Breathe easier with POWERbreathe IMT – reviewed in Daily Mail

The Daily Mail online features worldwide news stories from the Daily Mail and Sunday newspapers. It is the second-biggest-selling daily newspaper in the UK. And today (21st November 2017) online it features an article about devices that will help you to breathe easier. One criterion specified by freelance journalist, Adrian Monti, is that the devices are to be available on the High Street. Another, quite rightly, is that the devices must be able to back up their claims.

Chest Physician chooses ‘Breathe easier’ devices

In order to approach this from a clinical viewpoint, Adrian has been speaking to a specialist chest physician and GP.

Dr Simon Taggart is a dual accredited Consultant Chest & General Physician. He has wide experience in the field of general medicine and is a specialist in respiratory medicine at The University of Manchester. His current NHS post is with the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. He is also Sub-Speciality Tutor for Respiratory Medicine at The University of Manchester. He’s an expert.

Because of his expertise, Dr Taggart is knowledgeable about the devices and solutions that claim to make you breathe easier, and that are available on the High Street.

Device reviews

For each device that was suggested, supporting data and research were assessed. And in order to be able to provide a rating for each product, each one was personally tested.

Each review in the paper begins with stating the device’s ‘claim’. Dr Taggart then follows this up with his ‘verdict’ after using the product. And finally, a rating out of 10 is awarded. This he comes to after assessing the related research and user experience.

POWERbreathe IMT – a selected device

Although the description of how to use POWERbreathe IMT is inaccurate, the specified aim is. And that is to ‘gradually make breathing muscles stronger’.

You make the breathing muscles stronger by breathing IN through the device against a resistance. It’s this resistance that makes your breathing muscles work harder. And the more you use it the easier the training gets. So this is when you increase the resistance to challenge your breathing muscles again. It’s the same principle as increasing the weight of dumbbells to increase your arm strength. In fact, it is affectionately known as ‘dumbbells for your diaphragm’. And stronger breathing muscles result in a resistance to fatigue too. So both your breathing strength and stamina improve. In addition, POWERbreathe IMT is scientifically proven, and because it is drug-free, it’s being used in many clinical trials where being short of breath is an issue.

POWERbreathe – the verdict

In the paper, Dr Taggart reports using POWERbreathe IMT devices with patients to treat chronic bronchitis. He says that strengthening their respiratory muscles with it helps ease their breathing. He goes on to add that it’s also useful for those who suffer from weak lungs that would benefit from a bit of training.

Rated: 9/10

Breathe easier with POWERbreathe IMT - reviewed in Daily Mail

Also worthy of inclusion – Shaker by POWERbreathe

With the premise that a device must stand up to its claim to make breathing easier and be available on the High Street, we feel another device to be worthy of inclusion. That of the Shaker by POWERbreathe.

The Shaker is a hand-held device that is designed to loosen mucus. And it is also suitable for children (with supervision) as it’s so easy to use. Simply put, as you breathe out through the device the weighted ball inside ‘shakes’ mucus. This loosens it so that you’re able to cough it up and expel it. The result is that you’re able to breathe easier.

The Shaker by POWERbreathe is available in three models, one of which is autoclavable. As a result, it’s able to be cleaned in an autoclave, sterilising it and making it suitable for multiple-use and clinical settings.

Skiing longer without losing your breath

This article in Ski Magazine suggests that breathing exercises can improve your skiing performance.

Skiing for longer by breathing better

The type of breathing exercises the article refers to is POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT). It also refers to a study by Louise Turner from Indiana University. And findings from the study suggest performing daily breathing exercises to reduce the amount of oxygen your inspiratory muscles require during exercise.

Ski resorts with the longest season are at high-altitude

The resorts that have the longest season for skiing are found at high-altitude. And their winter season can stretch from November to May in Europe. Most noteworthy for skiers is that at this high elevation your body will try to compensate for the reduced oxygen. It will do this by making you breathe twice as fast. Most of all resorts that are above 2500 meters will pose the highest risk to skiers. And at 2500 meters, oxygen is reduced by 25% from sea level.

Breathing effort at high altitude

Due to this thinner air at altitude, enormous demands will be placed on your breathing muscles. And to compensate, your lungs will be working much harder. Consequently any exercise at altitude will push your breathing to its limits. Even if you’re fit.

At 3000 meters the amount of oxygen in the air decreases by 30%, and at 5km it’s half that at sea-level. Furthermore at around 1km you will begin to experience breathlessness during moderate exercise. And then at 4km you will feel breathless just at rest.

