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Breathing Effort in Swimming
Competitive swimming is one of the ultimate challenges for breathing, as you have to inhale as much as possible in the shortest time possible, so that you can return your body to the optimal position for generating propulsive force. This creates an enormous strain on your inspiratory muscles (muscles used to inhale) and it is no surprise to find that as a swimmer you’ll experience significant fatigue of your breathing muscles.
Inspiratory Muscle Training:
- Increased swimming performance by up to 3.5%
- Improved inspiratory muscle strength by 31.2%
- Improved inspiratory muscle endurance by 27.8%
- Reduced whole body effort during exercise
- IMT improves 100 & 200 m swimming performance1
This challenge on your breathing muscles is worsened by the fact that when you are lying horizontally in the water, your breathing muscles are up to 16% weaker than when you’re upright - this means that they are less able to generate the forces needed to breathe in quickly. Furthermore, research has shown that fatigue of your breathing muscles reduces blood flow to your other exercising muscles i.e. your arms and legs, which can slow you down by reducing the flow of oxygen to those muscles.
Research on rowers and cyclists has shown that if you make your inspiratory muscles stronger by training them, you reduce the extent of the fatigue that is induced during heavy exercise, such as swimming - in fact it almost disappears completely. This research also showed that the performance of rowers and swimmers increases by up to 3.5%!
POWERbreathe training specifically targets the breathing muscles, strengthening them by around 30-50%, significantly improving performance and helping to eliminate breathing fatigue.
Warm-up with POWERbreathe for Swimmingshow
A POWERbreathe warm-up boosts your inspiratory muscle performance.
Research has shown that a standard pre-exercise warm-up routine fails to prepare the inspiratory muscles (breathing muscles) for the rigours of exercise1, and an inspiratory warm-up was shown to improve performance (in rowers)2.
More about POWERbreathe for warm-up can be found in our sports Training section.
Cool-down & recover with POWERbreathe for Swimmingshow
A POWERbreathe ‘cool-down’ can help to speed lactate clearance even more effectively than traditional active recovery strategies, helping you recover more rapidly and avoid breathing muscle fatigue.
Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil have found that breathing against a small inspiratory load immediately after exercise reduces lactate by 16%.1 What’s more, unlike a normal active recovery, which takes around five minutes to speed-up lactate clearance, inspiratory loading reduces lactate as soon as exercise stops. Furthermore, when using the inspiratory load, lactate concentration after just 5 minutes was equivalent to that achieved in 15 minutes during passive recovery.
More about POWERbreathe for cool-down can be found in our sports Training section.
Interval Training with POWERbreathe for Swimmingshow
Integrating POWERbreathe into your interval training will improve your respiratory endurance and hasten recovery.
More about POWERbreathe interval training can be found in our sports Training section.
Inspiratory Muscle Training
- Entraînement de la force des muscles inspiratoires chez le sujet sportif amateur (Inspiratory muscles strength training in recreational athletes)
- Inspiratory muscle training enhances pulmonary O2 uptake kinetics and high-intensity exercise tolerance in humans
- 1Inspiratory muscle training improves 100 and 200 m swimming performance
- Respiratory muscle training improves swimming endurance in divers.
- Resistive respiratory muscle training improves and maintains endurance swimming performance in divers.
- Respiratory muscle training improves swimming endurance at depth.
Warm-up and Cool-down
- Inspiratory resistive loading after all-out exercise improves subsequent performance.
- Effect of specific inspiratory muscle warm-up on intense intermittent run to exhaustion.
- Blood lactate during recovery from intense exercise: impact of inspiratory loading.
- Inspiratory muscle training reduces blood lactate concentration during volitional hyperpnoea.
Exercise-induced Inspiratory Muscle Fatigue
- Alterations in maximal inspiratory mouth pressure during a 400-m maximum effort front-crawl swimming trial.
- Influence of different breathing frequencies on the severity of inspiratory muscle fatigue induced by high-intensity front crawl swimming.
- Inspiratory muscle fatigue in swimmers after a single 200 m swim.
- Influence of environmental temperature on exercise-induced inspiratory muscle fatigue.
- Aerobic fitness effects on exercise-induced low-frequency diaphragm fatigue.
- Exercise-induced diaphragmatic fatigue in healthy humans.
- The effect of exercise modality on respiratory muscle performance in triathletes.
- A comparison of inspiratory muscle fatigue following maximal exercise in moderately trained males and females.
- Inspiratory muscles experience fatigue faster than the calf muscles during treadmill marching.
- Development of respiratory muscle contractile fatigue in the course of hyperpnoea.
- Inspiratory muscle training attenuates the human respiratory muscle metaboreflex.
- Development and evaluation of a pressure threshold inspiratory muscle trainer for use in the context of sports performance.
- Specificity and reversibility of inspiratory muscle training.
- Inspiratory muscle training: a simple cost-effective treatment for inspiratory stridor.
- Effects of respiratory muscle training on performance in athletes: a systematic review with meta-analyses
- Effect of Respiratory Muscle Training on Exercise Performance in Healthy Individuals: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
- Inspiratory muscle training and endurance: a central metabolic control perspective.
- Does training of respiratory muscles affect exercise performance in healthy subjects?
- Respiratory muscle energetics during exercise in healthy subjects and patients with COPD.
- Respiratory muscle training in healthy humans: resolving the controversy.
- Effects of concurrent inspiratory and expiratory muscle training on respiratory and exercise performance in competitive swimmers