Turner Twins prepare for Mt Elbrus in Russia with POWERbreathe

Actually there’s a bit more to it than that. Ross and Hugo Turner are twin brothers who both share an interest in combining pioneering medical research and unique studies of historic expeditions. You’ve probably seen them on TV as they’ve filmed for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

But Ross and Hugo will be climbing with a difference, and not with just the objective of reaching the summit! Hugo will be wearing and taking traditional clothing and equipment used by mountaineers 100 years ago, while Ross will be wearing and taking the contemporary equivalent.

Because they’re twins, researchers have the unique opportunity to directly compare themselves against each other and see how each reacts given their different clothing and equipment, with research carried out (pre and post expedition) by King’s College London’s, Department of Twin Research and GlaxoSmithKline’s, Human Performance Lab.

As their next challenge is to climb Mt Elbrus in Russia 5,642m (18,510ft) – a challenge taken on to help them prepare for high altitude and their ultimate goal of climbing Mt Cho Oyu (8,201m, 26,906 ft) – they realized that part of their preparation should really include some breathing training, specifically inspiratory muscle training (IMT) with POWERbreathe.

Preparing for high altitude with POWERbreathe IMT

Because the air contains less oxygen and becomes ‘thinner’ the higher they’ll climb, the more Ross and Hugo will notice the enormous demands placed on their breathing, and their breathing muscles in particular. Their lungs will have to work much harder to compensate for the thinner air, so the stronger their breathing muscles are before the climb, the better off they’ll be.

By training their inspiratory muscles before hand with POWERbreathe, they’ll lessen the increase in effort associated with ascending to a higher altitude, and they’ll also reduce the impairment of their breathing strength which is induced by an ascent to high altitude. In fact,

Inspiratory Muscle Training1:

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

1 Effects of inspiratory muscle training on exercise responses in normoxia and hypoxia

Ross and Hugo’s expeditions raise money for charity, in particular for Spinal Research, which is close to the twins’ heart following Hugo’s broken neck in which he narrowly missed being paralysed.

You can find out more about the Turner Twins on their website, Facebook and Twitter, and we will of course keep you updated with news. Finally we’d like to wish good luck to both Ross and Hugo who have arrived at Mineralyne Vody in Russia, their base camp.

Ross’ feedback on the Turner Twins’ POWERbreathe training (September 2015):

‘The POWERbreathe allowed us to train in a way that was in-expensive, appropriate and the best in the market for mountaineering adventure (without actually training at altitude). It was easy enough to take travelling and use every day while allowing any level of cardiac fitness you wanted. This POWERbreathe was perfect for Mt Elbrus as the mountain had glacial rubble and ice – two very different terrains that affected the cardiac system in different ways. With more adventures coming that are not at altitude, we will carry on using the POWERbreathe as it is a great way to train the body in a very advantageous way so you can perform comfortably while working hard on expeditions.’

Olympic and ‎Paralympic Archery Team – POWERbreathe Update Session 1

You may recall at the end of May we met up with Great Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic ‎Archery teams at Lilleshall National Sport Centre & Conferencing Centre where we presented the benefits of POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training. You can read more about this in our first blog, POWERbreathe for Olympic and ‎Paralympic Archery Team Members.

Now, at the end of June, we thought we’d pop in to the Paralympic Archery centre in Lilleshall again to re-test three of the archers who were there and see if their breathing parameter results had improved.

We checked in with Jo Frith, Mel Clarke and Tania Nadarajah.

Results after 4-weeks’ POWERbreathe Training

Jo, Mel and Tania’s results all showed excellent improvements across all breathing parameters!

Their Coach, Matt McGovan, was also very impressed with their results but nonetheless subtly adjusted their method of using POWERbreathe to suit the needs of their sport, archery.

Great result too at the World Paralympic Championships!

Some of GB’s archers went head-to-head to represent Great Britain at this year’s World Championships in Copenhagen and the World Paralympic Championships in Donaueschingen.

  • POWERbreathe user Jo Frith was one of three to come top in her category, W1 Women.
  • Amy Oliver and Nicky Hunt, also POWERbreathe users, came top in their category, Recurve Women.
  • POWERbreathe user Tania Nadarajah was one of three to come top in her category, Recurve Women Open.

