Craig Smith, Head of Sports Science at Northampton Town Football Club (NTFC) invited POWERbreathe to talk about the benefits of inspiratory muscle training for his team.
Strong breathing muscles are more resistant to fatigue - something that would be hugely beneficial to footballer players who have to cope with intermittent sprinting during a match where their breathing is driven to its highest level, inducing breathlessness.
Although between these bursts of energy players will cruise, they still need to have the stamina to get them through the game, and therefore their breathing needs to recover quickly. This pattern of cruising and then sprinting places extreme demands on their breathing, as these activities are anaerobic and generate high levels of lactic acid. Lactic acid stimulates breathing to increase as part of a compensatory strategy to overt fatigue of other muscles, such as the legs, which inevitably will impair performance.
Stronger breathing muscles are also essential for twisting and flexing the trunk and make a contribution to stabilising and turning a player’s body during kicking, as well as flexing the upper body during heading, so fatigue of the breathing muscles can affect more than a player's running ability. Inspiratory muscle training with POWERbreathe is scientifically proven to improve breathing strength and stamina.
Several of the Northampton Town Football Club’s substitute players have been using POWERbreathe on match days to warm-up their breathing muscles so that they avoid breathlessness from the start of the match. Since they’ve been using it they’ve been tested again using the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Links software to see if using POWERbreathe has helped improve their physical condition and recovery after bouts of sprinting. And as for the squad, well according to Craig, they’ve seen results!
As well as helping footballers and soccer players recover more quickly, POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training can be used as part of a pre-match and pre-substitution warm-up. By warming-up their breathing muscles before they go on the pitch, the sense of increased breathing effort and breathlessness experienced during the first few minutes of activity can be avoided.
And when POWERbreathe is used as a ‘cool-down’ it helps to speed lactate clearance more effectively than traditional active recovery strategies. Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil discovered that breathing against a small inspiratory load immediately after exercise reduces lactate by 16%. Also, unlike a normal active recovery (which usually takes approximately 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.
Read more about why POWERbreathe should be an essential component of football training, or if you’re a football player and are already using POWERbreathe, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook page or Twitter as we’d love to hear about how you’ve benefited from this breathing training.