Professional football player uses POWERbreathe IMT during recovery

German professional footballer Jan Kirchhoff, playing for Premier League team Sunderland, is back on the football pitch after his knee surgery.

Football injury and fitness

The 3 month recovery period is a time when Jan is not able to train. As a result Jan became concerned about his fitness. But by keeping his breathing strength and stamina in condition he knows that he’ll be in a better position when it comes to returning to play. So Jan took up POWERbreathe K3 Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT).

Football player uses POWERbreathe K3

The POWERbreathe K3 IMT exercises Jan’s breathing muscles, mainly his diaphragm and intercostals. These muscles are difficult to specifically target and train. But not with POWERbreathe IMT. Jan simply breathes in through the device. The POWERbreathe K3 will automatically adapt to Jan’s training requirements. It does this by offering a tapered loading resistance to match the contraction curve of his breathing muscles throughout his entire breath. This enables him to complete a full breath and muscular contraction at an optimal resistance.

Why breathing is a challenge to football players

Football players are likely to cover about 10-12 km during the course of a match. And they’ll likely do it at an average intensity of 75-80% of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max.). They’ll also cruise for 30-90 seconds and sprint for 3-5 seconds throughout the 90 minutes of the game.

Most activity during a match will be sub-maximal, but Jan’s intermittent sprints will be supra-maximal. It’s this pattern of exertion that places extreme demands upon breathing because 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 will inevitably impair performance. Following a sprint a footballer’s breathing is driven to its highest level, inducing extreme breathlessness. And if the player is to continue to make an active and effective contribution to the game, their breathing must recover quickly. Inspiratory muscle training with POWERbreathe is proven to help a player recover more quickly.

Why strong breathing muscles are essential to a footballer

Fatigue of the breathing muscles can affect more than running ability, such as flexing the upper body during heading. But strong breathing muscles are also essential for the twisting and flexing movements of the trunk. They also make a contribution to stabilising and turning the body during kicking.

Strengthen breathing muscles with POWERbreathe IMT

POWERbreathe IMT is scientifically proven to improve breathing strength and stamina and reduce breathing muscle fatigue. In fact in tests IMT:

  • Accelerated recovery during repeated sprints by up to 7%
  • Improved inspiratory muscle strength by 31.2%
  • Improved inspiratory muscle endurance by 27.8%
  • Reduced whole body effort during exercise

Jan’s progress (March)

We are in contact with Jan, checking up on his progress, and since writing this blog he says,

“training is going really well. Breathing and football wise.  Just had a new record in each category yesterday.  Feel like I already have some benefit during football.  Thanks for your text and help.”