-filter your air, preventing more particulate matter from reaching your lungs. Similarly, in the wintertime, breathing through your nose helps to warm the air so you don't get as much cold shock in the lungs. Finally, mouth-breathing can dry your mouth out faster, making you seem more dehydrated.

    As to whether there are actual performance gains, I have no idea. Sometimes you just can't keep that mouth shut. However, I find that my asthmatic lungs are happier with me if I make an effort to breathe through the nose.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    if you inhale through your mouth and exhale through your nose or pursed lips you will increase slightly the pressure of your alveoli thus forcing a slightly more thorough exchange of gasses, which in turn will take out more CO2 and bring you more oxygen.

    doing the opposite is good if you hyperventilate
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    if you inhale through your mouth and exhale through your nose or pursed lips you will increase slightly the pressure of your alveoli thus forcing a slightly more thorough exchange of gasses, which in turn will take out more CO2 and bring you more oxygen.

    doing the opposite is good if you hyperventilate
    Interesting. I'll have to try this. I have big juicy turbinates that restrict air flowing into my nose but exhaling though them would definitely increase alveolar pressure.

    EDIT: I tried this and I have to say it makes a noticeable difference. I wasn't able to move enough air through my nose so I made a smaller "o" with my lips while exhaling and could feel Boyle's Law take over in my lungs right away.
    Last edited by sternzeit; 09-28-12 at 01:16 PM.

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    Breathing through the nose sounds like a good way to limit your speed, if that's what you're after.

    The only benefit I can see to nose-only breathing is that a fly or bee won't fly in your mouth if it's closed. I've occasionally tried the Thomas Voekler grin when riding through a swarm of insects, but I can't hold it for long.

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    i think its all preference. Look at time trialists, do you see them breathing through their nose and out through their mouth? How about sprinters? I have always been an exercise mouth breather and nose breather at all other times.

  8. #8
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Helps you look smarter/cooler, too.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  9. #9
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    It just depends on how hard you're going. If you've ever had asthma, you know that your HR goes up while your speed holds constant. This is because you're working your lungs harder to get the same amount of oxygen and your heart always pumps both ventricles at the same time. IOW, working your chest muscles consumes a noticeable amount of energy. If you want to go fast, you need to open your airway. Open your mouth wide and straighten and open your throat. Some riders even protrude their tongues to enlarge the passage. You want the air to go in and out as quickly as possible. Using reductio ad absurdem, holding your breath does not increase the speed of oxygen absorption by lung tissue. Only a higher oxygen concentration does that. So breath deep and fast and open your airway.

    If you're going slow, I don't know if it makes a difference either way. Nose breathers will have slightly warmer, less dusty air, and will inhale fewer flies. Ironman length bike legs are done at a low effort by racing cyclist standards - they have to be.

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    I had a good conversation with a triathlete - and I know that they race at lower efforts - he was talking about building capillaries at the bottom of the lungs. Opening the lungs to work the alveoli, where the exchange of O2 takes place. I really don't know if it helps at all - but more efficient lungs sounds attractive.

  11. #11
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikingman View Post
    I had a good conversation with a triathlete - and I know that they race at lower efforts - he was talking about building capillaries at the bottom of the lungs. Opening the lungs to work the alveoli, where the exchange of O2 takes place. I really don't know if it helps at all - but more efficient lungs sounds attractive.
    this reminds me of a conversation I had with my parents one nite about 35+ years ago. I remember the conversation because I remeber the sensation I was trying to describe. At the time I was working in NYC as an assistant in an on-figure fashion studio on Park Ave. South. Each nite after work I would take the subway to my car, drive home, eat a light meal and drive to my past college campus. I would weight train for an hour and then run 3 miles. Or maybe it was vice-a-versa, or maybe it was just the run. I remember not being able to actually run 3 miles non-stop so when I stopped I did 10 pushups. By time I was done I had done 150 pushups having stopped about 15 times. I really never was a runner until my late 40s. But for about 7 months I did this routine. My parents thought i was nuts and one night when I got home, then questioned what the heck I was doing. I then explained how greta and amazing it felt to do what I was doing. And then I descriobed this amazing moment where at one point while I was running I took a deep breath and it felt as though my chest expanded more than it ever had before and as though my lung had grown bigger but not high up, rather low in my chest, and as if if it was a long balloon that ahd a little bit that never got blown up, all of a sudden got blown up. I wish I was 20 again and to see what I could accomplish now, knowing what I know about training. I can certainly run 3 miles now!

    Later in my life around age 30 I had a chest exray and the techniciain had to redo it because he missed part of my lung. Weird huh?
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  12. #12
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Yeah, what most people do to breathe is just raise and lower the upper part of their chest. That's not how an athlete breathes. First of all, forget about how it looks. Every now and again, you might see a photo of one of your champions doing this, but mostly the photogs pass these ones by and pick the normal-looking ones.

    Anyway, doesn't matter if it's through the nose or mouth to begin with. So as you start to breath in, forget about your chest - hold that still. Expand your belly out until it's as far out as it goes. Then move the center of expansion up your chest until it reaches the top. You'll look pregnant. I don't think there's a method for letting it out - just exhale forcefully. Repeat. Next time you're on a climb and it starts picking up, start doing this. Keep doing it as your breathing becomes faster and faster. It's relatively easy to maintain at LT, though you might sound like a steam engine. That mostly goes away as you get better. When you go anaerobic, it's hard to keep doing that and most folks just start panting. But maintain the belly-breathing as long as you can. You'll see that you really have to open your throat to move that much air, but moving air is what you have to do to increase VO2max.

  13. #13
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    If you don't breathe through your mouth, you'll look out of place when you go to Wal-Mart.

  14. #14
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    Totally, the belly breathing method clearly works. I feel I have better control of my breathing when I utilize this techniques.

    So it seems to be that the nose breathing training time can be better spent working on other strategies such as fine tuning belly breathing or others...

  15. #15
    Senior Member jack002's Avatar
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    Fewer bugs. Flies and knats don't get in if you inhale through your nose
    Biking isn't a sport because anybody can do it. I can bike, you can bike. For goodness sakes, my mother can bike! You don't see her on the cover of Sports Illustrated, do you?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Wesley36's Avatar
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    This is a bit different, but it seems germane:

    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=10057

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wesley36 View Post
    This is a bit different, but it seems germane:

    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=10057
    Awesome!

  18. #18
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikingman View Post
    Awesome!
    I dunno about awesome. We recently climbed a steep pass on our loaded tandem where we breathed out together on every left downstroke, seated, ~53 cadence in the granny. Then we switched and breathed out together on every right downstroke. That was awesome. Probably about the limit for deep breathing technique.

  19. #19
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    Hi. I am Saurabh from India. About breathing... I inhale and exhale through the nose when doing low intensity. When doing high intensity stuff I inhale through the nose but exhale forcefully through the mouth in a way that I can get into a breathing rhythm.

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