And now the teams have been named…

World Archery Championships – This competition runs from 26 July to 2 August.
The archers selected for the World Archery Championships and Olympic qualifier in Copenhagen are:

  • Recurve women: Amy Oliver (POWERbreathe user), Naomi Folkard, Nicky Hunt (POWERbreathe user)

World Archery Para Championships – This competition runs from 23 to 30 August.
The archers representing Great Britain at the World Archery Para Championships and Paralympic qualifier in Donaueschingen are:

  • W1 women: Jo Frith (POWERbreathe user), Jessica Stretton, Vicky Jenkins

David Lombardo From Hagens Berman U-23 Team Takes 1st Place In Championships

Photo Credit: Alex Chiu @acaurora

POWERbreathe have been proudly sponsoring this talented team, the Hagens Berman U-23 Team, with POWERbreathe Plus models for riders and a POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link Live Feedback Software for the coach so that assessment and analysis of each team member’s breathing can regularly take place as part of their overall fitness testing and training.

Photo Credit: Alex Chiu @acaurora

The team has been performing well and at the USA Cycling National Championships at North Lake Tahoe, CA (June 24-28) they raced exceptionally well, and it is with great pleasure that we announce the exciting news that team member David Lombardo took top spot as the 2015 U-23 National Criterium Champion! Congratulations David!

The criterium race is a short race, and in the case of the Criterium Male U23 19-22 Pro/Cat 1/2, it was a 75-minute race held on open roads. It’s quite different to road racing, in fitness requirements, racing style and tactics as it’s a shorter, more technical and faster race.

Why train with POWERbreathe?

POWERbreathe IMT exercises the riders’ breathing muscles, mainly the diaphragm and intercostals, making them stronger and more resistant to fatigue which translates into improved stamina. And because the breathing muscles are stronger, they don’t need to steal blood from other working muscles for them to do their job properly, which means more oxygen-rich blood to the legs for more pedal-power. And because research has shown that cycling as little as 20km at race pace induces significant fatigue of the inspiratory muscles, more and more cyclists are choosing to include POWERbreathe IMT as part of their daily training.

Women’s eliteVELO Cycling Race Team and POWERbreathe

Through our main UK distributor, HaB Direct, POWERbreathe are proud to be sponsoring this women’s development and performance road racing team, eliteVELO Kalas Sportswear Cycling Race Team.

The team consists of 6 enthusiastic and highly talented riders: Alice Miller, Frankie Morgans-Slader, Hester Stembridge, Jenny Powell, Julia Hesselberg and Sophie Black.

This weekend at Finlake Lodges in Newton Abbott the team met up for their first training camp together, beginning on Friday night (27th Feb) where the team received their training gear, courtesy of their sponsors POWERbreathe, KALAS Sportswear UK kit, LAZER HELMETS and Power Tap.

We gave each of the girls a POWERbreathe Plus, and one of the reasons POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training will be of benefit to this team of cyclists is because the hunched position they cycle in makes breathing more of a challenge. This hunched position creates breathing problems as the contents of the abdomen become compressed and push up against the diaphragm, the main breathing muscle. This restricts normal movement of the breathing muscles and makes breathing feel much harder.

POWERbreathe exercises the inspiratory muscles, training them to become stronger as the girls breathe in through the adjustable resistance. This daily training improves their breathing strength and stamina and reduces fatigue, which means they’ll also find they’ll be able to cycle for longer with less effort – all because they’ve been ‘working out’ their breathing muscles which are often neglected.

Another reason POWERbreathe training will be beneficial to the girls is because research has shown that ‘oxygen uptake in respiratory muscles differs between men and women during exercise’, with respiratory muscles in women consuming a greater amount of oxygen than men. Another study also found that ‘women have greater shortness of breath than men when exercising due to greater electrical activation of their respiratory muscles’.

Read more about POWERbreathe breathing training for cyclists >

The team, brought together by coaching company eliteVELO, will be competing at regional and national events including the Women’s Team Series and you can follow their progress on the team’s website, on Twitter, Facebook and here on POWERbreathe, where we also hope to bring you more photos by the team’s official photographer, Richard Fox Photography. In the meantime take a sneak peek of Richard’s EliteVelo Kalas CRT Cycling Shoot.