Breathing training for high-altitude skiing

At sea level, your ability to exercise is limited by the capacity of your heart to pump blood to your exercising muscles. But at high altitude, you become limited by the ability to pump air in and out of your lungs.

In addtion, if your respiratory muscles are working very hard, they can ‘steal’ blood from the legs to meet their own requirement for oxygen. Consequently this will impair your leg performance and therefore skiing performance.

POWERbreathe IMT

POWERbreathe IMT is used by athletes, healthy individuals and patients with breathing problems. However most importantly to athletes, including skiers, is that it targets the breathing muscles. POWERbreathe IMT will strengthen your breathing muscles by around 30-50%.  As a result, performance significantly improves and breathing fatigue reduces. In fact POWERbreathe IMT:

  • Attenuates the increase in effort associated with ascent to high altitude (1)
  • Reduces the impairment of inspiratory muscle strength induced by ascent to high altitude (2)

In other research IMT:

  • Reduces oxygen requirement of exercise in simulated altitude by 8-12% (3)
  • Lessens cardiac output requirement of exercise in simulated altitude by 14% (3)
  • Decreases breathing requirement of exercise in simulated altitude by 25% (3)
  • Increases arterial oxygen saturation by 4% (3)
  • Enlarges lung diffusing capacity by 4% (3)
  • Lowers perceived exertion (3)
  • Reduces breathlessness (3)

Research

1. Nickol A, Romer L, McConnell A, Jones D. The effects of specific inspiratory muscle training upon respiratory muscle function and dyspnoea at high altitude. High Alt Med Biol. 2001;2:116.

2. Romer L, McConnell A, Jones D. Changes in respiratory and forearm-flexor muscle strength during exposure to high altitude. J Sports Sci. 2000;19:63-4.

3. Downey AE, Chenoweth LM, Townsend DK, Ranum JD, Ferguson CS, Harms CA. Effects of inspiratory muscle training on exercise responses in normoxia and hypoxia. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2006 Sep 20.

Cycling performance improves with better breathing

This article in Bicycling magazine recommends that you “harness your lung power for a stronger, faster cycling experience”.

Improve your oxygen uptake while cycling

The main topic of this article is to teach cyclists to focus on their breathing. By taking deep quality breaths as you pedal you can improve your performance. As a cyclist you may think about your breathing while cycling only in terms of breathing hard. But is your breathing high-paced and coming from your chest? If so then you’re limiting your intake of oxygen, the article reports. This will leave your muscles hungry for more.

Breathe better

So improving how you breathe will have positive benefits on your performance. Therefore the author of the article talks to breathwork practitioner Al Lee for breathing advice. Al compares breathing efficiency to improving your car’s miles per gallon. He explains how with a bit of training you will improve your breathing efficiency. One of the breathing techniques Al suggests is deep, belly breathing. In order to achieve this you need to use your diaphragm. The diaphragm is your main breathing muscle.

Recruit your diaphragm

POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training helps you to recruit your diaphragm. As you breathe in through your POWERbreathe IMT device you are exercising your diaphragm. The exercise comes from breathing in against a resistance, or breathing load. Because the load is adjustable you can increase it. You will need to increase it as your breathing muscles become stronger. It’s just like any other training. When you find your POWERbreathe breathing training is getting easy then you need to increase your load. This trains your breathing muscles to become progressively stronger. Consequently breathing stamina increases. As a result your performance improves too. The article concludes by reminding you to check in with your breathing as you pedal. If you find you’re breathing from your chest, take a deep breath and reset. Remember your POWERbreathe breathing training and you’ll find you’ll be recruiting your diaphragm again.

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Running improves with POWERbreathe

This article in Runner’s World asks you to ‘take a deep breath and improve your running performance with a handy piece of equipment…’ That piece of equipment is POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT).

Breathe your way to better running

The article suggests that as a runner you may be neglecting one muscle group in your training. That group is your inspiratory muscles. Your inspiratory muscles are the muscles you use to breathe in. The main inspiratory muscles are your diaphragm and intercostals. These are the muscles you primarily use for breathing but they also play a role in your core stability. In the article are three exercises that use POWERbreathe IMT to exercise your inspiratory muscles. In fact runners performing these exercises were shown to improve their performance in a time trial. They also increased their core endurance. The exercises were performed three to four times a week, for six weeks. One of the authors of the time trial study says that the athletes’ trunk muscles were shown to deliver breathing and core stability, without compromising either. This will make running more comfortable and feel easier. These are the exercises being prescribed for improving running performance. They use POWERbreathe IMT during the exercise to improve breathing strength and stamina.

