This week I haven't managed to get in the pool unfortunately and so I've had to compensate my training with increasing other areas to continue the progression I've seen. Importantly keeping up the POWERbreathe training at resistance 3 is very important for fitness and breathing function. I find that with the increased resistances such as 3 and higher the body is under quite a lot of strain when trying to suck the air through the POWERbreathe device, but with good technique what I find happens is that multiple muscle groups are recruited to help the body to breathe, this is a natural response of the body as it knows that the same resistance spread across multiple muscles will make it easier. So not only do the inter-costal muscles and diaphragm become engaged but also the core and some back muscles too.
For me, this is important because I find I get a much more engaging and thorough workout when using my POWERbreathe, so when I hit the pool and I require vast amounts of air to be breathed in at high rates, I am able to cope as my whole body and core are able to work together to help the breathing process. Apart from the inter-costals and diaphragm, these other muscles don't actually directly contribute to the breathing process but they act as synergists (I'll have to check that term but I think that is what it's called) which means that by them contracting and or tensing they help link the body together and connect it in order to cope with the strain. It's similar if you were to pick up something heavy, the main muscle groups will be in your legs, however you will notice that all of your arms, core and back muscles tense up as well - this is because they are helping to connect the body so there are no soft or weak areas. The point I'm trying to make is that this principle which applies to my POWERbreathe training has a massive effect. I noticed a slight increase in the definition of certain muscles in the core when I started and also with regular use it helps to strengthen my torso in certain areas I find, due to the fact that I am working on higher resistances on the hardest level of my POWERbreathe.
I'm not saying this is fact, but it's a perceived observation that I have noticed. To come back to having to increase other areas of my training due to not having been able to get in the pool this week, I've done extra sessions of Pilates. I've been doing 2-2.5hour sessions, made up of 1.5 hours of core work mostly all based on Pilates and then some rehabilitation exercises given to me by my physiotherapist, then 1 hour of a full body intensive stretch. The core exercises were as follows: bent knee leg raises, shoulder bridge with leg raise combo, full body curl-ups, superman's, alternate arm and leg raises on front, hamstring leg curl-ups lying down, side leg raises with double leg combo, set of 3x 1 minute straight arm planks, knee to arm touches in straight arm plank position, 1 minute 15second hold of pike position, back raises, side knee raises, tricep press ups, regular press ups, alternate elbow to knee touch crunches with alternate extended leg combo. Finally I stretched my arms and legs in every direction and loosened off my torso, I did most of the well known and some speciality stretches. By the end of the session I felt amazing, because my back had no strain or tension in it as it had all been worked out through the Pilates, and with the stretching I got out those last few knotted areas. Although it seems like a lot of hard work, I fully recommend it as you will feel amazing afterwards!