POWERbreathe & Slovenian National Rowing Team – Update July 2014

This morning (9th July) the Slovenian National Rowing Team left for Rowing World Lucerne 2014 (11-13th July) and the start of the final round of the World Rowing Cup 2014 on the Rotsee where competition will be fierce and medal winning will no doubt be decided in the last few meters.

Friday 11th will see the Heats and the Quarter-Finals. Saturday 12th will be the Semi-Finals and B Finals of non-Olympic categories. Sunday 13th July will see the A Finals of non-Olympic categories and A Finals of Olympic categories.

Before the Slovenian National Rowing Team left for Rowing World Lucerne, POWERbreathe Slovenia & Croatia met up again with their Coach, Milos, because during the previous day (8th July) the whole team had their breathing tested using the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link software. After a long chat with Milos, it was decided that each rower would benefit from keeping a copy of their POWERbreathe test report, so that they can monitor their own improvements over the period in the run-up to the World Championships.

The 2014 Rowing World Championshipstake place in August, and as the team are now incorporating POWERbreathe into their regular preparations for this main event, it was agreed that POWERbreathe Slovenia & Croatia would meet up with the team again in early August to repeat the tests and monitor each rowers performance – and maybe develop individual training protocols. You can read more about this in our previous blog, POWERbreathe and the National Slovenian Rowing Team.

You can view photos taken of the some of the rowers testing their breathing on the K5 using the Breathe-Link software, and of the day POWERbreathe Slovenia & Croatia presented POWERbreathe, on our Facebook page.

Read more about how POWERbreathe could help improve your rowing performance, or if you’re already using POWERbreathe then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter as we’d love to hear from you. You can also read more in our POWERbreathe rowing blog.

Thanks again POWERbreathe Slovenia & Croatia for this wonderful news and for sharing these photos.

POWERbreathe and the National Slovenian Rowing Team

On June 9th our friends and distributor POWERbreathe Slovenia, IntAct Ljubljana, organised a POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training Seminar for the National Slovenian Rowing Team, at the Olympic Sport Center at Bled Lake.

The science behind POWERbreathe and IMT was presented not only to the rowing team themselves, but also to the main coaches of the Slo Rowing Team and Slovenian Cross Country Combined.

Two of the top rowers in the national team (Zupan) who recently achieved their best results in the European Championships (elite men) in Belgrade, had their breathing strength tested using the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link software. Needless to say it created a lot of interest that prompted further discussion about inspiratory muscle strength, flow and volume, resulting in a better understanding of why training these breathing muscles is of benefit.

After discussing the results of the tests, national coach Milos Jansa also took the S-Index test on the K5 and was impressed to see his own results instantly on screen. He – and the team – agreed that using POWERbreathe IMT made real sense, and were impressed with the scientific trials that showed:

  • IMT improved rowing time trial performance by up to 2.2%, equivalent to slashing 60m in a 2km race
  • IMT increased strength of inspiratory muscles by 30 – 50%
  • A POWERbreathe warm-up significantly improved rowing performance and reduced breathlessness in a competitive rower

After the seminar, POWERbreathe Slovenia were invited to stay and discuss POWERbreathe further, with the day finishing on a very promising note for the team, as their coach decided that his team would incorporate POWERbreathe into their preparations for the World Championships taking place at the end of August 2014.

You can view photos taken at the seminar on our Facebook page.

Read more about how POWERbreathe could help improve your rowing performance, or if you’re already using POWERbreathe then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter as we’d love to hear from you. You can also read more in our POWERbreathe rowing blog.    

POWERbreathe training for tri-forces expedition to Makalu

In September of this year, a tri-service team – Makalu 2014 – will attempt to place at least two of its eight members on the summit of Makalu via the most challenging route, the South East Ridge. If they are successful then this expedition will become the first British ascent via this notoriously difficult route.

Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world standing at 8,463 metres and is located in the Mahalangur Himalayas on the border between Nepal and China, southeast of Mount Everest.

Not only does scaling the mountain via this particular route present a challenge, but also the height of the mountain means that breathing at altitude will also be difficult.

