What You Aren’t Training for Endurance

It’s almost the end of an airdyne workout or a long run. You feel completely exhausted and your legs are burning. Try as you might to keep pushing you have to stop and take a break. Your legs are tired out right? You just haven’t trained them enough?

Actually the cause of your energy depletion and leg fatigue could be from failing to train totally different muscles. Muscles we tend to ignore quite a bit.

How You Fatigue

Remember the main source of energy for our bodies comes from Oxygen. Therefore when we are working out our goal is to keep the Oxygen coming in while holding on to enough Carbon Dioxide to actually be able to use the Oxygen. At the same time as the intensity of workouts increases we also want to be able to blow off plenty of CO2 because we will begin creating much more than we need (this leads to lactic acid which we will discuss another time).

You use specific muscles to bring the air into your body for refueling Oxygen. You also use muscles to blow the air back out shedding the extra CO2. The primary driver for pulling in the air is your diaphragm and to exhale your power comes from your abdominals, obliques, and pelvic floor.

Because you have not likely trained these muscles as often as others they are more likely to be the first to fatigue. When they do it doesn’t matter how much you have worked out your legs. They will not be getting the Oxygen they need and will fill with Lactic Acid. If you want to build great endurance and fitness you have to work on the strength and endurance of these breathing muscles.

Breath Muscle Exercises

Back Breathing:

Lay on your back and place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. As you breath in imagine there is a balloon in your belly that you are filling up. Begin by filling that balloon with each inhale allowing no movement in your chest. Next begin to focus on filling your abdomen up to the point that you feel pressure below your lower back into the ground. Simply let the exhales fall away. Begin by doing this for sets of 1:00.

Maximum Expansive Breathing

Set up similar to the back breathing. Lay on your back with a hand on your chest and belly. Again fill up the “balloon” in your belly with each breath, but now extend that inhale to truly get as much air in as possible. You should feel pressure into the hand on your abdomen, into the floor, and out your sides under your ribs.

Next begin forcefully exhaling. Drive the air out as if ringing out a towel. Squeeze your abs and obliques. Continue squeezing the air out and engage your pelvic floor lifting up with the muscles in your groin to get as much air out as possible. Try this for 4 sets of 4 breaths to get started.

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