Inspiratory muscle training improves exercise tolerance in recreational soccer players

The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published online (for a limited time ahead of print) a study that investigated whether the addition of IMT (Inspiratory Muscle Training) to an existing programme of pre-season soccer training would augment performance indices such as exercise tolerance and sports specific performance beyond the use of pre-season training alone.

The study concluded that there may be benefit for soccer players to incorporate IMT to their pre-season training, but the effect is not conclusive.

Inspiratory muscle training improves exercise tolerance in recreational soccer players without concomitant gain in soccer specific fitness

Guy, Joshua H.; Edwards, Andrew M. PhD; Deakin, Glen B. PhD

Abstract

This study investigated whether the addition of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) to an existing programme of pre-season soccer training would augment performance indices such as exercise tolerance and sports-specific performance beyond the use of pre-season training alone.

Thirty one adult males were randomised across three groups: experimental (EXP: n=12), placebo (PLA: n=9), and control (CON: n=10). EXP and PLA completed a 6-week pre-season programme (two x weekly sessions) in addition to concurrent IMT with either a IM training load (EXP) or negligible (PLA) inspiratory resistance. CON did not use an IMT device or undertake soccer training.

All participants performed the following tests before and after the 6-week period: Standard spirometry; maximal inspiratory mouth pressure (MIP); multi stage fitness test (MSFT) and a soccer specific fitness test (SSFT).

Following 6-weeks training, EXP significantly improved: MIP (P=0.002); MSFT distance covered (P=0.02); and post SSFT blood lactate (BLa) (P=0.04). No other outcomes from the SSFT were changed. Pre to post training performance outcomes for PLA and CON were unchanged. These findings suggest the addition of IMT to pre-season soccer training improved exercise tolerance (MSFT distance covered) but had little effect on soccer specific fitness indices beyond a slightly reduced post-training SSFT BLa.

In conclusion, there may be benefit for soccer players to incorporate IMT to their pre-season training but the effect is not conclusive. It is likely that a greater pre-season training stimulus would be particularly meaningful for this population if fitness gains are a priority and also evoke a stronger IMT response.
(C) 2013 National Strength and Conditioning Association

Read more about why you should consider incorporating POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training as part of your football training, and if you’re already using POWERbreathe as part of your training, or are using it in football training drills, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum as we’d love to hear from you. You can also read more about using POWERbreathe for endurance training on our Blog.

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