Respiratory Muscle Activity During Simultaneous Stationary Cycling and IMT

Results revealed in a research paper published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning has revealed that “the combination of IMT and cycling may provide an additive training effect.”

The POWERbreathe KH1 Inspiratory Muscle Training Device was used in this research that looked at acute activation of the diaphragm and sternocleidomastoid in combination with cycling.

Research Paper:

Respiratory Muscle Activity During Simultaneous Stationary Cycling and Inspiratory Muscle Training 
Hellyer NJ, Folsom IA, Gaz DV, Kakuk AC, Mack J, Ver Mulm JA.
Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Dec 17. [Epub ahead of print]

Nathan Hellyer, PT, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at the Mayo Clinic’s College of Medicine.

Purpose of the Study:

To determine the effect of IMT (Inspiratory Muscle Training) on respiratory muscle EMG-activity during stationary cycling in the upright and drops postures as compared to IMT performed alone.


“We chose to use an IMT of 40% MIP so as to minimize inspiratory muscle fatigue. MIP was measured with an electronic IMT device (POWERbreathe KH1) that could then be set at a fixed training load of 40% MIP.”

… “The Mayo Institutional Review Board approved all methods and procedures, including the use of human subjects.”


“Previous studies have demonstrated that IMT at 50-80% intensity of MIP results in diaphragm strength and endurance gains (4, 6, 7). The present study explored whether combining a non-fatiguing IMT intensity (40% IMT) with cycling would significantly increase respiratory muscle recruitment and activity. In agreement with our hypothesis, we observed that IMT at 40% MIP plus cycling produces significantly greater EMG activity than IMT alone. This suggests that cycling plus IMT may provide an additive training effect as compared to traditional IMT training.”

Practical Applications:

“Cyclists can therefore use IMT while cycling as an additional method to train. This might be especially useful when a cyclist is limited in workload due to recovery from a lower extremity injury and desires to maintain respiratory fitness.”

Read the Abstract for ‘Respiratory Muscle Activity During Simultaneous Stationary Cycling and Inspiratory Muscle Training’ online.

Read more about incorporating POWERbreathe IMT into cycling training, or if you’re a cyclist and are already using POWERbreathe, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter pages. You can also read more about POWERbreathe and cycling training in the Blog’s Cycling category.

You can also find out in which research POWERbreathe was selected as the inspiratory muscle training device of choice on our POWERbreathe in Research page.

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