Turner Twins prepare for Mt Elbrus in Russia with POWERbreathe

Actually there’s a bit more to it than that. Ross and Hugo Turner are twin brothers who both share an interest in combining pioneering medical research and unique studies of historic expeditions. You’ve probably seen them on TV as they’ve filmed for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

But Ross and Hugo will be climbing with a difference, and not with just the objective of reaching the summit! Hugo will be wearing and taking traditional clothing and equipment used by mountaineers 100 years ago, while Ross will be wearing and taking the contemporary equivalent.

Because they’re twins, researchers have the unique opportunity to directly compare themselves against each other and see how each reacts given their different clothing and equipment, with research carried out (pre and post expedition) by King’s College London’s, Department of Twin Research and GlaxoSmithKline’s, Human Performance Lab.

As their next challenge is to climb Mt Elbrus in Russia 5,642m (18,510ft) – a challenge taken on to help them prepare for high altitude and their ultimate goal of climbing Mt Cho Oyu (8,201m, 26,906 ft) – they realized that part of their preparation should really include some breathing training, specifically inspiratory muscle training (IMT) with POWERbreathe.

Preparing for high altitude with POWERbreathe IMT

Because the air contains less oxygen and becomes ‘thinner’ the higher they’ll climb, the more Ross and Hugo will notice the enormous demands placed on their breathing, and their breathing muscles in particular. Their lungs will have to work much harder to compensate for the thinner air, so the stronger their breathing muscles are before the climb, the better off they’ll be.

By training their inspiratory muscles before hand with POWERbreathe, they’ll lessen the increase in effort associated with ascending to a higher altitude, and they’ll also reduce the impairment of their breathing strength which is induced by an ascent to high altitude. In fact,

Inspiratory Muscle Training1:

  • Reduces oxygen requirement of exercise in simulated altitude by 8-12%
  • Reduces cardiac output requirement of exercise in simulated altitude by 14%
  • Reduces breathing requirement of exercise in simulated altitude by 25%
  • Increases arterial oxygen saturation by 4%
  • Increases lung diffusing capacity by 4%
  • Reduces perceived exertion
  • Reduces breathlessness

1 Effects of inspiratory muscle training on exercise responses in normoxia and hypoxia

Ross and Hugo’s expeditions raise money for charity, in particular for Spinal Research, which is close to the twins’ heart following Hugo’s broken neck in which he narrowly missed being paralysed.

You can find out more about the Turner Twins on their website, Facebook and Twitter, and we will of course keep you updated with news. Finally we’d like to wish good luck to both Ross and Hugo who have arrived at Mineralyne Vody in Russia, their base camp.

Ross' feedback on the Turner Twins' POWERbreathe training (September 2015):

‘The POWERbreathe allowed us to train in a way that was in-expensive, appropriate and the best in the market for mountaineering adventure (without actually training at altitude). It was easy enough to take travelling and use every day while allowing any level of cardiac fitness you wanted. This POWERbreathe was perfect for Mt Elbrus as the mountain had glacial rubble and ice - two very different terrains that affected the cardiac system in different ways. With more adventures coming that are not at altitude, we will carry on using the POWERbreathe as it is a great way to train the body in a very advantageous way so you can perform comfortably while working hard on expeditions.’

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