Lower Blood Pressure with POWERbreathe IMT

The University of Colorado Boulder is using the POWERbreathe K-Series in their independent research. They are investigating the effects of just 30 breaths of inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST). Specifically, they are looking to see if it could lower blood pressure and reduce heart attack risk. They are also investigating whether it could help you think more clearly and boost sports performance.

Lower blood pressure

One of the key findings of the research so far is that 30 breaths of IMST (about five minutes) will lower blood pressure. Crucially, with about half the tests completed, researchers report significant drops in blood pressure and improvements in large-artery function. In fact, their findings show that about 5-minutes of IMST lowers blood pressure as much as aerobic exercise and more than some medications.

Other preliminary findings

The research findings also suggest that just 5-minutes of IMST may also boost cognitive function. Furthermore, their findings show that it may also improve fitness and increase sports performance. In fact, these improvements are already proven in previous research studies. However, this study reiterates such findings.

With the help of the university’s new National Institute on Ageing grant, researchers are launching a clinical trial.

The research

Research subjects will either be a part of a sham group (using low/no IMST) or the IMST group. The IMST group will perform 30 breaths of inspiratory muscle strength training (taking approximately 5-minutes). IMST is strength training for the muscles you use to inhale. Both groups will be performing their version of IMST over a period of 6 weeks. Researchers are hoping that by doing this for 5 minutes a day in the comfort of their own home, people will get health benefits they otherwise might not get.

The tests

Researchers will be performing tests to evaluate:

  • Vascular function – how healthy the blood vessels are
  • Cerebral vascular function – how healthy the blood vessels in the brain are
  • Cognitive function
  • Physical performance – VO2 max testing assesses this
  • Motor function

Results so far are showing that the IMST group, compared to sham subjects, are lowering their blood pressure and improving blood vessel health. Also, the IMST group is performing better on certain cognitive and memory tests. In addition, the IMST group are able to keep their heart rate and oxygen consumption lower during exercise. Consequently, subjects are also showing an increase in exercise tolerance time too.

Positive outcomes

With all this evidence, researchers hope that by using IMST, people may be able to get their blood pressure under control, decrease their risk of chronic conditions and live healthier lives.

Pilates Plus IMT Improves Lung Function

Researchers from Brazil are looking at the effects of combining Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) with Pilates on lung function in elderly women. The reason for this is because ageing affects the respiratory system. In fact, it can change the composition of the lung’s connective tissue.

Ageing and the lungs

Ageing will ultimately affect bones and muscles. Moreover, natural ageing also affects the bones and muscles of the chest. Consequently, it may affect the shape of the ribcage. As a result, the ribcage may no longer expand or contract as well as it once did, during breathing. Additionally, the main breathing muscle, the diaphragm, becomes weaker too. This will affect how much air a person is able to breathe in and out.

Furthermore, ageing affects lung tissue and the airways may lose their ability to stay open. Additionally, the air sacs begin to lose their shape. Consequently, air may become trapped in the lungs. This affects how well you’re able to breathe.

Why inspiratory muscle training?

Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) is a form of resistance training that exercises the inspiratory muscles. The main inspiratory muscles are the diaphragm and intercostals. It’s these muscles that are responsible for drawing air into the lungs. Furthermore, it’s these muscles that will be affected by ageing. Therefore, exercising these muscles with IMT will limit the effects of ageing. IMT will help them to become stronger and less prone to fatigue.

The IMT device that participants use in this trial is the POWERbreathe K5.

Participants breathe in through the K5 for 30 breaths. They perform this twice, with a one-minute interval between each set. After two weeks’ training, they must increase the training resistance by 10%. Researchers then assess an individual’s results following Pilates exercise.

Why Pilates?

Pilates is an exercise programme, developed in the 20th Century by Joseph Pilates. The exercises focus on improving core strength and muscular imbalance. Furthermore, Pilates improves flexibility, overall muscle strength and is low-impact, making it ideal for the age group in this study.

As we age, we become less active and more sedentary. Consequently, sitting for long periods limits movement and affects the body. In fact, age affects the entire musculoskeletal system: joints, muscles and bones. As a result, posture is affected and we also start to lose muscle tone, balance and joint mobility. Pilates can help to minimise these age-related changes.

For this study, participants use the Cadillac, Combo Chair and Reformer devices for the Pilates method. The researchers recommend nine exercises per session. Participants perform up to three sets of 12 repetitions of each exercise. They do this for a maximum of 45-minutes.

Study results

To establish if IMT positively effects breathing muscle strength, each participant’s maximum inspiratory pressure (MIP) is measured. MIP is an index of diaphragm strength and an independent predictor of all-cause mortality (longevity). Study findings show that MIP significantly evolved in the elderly. Additionally, the study highlights:

“the use of the POWERbreathe K5 device, which further favoured the gain in this variable.”

