TUEs in endurance athletes such as swimming

Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) allow an athlete to take medication on WADA’s Prohibited List when competing.

TUEs in the news

TUEs have become a hot topic as a result of the cyber attack leaking WADA data on 29 athletes. It was just after the Rio Olympics. Selected athletes’ medical records are being hacked into by a group from Russia calling themselves Fancy Bears. They were hacking into the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (Adams) database. This stores athletes laboratory results, anti-doping rule violations and therapeutic use exemption (TUE) authorisations.

What’s the big deal about TUEs

It is this data hacking into TUEs that is opening our eyes to the number of elite athletes being given permission to use them. It is raising doubt about their use in ‘fair’ competition. People are asking if they are really needed, and if not, are they providing athletes with a performance edge? In fact Dr Ross Tucker refers to the prevalence of corticosteroid use. Athletes will be given this if they experience breathing problems. It is however also considered to be performance-enhancing.

Breathing is an issue in many athletes

The most common breathing condition among elite athletes in endurance sports is asthma. In fact according to Asthma UK 25% of the 2012 Team GB athletics squad suffer from exercise-induced asthma.

Why do so many elite athletes have exercise-induced asthma?

Vigorous exercise and endurance sports such as long-distance running, cross-country skiing and cycling cause problems for people with exercise-induced asthma. This is because it makes them breathe much faster which in turn affects airflow. Dr John Dickinson says such athletes “have an asthma response to doing high-intensity exercise.” He continues, “It’s not necessarily the exercise that’s the problem, but rather the volume of air that they breathe and the amount of time that they stay at this level for.” Dr John Dickinson is a world renowned expert on asthma in sport and head of the respiratory clinic at Kent’s School of Sport and Exercise Science.

TUEs for athletes with asthma

Symptoms of exercise-induced asthma include coughing, wheezing, chest-tightness and difficulty in breathing. Because of this inhaled treatment is allowed. This is only allowed however where asthma is documented and dispensation has been granted when needed. By contrast systemic β2-agonist intake is strictly prohibited.

POWERbreathe IMT can help strengthen breathing

Most importantly for athletes with asthma, POWERbreathe IMT is drug-free. It has no side-effects or drug interactions. POWERbreathe is an Inspiratory Muscle Training device. This means it trains the inspiratory muscles only; the muscles used to breathe in. It’s these muscles that work the hardest, your diaphragm and intercostal muscles.

How POWERbreathe IMT works

You simply breathe in through the device. As you breathe in you’ll feel a resistance to your in-breath. This is the resistance working. As you breathe in against the resistance you are exercising your breathing muscles. Exercising your breathing muscles in this way makes them stronger. It strengthens your breathing muscles just like resistance training strengthens your other muscles. And the more you train the stronger your breathing muscles become. Then you can simply increase the resistance, just as you would in other training, so that you continue to improve.

Scientifically proven training

POWERbreathe IMT is the breathing training device that both sports scientists and medical professionals are using in tests. And it is sports scientists who found the most effective training protocol. Their findings showed that just 30 breaths twice a day is the most effective. They were also to discover that just as other muscles experience the ‘use it or lose it’ phenomenon, so do the breathing muscles.

The benefits of POWERbreathe IMT

POWERbreathe IMT will strengthen your breathing muscles, improve breathing stamina and reduce breathing fatigue. And it will improve sports performance and time trial performance. In fact, POWERbreathe IMT is the device of choice in many scientific studies into its benefits for sports and fitness.