Cycling requires a lot of oxygen, which is a valuable commodity. Pedalling boosts your metabolic rate, necessitating using a naturally occurring energy source known as ATP to keep you going. Because ATP requires oxygen in order to function, it follows that the harder you pedal, the more oxygen you will demand. As a result, you find yourself gasping for oxygen. So, what can you do to improve the efficiency with which oxygen is delivered to your muscles?
To keep things simple, if you want to improve your mountain biking endurance, you need a lot of practice and be consistent as much as you can to start seeing the difference!
Now you might be wondering what the perfect way to achieve it. Stay tuned until the end, and we will mention all the information you want to find out about how you can improve your endurance.
How do I increase my lung capacity for mountain biking?
The key to effective breathing when riding a bike is ensuring you get the most out of your lungs. To do this, do not sip the air; instead, take deep breaths. You’ll be able to utilise more of your lung capacity and begin to optimise your body’s ability to handle oxygen in this manner. You will have a peak aerobic fitness level unique to you, and when you reach it, you will have attained what is known as your VO2Max (maximum oxygen consumption). This is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use in a minute of activity.
It varies from one individual to the next when expressed in millilitres per kg of body weight. Most couch surfers have levels around 35, but passionate bikers might reach levels over 60. Elite athletes, on the other hand, achieve more enormous heights – for example, last year’s Tour de France champion Chris Froome’s performance was assessed at an absurdly high 84.6.
However, here are some practical tips to increase your lung capacity for mountain biking.
1. Keep your bike in the proper position
As we’ve seen, a healthy diaphragm is critical to maintaining good breathing when biking, so working to increase its range of motion is a top priority. This cannot be easy, especially if you’re leaning over the railings. If time trials are your thing, you’ll need to find a way to compromise between being aerodynamic and getting adequate oxygen around your body. Riding low on the bike restricts the amount of room available for your diaphragm to move.
Try different postures throughout a predetermined course to find out what works best for you. It goes without saying that the bike position is less of a concern for sportive cyclists who prefer to maintain a more upright stance when riding.
2. Take deep breaths from your stomach
Concentrate on breathing from your stomach rather than your lungs to get the most out of your diaphragm. Make sure you get this properly by placing your palm on the top of your tummy and feeling it bulge out when you breathe in. Your chest will raise as a result of feeling this and realising how well you did.
3. Experiment with zooming in and out
As a result, when Alexi Grewal became the first American to win gold in a road race at the 1984 Olympic Games, he ascribed his success to the tactic initially developed by US cycling expert Ian Jackson. As Jackson previously described, it works by emphasising the out-breath. ‘Instead of merely sucking in air and letting it out, try pushing the air out then letting it back in,’ he said.
After that, the University of Toledo put Jackson’s approach to the test and found that cyclists employed it had a 17 per cent increase in their aerobic capacity.
How many days a week should I mountain bike?
These sorts of rides are pretty stressful for your physical and emotional health. Therefore you should restrict them to 1-2 times per week. If you race, we recommend scheduling one of your “Hard Rides” on the same day of the week as your race to allow your body to become accustomed to the weekly routine.
Is it bad to mountain bike every day?
Biking has a strong addictive quality to it. Once you start to like it, you’ll be addicted for life. If you’ve just discovered the freeing sensation that biking may provide you and have decided to pedal every day, the issue of whether biking every day is good or harmful may emerge.
Biking daily is beneficial if done at the appropriate effort level and if your body has sufficient time to recuperate. Because of their training and racing intensity, competitive riders require recuperation days, but more leisure riders may continue to ride without taking time off.
Recovery days might consist of short, leisurely rides to help you recuperate if you ride at a high-intensity level. If you become over-exercised, take a break and, if in doubt, contact your doctor to give you the correct information and directions.
In addition, we have written a helpful article on how to prepare and what to eat before cycling a long distance, if you want to check it out later.
Should I breathe through my nose or mouth when cycling?
Cycling is a sport that requires proper breathing techniques, whether you’re into road cycling, mountain riding, BMX, or using a Peloton bike for your workouts. Humans are designed to breathe via their noses rather than their mouths. The same statement may be made when it comes to riding. Cycling and breathing are inextricably linked.
With its numerous health advantages, nasal breathing is the preferred style of breathing. It can also help you perform better on your next ride, allowing you to breathe more deeply. Nasal breathing provides protection that is not offered by mouth breathing. It purifies the air you breathe by removing germs, harmful particles, and bacteria from the atmosphere. However, it also helps to humidify the air you breathe.
According to research, nasal breathing can assist cyclists in maintaining endurance when riding steep inclines or for lengthy periods without overexerting oneself while on the bike.
Participants evaluated their performance in research on stationary bikes as they breathed through their noses and mouths. The data revealed that endurance increased considerably when nasal breathing was used instead of mouth breathing.
Concentrating on attentive breathing can improve performance. Even though our bodies usually execute breathing on autopilot, you should make an effort to focus on it now and then.
Summing up, we analysed everything related to mountain biking and improving endurance. There are many ways to do it, as we mentioned before. Also, it requires a lot of practice and hard work to strengthen your endurance. However, you have to give some time to your body to rest because, as you know, mountain biking is a demanding sport; you shouldn’t over-exercise because it leads to negative results instead of benefitting you. We hope you enjoyed our blog post as much as we did, and feel free to share it with your friends.