The phrase 'use it or lose it' applies equally well to the inspiratory muscles as it does to your leg muscles. Everyone becomes lazy at some point and a classic example is using the lift because you get out of breath using the stairs. If this is you then you don't realise it but your inspiratory muscles are getting less exercise.
Most clinical trials that have focused on IMT have all returned positive results. These results indicated that IMT improves sports performance in swimmers, rowers and runners (source: Volianitis et al, 2001; Klusiewicz et al, 2008; Riganas et al, 2008) cyclists (Romer et al, 2002a; Romer et al, 2002b), and swimmers (Kilding et al, 2010; Wells et al, 2005; Mickleborough et al, 2008).
Not only were clinical trials conducted on sports professionals but they were also conducted on people who had respiratory conditions such as COPD, asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, anyone who has heart disease or a lung disorder or anyone who suffers shortness of breath. From all the studies conducted the end result was the same - inspiratory muscle training using a breathing trainer provides the following benefits:
- Reduction in dyspnoea during exercise in athletes and during light exercise for respiratory patients.
- Reduced medication and improved quality of life in people with respiratory illness.
- Increased endurance in patients with improvements in some lung function.
Improves rowing performance
As soon as you introduce IMT into your rowing programme you will notice the benefits almost immediately. Rowing requires you to use your breathing muscles. By using a breathing trainer the rower is able to control their breathing pattern as well as improve their intercostal muscle function.
Improves running performance
Runners who use a breathing trainer will find it allows them to maintain a deeper, slower breathing pattern while also enhancing their core stability and improving their overall postural control when running.
Improves cycling performance
Using a breathing trainer for cycling is very effective. Inspiratory muscle training will improve breathing and improve the cyclist's ability to maintain a correct breathing pattern. Regular training with a breathing trainer will also allow the inspiratory muscles to operate comfortably in the most extreme of cycling positions.
Using a breathing trainer for inspiratory muscle training can enhance the overall function of the breathing muscles for anyone who participates in high performance sports such as football, rowing and cycling. However, if you suffer from any respiratory illnesses such as COPD or asthma, then a breathing training device is a great supplementary COPD treatment aid.