The exercises

  • Bridge – 10 reps, 2 sets
  • Bird Dog – 10 reps, 1 set per side
  • Swiss Ball Squat Thrust – 10-15 reps, 2 sets

There is full instruction in the article as to how best to perform the exercises using your POWERbreathe IMT. It is best to perfect your breathing technique first using your POWERbreathe. You can watch this video that shows the best POWERbreathe breathing technique. By getting the technique right you are ensuring you benefit from breathing from your diaphragm. The correct technique teaches you to breathe from your diaphragm. Most people have forgotten this proper way to breathe and resort to breathing from the chest instead.  If you follow the technique shown in the video you are also reducing your risk of injury as you will be breathing properly.

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POWERbreathe offered in sports science support

The Spring 2015 edition of the University of Kent’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences’ newsletter contains an interesting article by Dr John Dickinson who’s research found that 70% of top swimmers from the British Swimming squad suffer from some form of respiratory condition, especially exercise-induced asthma #EIA (page 9), and also a Research Spotlight (page 8) into a 12-week support programme aimed at assessing and improving a student’s sporting performance.

Discussions with the student revealed that he needed to improve his breathing efficiency during swimming. The article reveals that “To achieve this we implemented a twice-daily breathing training regime” – this was using POWERbreathe!

The student returned to the lab after 3-months to perform fitness tests which found that he had markedly improved his swimming performance, demonstrating a 4-second improvement over 100m and a 5-second improvement over both 200m and 400m distances.

Read Inside Sport and Exercise Sciences Spring Newsletter >

Read more about how to improve swimming performance with POWERbreathe >

Breath training for beginners

We saw this article on Vega, a site dedicated to delivering, among other things, premium, innovative, industry-leading wellness solutions to their customers.

Published on their blog, Breath Training for Beginners discusses how to find a breathing rhythm, breathing into your belly, increasing your V02 max and resisted and restricted breathing.

The article begins by saying that athletes attest to how proper breathing can lead to an increased level of performance during exercise, and that while breathing is generally controlled unconsciously, the conscious control of breathing — combined with specific training to learn how to discipline how we breathe — can benefit us in numerous different ways.

Resisted and restricted breathing they say “can enhance your endurance by strengthening your respiratory muscles”. POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) will do just that, as it uses the principles of resistance training to exercise and strengthen the inspiratory muscles, primarily the diaphragm and intercostals. Stronger breathing muscles means you’ll be more resistant to fatigue, so you’ll have more stamina. Training the inspiratory muscles to become stronger and more resistant to fatigue achieves improved efficiency of the breathing muscles. This means less oxygen is required by the lungs and can be used by working muscles, such as legs during cycling or running. The result…INCREASED performance!

How POWERbreathe Works >

POWERbreathe Benefits >

POWERbreathe Comparison Chart >

How POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training can help swimmers

World renowned expert in sports training and rehabilitation Dr. John Mullen at TrainingCor has recently published an article in Swimming World Magazine in which he discusses whether inspiratory muscle training can help swimmers.

Dr. Mullen refers to the study, Respiratory muscle specific warm-up and elite swimming performance, in which 17 British International competitive swimmers were randomly allocated one of four different warm-up protocols each. The effectiveness of each protocol was to be judged by the outcome of a 100-metre freestyle sprint time-trial.

Protocol 2 consisted of a POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training warm-up and it was found that a combined swimming plus POWERbreathe IMT warm-up improved 100m swimming performance by 0.62 seconds when compared to a standard swimming warm-up alone and resulted in the fastest swimming time over 100 meters (57.05 seconds).

In summary Dr. Mullen suggests “trying inspiratory muscle training or using swimming as a recovery from your high-intensity resistance training.”

Read the article, Inspiratory Muscle Training: How Can It Help Swimmers?

Read more about POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training for swimmers.

POWERbreathe in Research >

 

Train your diaphragm with POWERbreathe to perform your best at altitude

We’ve just come across this article online in Outside Magazine (February 2015), written by Alex Hutchinson in which it’s suggested that ‘by training your respiratory muscles, you can teach yourself to perform better with less oxygen.’

