A new original article in the Porto Biomedical Journal looks into the influence of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) in female basketball players.
Female basketball players and inspiratory muscle fatigue (IMF)
This new randomised controlled trial from Portugal explains how IMF may impede a basketball player’s performance. When the inspiratory muscles fatigue blood flow to the player’s legs, arms and torso are compromised. This affects performance.
Respiratory work and breathing perception
As a player throws or passes a ball they are engaging their upper torso and trunk muscles. They are also engaging their diaphragm as they try to stabilise their core muscles. As a result this increases respiratory work and breathing perception. Consequently the breathing muscles (inspiratory muscles) fatigue.
Benefits of inspiratory muscle training (IMT)
Scientific studies show that IMT increases an athlete's tolerance to high intensity exercise. It does this by enhancing pulmonary oxygen consumption. In fact wheelchair players report an improvement in performance, as do swimmers.
The influence of IMT in basketball players
The randomised controlled trial investigates this influence of Inspiratory Muscle Training by randomly assigning professional basketball players to the experimental group (EG) or control group (CG).
Players from the EG perform Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) with POWERbreathe. This consists of 30 breaths, five times a week over four weeks. However the CG do not perform any IMT using POWERbreathe.
The EG group show an increase in pulmonary function, which is how well the lungs are working.
Additional benefits of using POWERbreathe for IMT
Findings also suggest that the cost of implementing POWERbreathe IMT is relatively small. Therefore different basketball clubs can implement this intervention with the objective of improving each players’ pulmonary function.
Finally the trial concludes that a 4-week IMT protocol leads to a positive evolution of basketball players’ pulmonary function. Furthermore the results suggest that the applied IMT protocol is effective.