It’s All in the Tongue

Let me start off by saying there is no scientific proof or any cycling research that has been done on this one, but what I’m about to share with you just might pull you through some tough riding.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been subconsciously using a little breathing technique at times when I’m out for a ride.  It seems like it kicks in when I’m really pushing it and need a little kick to get me through.  It just sort of became something that I started doing, but I’m telling you….it really seems to help me catch my breath and give me the energy I need to keep going.

I’ve never researched it so, who knows…maybe this is actually something that athletes actually do. But I’ve never heard of anyone else doing this, so for now I’ll patent it as my own.

Okay, enough with the rambling….here it is.  If you’re looking for something to give your lungs and body the extra push it needs when out suffering on a ride, give this a try.

“The Loving the Bike Secret Tongue Breathing Technique”

It’s hard to see what I’m actually doing in this picture, so let me give you the run down.  There’s really not much to it. Simply curl up your tongue so that the tip is touching the back of your top two front teeth, and be sure to keep your mouth open slightly.  Breath in and out through your mouth for a little while….Yep, that’s it.

My reasoning for why it works is because the wind is absorbed through the bottom of the tongue and this hot spot sends it instantly to the rest of your body. Hey, but don’t go knocking holes in my theory….I’ve got nothing to back that up.  Maybe it’s psychological….maybe I actually stumbled upon something that will create a better cyclist.  I’m not sure.  But I do know that I catch myself doing this on pretty much every single ride, and I can totally see an instant change in the way I feel.

Give it a try and let me know if it works for you as well. 

  • VitaminLee

    Gotta try that, it’s weird but sometimes I think I forget to breathe when I’m concentrating hard on keeping proper form. Cool photo btw- I think that that’s your shadow being re-reflected in your sunglasses (along w/the photog).

  • Clive Chapman

    When I’m working really hard up a hill I run my tongue over my bottom lip. It definately gives me a power boost. No doubt about it…

    • Loving the Bike

      The connections between us, just don’t stop now do they? Seems like we’ve got a lot in common.


  • Robert

    I do this sometimes, too. I have no idea why. But it doesn’t seem to make any difference in the way I feel, except that my tongue feels colder. :)

  • austincyclist

    oh, I get it, your riding partners look over at you doing that, they start laughing, and you attack!

    I do a little running technique with breathing that I’ll sometimes do on tough climbs on the bike.. it consists of two inhales in connection to pedal rhythm or running step rhythm followed by one large exhale.. the next 2 inhales again must coincide with pedal stroke or running steps again.. etc.. repeat… it kinda breaks the pain of the effort for a while..

    You gotta wonder if swimming helps the breathing and lung capacity for a cyclist.. as you’re forced to delay each breath.. kinda like high altitude training? dunno..

    • Loving the Bike

      Hey, that’s another side bonus of the technique…I’ve never tried it. But next time I’me with some guys I’ll make sure they watch me do and then sprint off when they start laughing.


      • austincyclist

        One other thought on the breathing technique I mentioned (not to steal the thunder from yours, as hey, you can do both at the same time!), by doing two quick inhales in conjunction with the pedal stroke, and granted it should be at a high cadence / hard effort.. my thought (and nothing to back this up) is that you’re in rhythm with your other muscles instead of fighting them, maybe even using those muscles momentum to help you breath.. and thus overall you’re using less energy.. which as we all know, is the ticket.

  • Tim

    Did you have a crash and hit your head recently?

    • Darryl

      What….do you think I’m crazy or something. Hahahahaha. I’m telling you, man… really helps.

      • Tim


        I’ll have to try it. After I learn how to make turns again.

    • bikerly

      wha ha ha ha! That was a good one :))