The article, ‘The Secret to Performing Your Best at Altitude? Train your Diaphragm’ begins by looking at a study conducted by exercise physiologist at the University of Portsmouth, Dr. Mitch Lomax. The study involved 14 members of a British military expedition who were trekking up the Barun Valley in Nepal toward 27,766-foot Makalu, the world’s fifth highest peak. Half of these 14 volunteers were randomly prescribed POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training for 4-weeks prior to the expedition. After the expedition, results showed that when the IMT group arrived at Base Camp (18,000 feet), their arterial oxygen saturation was 14% lower than it had been at sea level, compared to the rest of group who’d desaturated by 20% – a not insignificant 6% advantage.

The article reveals even more interesting insights, facts and figures and is well worth a read, and here you can find out more about POWERbreathe for high-altitude training.

If you’ve used POWERbreathe prior to a high-altitude challenge of your own, then please leave a comment as we’d love to hear your experience.

 

Metabolic reflection of respiratory muscles limiting athletic performance

 

We’re grateful to our friends Fit & Breathe Concept for bringing this article to our attention. It’s written by Germain Fernandez Monterrubio, Bachelor of Science in Physical Activity and Sport and can be found in its original language here: ‘El reflejo metabólico de la musculatura respiratoria como factor limitante del rendimiento deportivo’.

We’ve translated the original text as best we can (as follows), but if it is not entirely clear then you may also be interested in reading this research, published in The Journal (2007) of The Physiological Society, ‘Insights into the role of the respiratory muscle metaboreflex’.

Metabolic reflection of the respiratory muscles as a limiting factor in athletic performance

Numerous studies show ventilatory fatigue (the inability of the respiratory muscles to achieve preural given pressure) (Chicharro, 2010) is considered as a limiting factor in performance, especially in disciplines that require endurance (such as marathon, rowing, swimming , triathlon etc).

One of the limiting factors that future studies will focus on is that of determining the specific influence of Metabolic Reflection of Respiratory Musculature (RMMR) in different cases.

The RMMR initiates fatigue of the respiratory muscles, which through III and IV afferents reach the supraspinal level, triggering a sympathetic response by vasoconstriction of peripheral muscle locomotive, which intensifies the fatigue of active muscles and increases also perception of effort, contributing to the limitation of return linked to intense aerobic exercise. (Romer and Polkey, 2008).

In aerobic performance, the TOTAL energy demand is not a limiting factor (Santalla, 2009), the production of energy in the time given is the determinant of fatigue… the “metaboreflex”. Respiratory muscles induce a number of mechanisms by which respiratory muscle fatigue can affect exercise tolerance (Jack mackerel, 2010, Santalla 2010, Romer and Polkey, 2008), incurring a series of cardiorespiratory interactions:

Pulmonary level:

  • Fatigue contraction of the diaphragm and accessory muscles of respiration.
  • Increased reflexes activated metabolites.
  • Increased afferent discharge (track III and IV).

Muscular level:

  • Increased efferent sympathetic discharge.
  • Increased vasoconstriction members.
  • Decreased oxygen transport.
  • Increased locomotor muscle fatigue.
  • Increased perception of effort.

In an experiment carried out with cyclists (Fischer, 2013) participants were induced to metaboreflex with post-exercise muscle ischemia, indicating that the increase in heart rate and the partial withdrawal of cardiac parasympathetic tone, is mainly attributed to increased cardiac sympathetic activity, and only after exercise with large muscle masses.

We speak of respiratory muscles (and mechanical); of autonomic nervous, central nervous system and cardiovascular system regulation in humans. A review by Douglas R. Seals raised the premise that if the RMMR represented the “Robin Hood” of the body to the locomotor muscles (Seals, 2001), determining that this reflex can have as its main objective the delivery of oxygen to the respiratory muscles, guarantees the ability to maintain pulmonary ventilation, adequate regulation of the gases in the blood flow and the pH and general organ homeostasis. The reflection is considered the “vital organ” responsible for supporting lung function and perfusion of the respiratory muscles, especially during physiological states in which there is competition for cardiac output, as in the exercise to maximum and submaximal intensities. This overrides the locomotor muscles.

Usually this phenomenon is found in those training for a sport or competition in which there will normally be a struggle between the respiratory muscles and the locomotor muscles for blood flow. Determining this is not so simple, as it also depends on the intervention of the central nervous system, which impinge on some physiological and psychological responses, such as the perception of effort. Generalizing, we can say that to focus on metabolic compromise reflects both muscles (respiratory and locomotor) at maximal or submaximal, rather than related to aerobic capacity.

