How and When to Breathe While Riding Your Dirt Bike?


Breathing…you do it 24/7, every second of everyday, and you don’t even realize it. You’d think you would be a pro at it by now, but I guaranty you that you’re doing it all wrong when riding your dirt bike, and I know you even stop breathing all together as well without realizing it! I know this because I do the same thing when I’m riding, and so do all the Pro, Amateur and Beginner riders as well. Do you ever wonder why mechanics always write “BREATHE” on the rider’s pit boards? It’s to remind us knuckle heads to breathe because they know we often forget to do just that, breathe…

You might ask yourself how you can forget to breathe

It’s actually pretty simple, you’re already thinking of so many things when riding, like shifting, braking, standing up and sitting down at the right time, bumps and ruts you want to avoid, and on top of all that throw in the fact that you’re hanging on for dear life and that your heart rate is close to its maximum and you’ve got your answer….all the above gets even worse when you’re in a race because you now have to worry about the guys behind you and the ones in front of you, plus the stress and anxiety you put on yourself!

Teach yourself to breath correctly and at the right time

It is very important that you teach yourself to breathe correctly during a race, and it’s something you can practice during the week every time you ride your bike. Not breathing correctly – or enough – will wear you down much quicker because your muscles need oxygen to function correctly and stay strong. If you forget to breathe, you will build up acid lactate much quicker and your arms and legs will start burning before you know it. Your heart rate will also get much higher much quicker, and you will be completely exhausted after a few laps.

So how and when should you breathe?

There aren’t many areas on a track where you can take a deep breathe and regroup, but the best one is during a jump. Jumps are great for 2 reasons: they allow you to rest and take a deep breath at the same time! Obviously the bigger the jump the better, as you need to do both while flying through the air. You need to make a mental note in your head of all the jumps on the tracks, and think of them as “Triggers Points” where you will take a deep breath and try to relax your muscles. As soon as you take off, start taking a really deep breath and try to relax, hold it in for half a second, then let it out as you’re landing. Remember to do that on all the biggest jumps on the track and you’ll see how much of a difference it makes!

Are jumps the only place where I can take a breath?

No, jumps aren’t the only places where you can take a breath; they’re just the best and easiest areas to do it. The other area to take a deep breath on a race track is on a long straightaway. Obviously, the smoother the surface the better it is to relax and think about breathing, so don’t try to do it on a straight full of gnarly bumps and ruts for example. If the surface is smooth enough, you can pretty much go through the whole straightaway sitting on your seat, with your butt towards the rear of the seat to apply as much traction as possible to your rear tire. The will allow you to relax and rest, all while taking a deep breath, and regroup before the next turn. But as you can imagine, there won’t be very many smooth straightaway’s where you can take a deep breath, so they should only be your “backup” plan, in case you forgot to do it on the last jump for example.

That’s it for today’s tip on breathing correctly and at the right time while riding your dirt bike, I hope this will help you in your riding and if you have any questions on the subject, don’t hesitate to ask me using the comments form at the bottom of the page. Good luck!