Benefits Of Inspiratory Only vs Inspiratory And Expiratory Muscle Training

With research papers and meta-analyses having shown the scientific benefits of training your inspiratory muscles with POWERbreathe for fitness and sports, health and lifestyle and medical issues related to breathing problems, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to think then that training your expiratory muscles as well would be better still. Research to date however has yet to show this to be the case.

In a carefully conducted study on rowers, ‘The influence of inspiratory and expiratory muscle training upon rowing performance’ both the independent and combined effects of inspiratory and expiratory muscle training were compared.

No effect of expiratory muscle training upon performance was found during the study, and when inspiratory and expiratory muscle training were combined (inhale/exhale training), addition of the expiratory training impaired the effects of inspiratory training. In another study in swimmers using this inhale/exhale training, ‘Effects of concurrent inspiratory and expiratory muscle training on respiratory and exercise performance in competitive swimmers’ no change in swimming performance was found either after this type of training.

Both these studies indicate that inhale/exhale training is LESS effective than inspiratory muscle training alone.

Work Of Breathing - Figure 1 above:

The figure shown at the top of this blog illustrates the changes in breathing muscle contraction force and the resulting changes in lung volume at rest (red loop) and exercise (orange loop). The area below the dashed line (green) represents the amount of inspiratory muscle work and the area above the dashed line (blue), the amount of expiratory muscle work.

As the figure illustrates, at rest, all breathing muscle work is inspiratory.

During exercise it is clear that inspiratory muscle work is much higher than expiratory muscle work (as represented by the orange area on green compared with the orange area on blue).

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