General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Faster with bilateral breathing? Rss Feed  
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2013-08-19 3:45 PM

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Subject: Faster with bilateral breathing?
This is an interesting finding for me recently. I started swimming a little over a year ago from scratch. I struggled for a long time as many do and found that I needed to breathe every 2nd stroke in order to get enough air. I switch the side I breathe on every length of the pool. Been swimming this way untiljust a few weeks ago. My left shoulder occasionaly bothers me which lead me to reading up on the swim smooth site. They said that this usually comes from lack of rotation. They suggest learning to breathe every 3 strokes. I started working on this since I am past the feeling like I am drowning stage. It took a few weeks to get the hang of but I got it down now. Not only does my shoulder feel better but I am faster too! I inadvertently did my usual 750 TT today. This is the distance I like to do once in a while at an all out effort. Today I did it without planning to so it was not an all out effort and I was 2 seconds faster than my previous pr for this distance. Anyway, I am pretty excited as it's been a while since I have had any new swim break throughs. Thanks for reading. This got a bit long. :-)


2013-08-19 4:01 PM
in reply to: desertchica

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Subject: RE: Faster with bilateral breathing?
Good work on the faster swim times. Some food for thought...

Breathe every 2 strokes versus every 3 strokes equals 50% more oxygen. When doing swims longer then 100's oxygen becomes quite essential as you move out of the anaerobic phase. However, breathing only to one side in triathlon can host several issues; muscle imbalances, swim zig-zagging, etc.

I recommend to bilateral breathe every 5, 10 strokes, while in races I breathe every 2nd stroke to keep the oxygen supply high, sometimes switching sides depending on buoy placement.
2013-08-19 4:12 PM
in reply to: bcagle25

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Subject: RE: Faster with bilateral breathing?
Originally posted by bcagle25

Good work on the faster swim times. Some food for thought...

Breathe every 2 strokes versus every 3 strokes equals 50% more oxygen. When doing swims longer then 100's oxygen becomes quite essential as you move out of the anaerobic phase. However, breathing only to one side in triathlon can host several issues; muscle imbalances, swim zig-zagging, etc.

I recommend to bilateral breathe every 5, 10 strokes, while in races I breathe every 2nd stroke to keep the oxygen supply high, sometimes switching sides depending on buoy placement.

Yes, I have wondered a bit about how this breathing every 3 strokes would work in a race. I won't be racing any time soon due to running injuries. Bleh! I imagine I would go back to breathing every 2nd stroke during a race. I like that I have lots of options now. During my recent training swims, I sometimes go back to one sided breathing for a few extra breaths when needed. Then switch back to bilateral. Kinda fun. Now I need to start doing flip turns!
2013-08-19 5:05 PM
in reply to: desertchica


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Subject: RE: Faster with bilateral breathing?
I've been working on my weak-side breathing (5-7sec/100 slower than my strong side) and I'm finding that I'm getting faster on both sides. Unfortunately, the gap between the sides remains, despite swimming exclusively with my weak-side breathing for 2 months.

Ultimately on race day, you'll be better served by getting as much oxygen as possible. Sun Yang takes it to extremes and coming off the wall, sometimes throws in three breaths in a row (yup, Right-left-right breath - I get crazy dizzy when I try that!)
2013-08-19 9:05 PM
in reply to: bcagle25

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Subject: RE: Faster with bilateral breathing?
Originally posted by bcagle25

I recommend to bilateral breathe every 5, 10 strokes, while in races I breathe every 2nd stroke to keep the oxygen supply high, sometimes switching sides depending on buoy placement.


What does bilateral breathe every 5, 10 strokes mean?

2013-08-19 10:41 PM
in reply to: Goosedog

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Subject: RE: Faster with bilateral breathing?
5 breathes to the left then 5 to the right, repeat.


2013-08-19 10:45 PM
in reply to: bcagle25

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Subject: RE: Faster with bilateral breathing?
Originally posted by bcagle25

5 breathes to the left then 5 to the right, repeat.


Thanks. I totally misread that as breathe every 5/10 strokes.


2013-08-20 4:55 AM
in reply to: Goosedog

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Subject: RE: Faster with bilateral breathing?
Never had a problem with breathing on one side until my first 2.4 OWS. Right side wore out and I started swimming in circles. I still struggle with bi-lateral breathing. Any tips to keep that desperately de-oxygenatated feeling at bay?
2013-08-20 11:41 AM
in reply to: Batcheldor

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Subject: RE: Faster with bilateral breathing?

Originally posted by Batcheldor Never had a problem with breathing on one side until my first 2.4 OWS. Right side wore out and I started swimming in circles. I still struggle with bi-lateral breathing. Any tips to keep that desperately de-oxygenatated feeling at bay?
I used to only be able to do about 100 yards before the oxygen deficit became too much. I tried a few times to switch to bilateral but just couldn't do it - then I signed up for a Masters class.

My Masters coach really wanted me to stick with bilateral because he said my stroke was so much longer, smoother and more balanced.  He started me out doing half the shorter sets (less than 200 yds) bilateral and half one-sided.  For instance, I'd do a 100yds at 90% effort breathing on one side, and then to a recovery 100 yds at 60% effort bilateral.  After a couple of months, I was doing them all bilateral without the oxygen deficit.  After a couple of more months, I was doing long distances bilateral and it was so natural that it felt like I was hyperventilating when I took breaths every two strokes on one side.

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