Findings also show:

“that all the variables were significantly better in the intervention groups than in the Control Group, thus strengthening the importance of the association between IMT and Pilates.”

In conclusion

“In conclusion, physiotherapy is an excellent ally in the prevention, promotion, and maintenance of health, quality of life and functional capacity in the gerontological population. The use of the Pilates Studio method, associated with technological equipment that allows more detailed analysis and treatment of pulmonary conditions, strength, function and mobility, was shown to be beneficial for this type of application.”

The influence of inspiratory muscle training combined with the Pilates method on lung function in elderly women: A randomized controlled trial >

Effectiveness Of RMT Along With Aerobic Training In Community Dwelling Elderly Individuals

“Ageing is associated with decline in performance of various systems resulting in reduced exercise capacity, fatigue and reduced respiratory muscle functioning. Studies reported that respiratory muscle training is effective to increase respiratory muscle functioning in various populations but the reports are limited in community dwelling elderly population.” Intervention: POWERbreathe Conclusion “Respiratory muscle training along with aerobic training was more effective than aerobic training alone in improving respiratory muscle function, fatigue and exercise capacity in community dwelling elderly individuals after four weeks of intervention.” Effectiveness of respiratory muscle training along with aerobic training in community dwelling elderly individuals >

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Influence Of IMT On Changes In Sleep Architecture In Older Adult

“This project aims to investigate the influence of inspiratory muscle training through the Threshold® on sleep disorders and involved the participation of 38 older adult volunteers of both genders with sleep disorders.”


“Results suggested that inspiratory muscle training can be a good help in the treatment of sleep-related breathing disorders.”

Read Influence of Inspiratory Muscle Training on Changes in Sleep Architecture in Older Adult – Epidoso Projects >

The Effects of Inspiratory Muscle Training in Older Adults

“Declining inspiratory muscle function and structure and systemic low-level inflammation and oxidative stress may contribute to morbidity and mortality during normal ageing. Therefore, we examined the effects of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) in older adults on inspiratory muscle function and structure and systemic inflammation and oxidative stress, and reexamined the reported positive effects of IMT on respiratory muscle strength, inspiratory muscle endurance, spirometry, exercise performance, physical activity levels (PAL), and quality of life (QoL).”


“Data indicate that in healthy older adults, IMT elicits some positive changes in inspiratory muscle function and structure but neither attenuates systemic inflammation and oxidative stress nor improves exercise performance, PAL, or QoL.”

Read The Effects of Inspiratory Muscle Training in Older Adults >

Effects Of IMT On Exercise Capacity And Spontaneous Physical Activity In Elderly Subjects

“Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) has been shown to improve exercise capacity in diseased populations. We chose to examine the effects of eight weeks of IMT on exercise capacity and spontaneous physical activity in elderly individuals.”


“IMT may be a useful technique for positively influencing exercise capacity and physical activity in elderly individuals.”

Read Effects of inspiratory muscle training on exercise capacity and spontaneous physical activity in elderly subjects: a randomized controlled pilot trial >

Four Weeks of Inspiratory Muscle Training Improves Self-Paced Walking Performance in Overweight and Obese Adults

“The objective of this study was to examine whether a programme of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) improves accumulative distance of self-paced walking in overweight and obese adults.”


“This study indicates that IMT may provide a practical, inexpensive, and minimally intrusive intervention to augment both inspiratory muscle strength and walking distance among overweight and obese adults. The beneficial effects of this treatment were similar to those previously reported from vigorous, supervised training among hospitalised obese patients. Our findings indicate similar effects could be expected without the need for hospitalisation and indicate that IMT via an inspiratory resistance device can easily be performed in the home environment. IMT therefore appears a useful strategy to enhance walking performance in overweight and obese individuals which may prove a meaningful priming intervention with which to stimulate performance adaptations and future engagement with physical activity.”

Read Four Weeks of Inspiratory Muscle Training Improves Self-Paced Walking Performance in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomised Controlled Trial >

Acute Effects Of Different Inspiratory Resistive Loading On Heart Rate Variability In Healthy Elderly Patients

“The cardiovascular system is noticeably affected by respiration. However, whether different inspiratory resistive loading intensities can influence autonomic heart rate (HR) modulation remains unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate HR modulation at three different inspiratory resistive loading intensities in healthy elderly men.”


“Results suggest that lower inspiratory efforts produce higher heart rate variability. These findings represent important clinical applications because low respiratory muscle training intensities can produce greater parasympathetic heart rate modulation in this population. Thus, we should choose the most appropriate load for achieving the most beneficial autonomic effects, which are associated with reduced cardiovascular event and morbidity incidence.”

Read Acute effects of different inspiratory resistive loading on heart rate variability in healthy elderly patients >