Relation between pedalling- and breathing rhythm

  • J. Kohl
  • E. A. Koller
  • M. JÄger


The relationship between pedalling- and breathing rhythm was studied in 34 medical students (“non-cyclists”) and 10 racing cyclists on an electromagnetic bicycle-ergometer, the effective work load of which (50 W, 100 W, 150 W, 200 W) was independent of the pedalling rate. The criteria used were integer p/b ratios (pedalling rate being a multiple of breathing frequency) and phase coupling (the breathing phases starting preferentially at a certain angle of the pedalling cycle).

Unconsciously occurring coordination of pedalling and breathing rhythm was found in the majority of the test persons; 70%–100% of the racing cyclists, 50%–63% of the regularly breathing and 25%–33% of the irregularly breathing non-cyclists showed integer p/b ratios. This tendency decreased with increasing work load. Phase coupling was even more frequent than integer p/b ratios and was not affected by increasing work load. The majority of racing cyclists (unlike the non-cyclists) coupled the inspiration-onset with the onset of either the left or the right leg movement. Expiratory phase coupling, however, was analogous in all groups; expiration began preferentially at mid-contraction of either leg.

The results are discussed in terms of relative (nervous) coordination. It is concluded that the tendency to coordination between pedalling- and breathing rhythm increases with pedalling training and with regularity of breathing.

Key words

Pedalling- and breathing rhythm Relative coordination Regulation of breathing Ergometer exercise 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Kohl
    • 1
  • E. A. Koller
    • 1
  • M. JÄger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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