Your breathing can often be a limiting factor as you exercise, reducing your sports performance. It can let you down, preventing you from performing at your best as you stop to ‘catch your breath’. Consequently, breathing muscle training is a discipline elite coaches include to improve athletes’ breathing muscle strength and stamina. In fact, by performing breathing muscle training, an athlete’s breathing muscles will fatigue far less. As a result, athletes are able to continue with their training for longer before breathing exhaustion strikes. Consequently, the athlete’s sports performance improves.
How to Improve Your Sports Performance
Breathing muscles, the inspiratory muscles, play a vital role in the efficiency of breathing during exercise. Additionally, as you age the strength of your inspiratory muscles starts to reduce, even if you’re fit.
It is when you move out of your ‘comfort zone’ and you’re working above your lactate threshold that your breathing starts to increase steeply. You will perceive this as breathlessness, as your inspiratory muscle work increases.
To help prevent this from limiting your training sessions and ultimately your performance, it is beneficial to strengthen your inspiratory muscles. In order to do this, you must subject your breathing to a training stimulus.
Aerobic exercise can help to provide a training benefit to your inspiratory muscles, but it is not targeted and therefore sufficient enough.
Research shows that specific inspiratory muscle training:
- Improves inspiratory muscle strength by 31.2%
- Increases inspiratory muscle endurance by 27.8%
- Accelerates recovery during repeated sprints by up to 7%
- Reduces whole body effort during exercise
Therefore, by training your inspiratory muscles daily with an inspiratory muscle training (IMT) device such as POWERbreathe:
- You'll experience an increase in resistance to fatigue - this will become apparent as you find yourself exercising for longer with less effort
- Your breathing efficiency will improve - this is because your lungs will require less oxygen for the purpose of breathing, allowing more delivery to your other working muscles, such as your arms and legs
The result of these adaptations is an increase in sports performance.