This brief overview about your breathing system explains what physically happens when you breathe, as well as, what controls your breathing. It also looks at your respiratory system and the muscles you use for breathing. Furthermore, it highlights how breathing training with POWERbreathe IMT has a positive effect on your breathing muscles, by increasing their strength, power and endurance.
The Breathing System
Your respiratory system comprises of tissues and organs that help you to breathe. The main part of your system is your airways, your lungs and blood vessels, and the muscles that enable you to breathe.
Your airways consist of your nose, mouth, larynx, trachea, bronchial tubes and bronchi. Not only do your airways carry oxygen-rich air to your lungs, but they also carry away the waste gas carbon dioxide.
As air enters your nose or mouth, it wets and warms it before it travels down your larynx (voicebox) and into your trachea (windpipe). This splits into two bronchial tubes which enter your lungs. Your lungs then divide into five main sections called lobes.
Muscles of your breathing system
Your breathing muscles include your diaphragm, intercostals, abdominals and muscles in your neck and collarbone area (the accessory muscles). The main muscles of respiratory fit around the lungs like semi-rigid bellows.
Muscles that are helpful in expanding the thoracic cavity are called the inspiratory muscles because they help in inhalation, while those that compress the thoracic cavity are called expiratory muscles and they induce exhalation.
Your diaphragm is the main muscle you use for breathing. It is a dome-like shape and located below your lungs, separating your chest cavity from your abdominal cavity. As you breathe in, your diaphragm contracts and draws air in. Breathing out is more passive, with the rib cage and chest wall relaxing and returning to their original position. There is an exception to this however, and that is during high exertion which is when you recruit your accessory expiratory muscles.
Your intercostals are also primary inspiratory muscles and these are found between your ribs. Like the diaphragm, they also play a major role in helping you to breathe.
How POWERbreathe IMT improves your breathing muscle strength
POWERbreathe IMT is a drug-free, hand-held breathing training device. The medical term for this type of breathing training is Inspiratory Muscle Training, or IMT. POWERbreathe IMT exercises the main muscles you use to breathe in, primarily your diaphragm and intercostals.
How it does this is by using the principles of resistance training. You breathe in against an adjustable resistance which strengthens your inspiratory breathing muscles by making them work harder. It works in much the same way as dumbbells do for increasing the strength of your biceps. In fact, POWERbreathe IMT is often termed, “dumbbells for your diaphragm”. As you inhale through POWERbreathe against the resistance you notice that you have to work harder to breathe in. When you breathe out there is no resistance. You simply exhale as you do normally, allowing your chest and breathing muscles to relax and naturally push air out of your lungs.
The benefits of breathing training with POWERbreathe IMT can be shown in sport and fitness, in the performing arts for musicians, singers and dancers, for health and medical conditions, and in the uniformed services.