Author: Germain Fernandez Monterrubio, Bachelor of Science in Physical Activity and Sport.

www.fermentourbano.com

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REFERENCES

  • SEALS, DR. (2001). Robin Hood for the Lungs? A respiratory metaboreflex that “steals” blood flow from locomotor muscles. J Physiol. 537(Pt 1):2
  • FISHER, JP y otros (2013). Muscle metaboreflex and autonomic regulation of heart rate in humans. J Physiol. 591.15 pp 3777–3788 3777
  • ROMER, LM y POLKEY, MI (2008). Excercise-induced respiratory muscle fatigue: implications for performance. J App Physiol. 104 pp 3879 3888
  • SANTALLA, A (2010). Presentation High Performance Program. Physiological Basis of Sports Performance. SE
  • CHICHARRO LOPEZ, JL (2010). Presentation Respiratory muscle fatigue induced by exercise: implications for clinical and performance.
  • HAJ GHANBARI, B. et alt. (2012) Effects of respiratory muscle training on performance in athletes: a systematic review with meta-analyses. J. of Strength & Conditioning Research.

View list of published research that used POWERbreathe as the IMT intervention of choice in POWERbreathe in Research.

Find more published research on our Inspiratory Muscle Training Research blog.

If you found this interesting (and if you found the translation not entirely easy to follow), you’ll probably find ‘Insights into the role of the respiratory muscle metaboreflex’ useful too.

POWERbreathe K5 reviewed in Procycling magazine (Feb 2014)


Procycling magazine is the authoritative voice for international professional road racing, and in the February 2014 issue Jamie Wilkins from the Procycling Race and Test Team reviewed the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link software.

Here’s what he had to say:

POWERBREATHE K5

“This is a high-tech gym for your respiratory muscles, designed to remove lung function as a limiting factor to performance. Training the intercostal muscles and diaphragm is claimed to raise the threshold of their metaboreflex – the point at which blood flow is directed to vital organs that are struggling. You need that blood in your legs but your body thinks you’re about to stop breathing. Stronger respiratory muscles won’t be pushed to this point. They will also be able to open the thorax and chest bigger (addling lung capacity) and faster. It can help with asthma too.

The POWERbreathe Classic (£30) has a fixed spring-loaded valve; the Plus has adjustable resistance for £50. K-Series models are electronic, with progressive valves, training reports and memory. The K5 is the top model. It comes with the Breathe-Link software package which analyses multiple parameters live as you train and tracks your progress. One unit can save 30 athlete profiles, making it ideal for use by a team. Argos-Shimano were early adopters. The software is user friendly but it’s arguably overkill for most home use.

Training on the K5 daily gave rapid increases in lung power and capacity. On the bike it meant that my asthma was less of a hindrance.”

PROS
“Proven benefit, easy to use, vast data with clever live software.”

CONS
“Cost, less benefit to athletes without breathing issues.”

VERDICT
“Lab-spec training tool, highly recommended for asthmatics in more affordable K3 guise.”

“> Five minutes per day gives real benefits but you have to plan sessions as it takes 5-6 hours to recover.”

Jamie Wilkins

Here at POWERbreathe we’d like to respond and expand on a couple of points made above in the review…

Regarding the comment, “less benefit to athletes without breathing issues” we’d just like to acknowledge the fact that there have been numerous studies conducted on ‘healthy humans’ into the benefits of Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) and the effect of exercise-induced inspiratory muscle fatigue. Globally research into the benefits of IMT continues to develop too.

For cyclists in particular, you’ll find many interesting research papers, meta-analysis and review articles listed in our Product Use – Cycling category, including Inspiratory Muscle Training, Inspiratory Warm-up and Cool-down and Exercise-Induced Inspiratory Muscle Fatigue.

And finally, please don’t feel that training with POWERbreathe is so exhausting that is takes 5-6 hours to recover. This comment given in the review refers to the scientifically-proven training regimen that established the 30 breaths protocol to be completed twice a day i.e. once in the morning and then once in the evening, hence the 6-hour delay before training again.

We hope we’ve cleared up a couple of ambiguous points that had sparked a few enquiries.

Read more about POWERbreathe breathing training for cyclists, or if you’re a cyclist and are already using POWERbreathe, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter as we’d love to hear about how you’ve benefited from this breathing training. You can also read more about POWERbreathe and cycling training in the Blog’s Cycling category.