I have been injured for the past week, so in terms of any improvements, they are based on my experiences in the preceding few weeks.
I have to be honest at the outset; I first tried powerbreathe (the red model) some 4 years ago, when I was rowing far more competitively than I am at present. I am mildly asthmatic and my coach believed that it would help both with my lung capacity and rowing.
Unfortunately I really didn't get on with the device then - I found it hurt my intercostal muscles when I used it, even on the lowest settings, worse still I usage aggravated my lungs and I believed usage was a contributing factor to triggering chest infections, from which I used to suffer from regularly. Now clearly that could have been due to a number of factors including over training - but suffice it to say I stopped using it.
So it was with some trepidation that I began using my Iron Girl model recently! I have to say, probably because I started as advised on zero - I have had none of the problems I had previously in terms of usage.
Initially I had to break up the 30 breaths into 3 x 10 with a couple of breathers in between and now it is 2x 15. If I do the powerbreathe exercises before I row, I tend to start my warm up, use the power breathe in between and then finish my warm up. I definitely think it helps to open my lungs out and whether or not my rowing session is a good one, I definitely feel it helps in the warm up process - lungs expanded and ready to go - which in turn gives me confidence going into whatever rowing piece I may do next.
In terms of increased performance for me it is too early to say. I am really only just increasing my rowing in readiness for Boston. And in general I have been recently diagnosed as severely anaemic and my thyroid levels have been way out to boot! (I have been on the same dose for 18 years following a thyroid operation). I have only been put on new supplements in the past week. My hope is that as my energy/training increases with the help of the powerbreathe, I will see massive improvements in my general and rowing specific fitness. Watch this space!