With breathing an issue at high altitude, the expedition plan on introducing POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training to the team for their pre-expedition training “as a way of developing their respiratory function”, which is something they have done successfully for previous expeditions.

The Makalu 2014 team, led by Expedition Leader Wing Commander Colin Scott MBE (RAF), comprises members of the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and they have already spent a day undergoing a series of physiological tests, including VO2 max, at the Carnegie Research Institute at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Arranged by Dr. John O’Hara, Reader in Sports and Exercise Physiology, the team was subjected to a range of tests designed to enable Expedition Performance Coach, Paul (Chip) Rafferty, to finely tune individual training plans for each member as part of their final preparation.

Included in their training plans for breathing at high altitude will be POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) which targets the breathing muscles, strengthening them by around 30-50%, helping to eliminate breathing fatigue.

As the team ascends Makalu, above 3000m the amount of oxygen in the air decreases by 30%. At around 1km they’ll begin to experience breathlessness and at 4km they’ll even feel breathless at rest. This is because at high altitude the body becomes limited by the ability to pump air in and out of the lungs. Just to put this into perspective whilst resting at sea level, you breathe about 12 litres of air in and out of your lungs every minute. At the summit of Mt. Everest (8848m) it requires almost maximal levels of breathing (in excess of 150 litres per minute) just to put one foot in front of the other. This level of breathing can be sustained for only a couple of minutes at a time. And if the respiratory muscles are working very hard at breathing, they can then also ‘steal’ blood from the legs to meet their own requirement for oxygen, thus impairing leg performance during climbing. Basically, all this respiratory work can lead to chronic fatigue of the breathing muscles, increasing breathlessness and impairing climbing performance.

Inspiratory Muscle Training:

  • Reduces oxygen requirement of exercise in simulated altitude by 8-12%*
  • Reduces cardiac output requirement of exercise in simulated altitude by 14%*
  • Reduces breathing requirement of exercise in simulated altitude by 25%*
  • Increases arterial oxygen saturation by 4%*
  • Increases lung diffusing capacity by 4%*
  • Reduces perceived exertion*
  • Reduces breathlessness*

*Effects of inspiratory muscle training on exercise responses in normoxia and hypoxia

So as part of their pre-expedition training, each team member will be given a POWERbreathe Plus to use as part of their daily training (POWERbreathe Plus Level 2 MR and POWERbreathe Plus Level 3 HR). They will also have the use of a POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link Software for lab quality measurement of four main training indices: training load; inspiratory power; inspiratory flow; energy expenditure.

You can check on the team’s progress by visiting their website www.makalu2014.com but we’ll also be offering updates here on the POWERbreathe website, where you can also find research papers and review articles that look at Inspiratory Muscle Training for High Altitude Training.

POWERbreathe Sponsored Conference – Mountain Medicine: The Science and the Sport

On Tuesday 6th May The Royal Society of Medicine in London held a conference organized by The Military Medicine Section and sponsored by POWERbreathe International Limited and Expedition Medicine.

The conference, ‘Mountain Medicine: The Science and the Sport’, brought together some of the UK’s leading experts on mountain medicine to discuss topics that included the relevance and contribution of the UK military in this field; updates on advances in the understanding of high altitude illness and psychology; and it’s impact on physiology and performance.

Dr John O’Hara, Reader in Sport and Exercise Physiology at Leeds Metropolitan University, presented ‘Effectiveness of pre-acclimatisation strategies for high altitude exposure’ during which he referred to inspiratory muscle training and apnea as strategies “worthy of consideration as both have the potential for positive contributions.”

Dr O’Hara’s speech was accompanied by a slideshow presentation which opened with a slide of the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link Software (the very latest in smart breathing training technology) and a POWERbreathe Classic (the very first inspiratory muscle training devices from POWERbreathe).

During the conference POWERbreathe demonstrated the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link Software to delegates who were given the opportunity to test out this “Gold Standard” portable device that offers innovative lab quality measurements with comprehensive training and test data via the Breathe-Link software. Also of interest was the new POWERbreathe Altitude Systems (PBAS) for altitude simulation, and in particular the range of portable inflatable’s with patented ‘Safety air release system’ technology to prevent accidental over inflation.

We’d like to thank The Royal Society of Medicine, Expedition Medicine and all the experts who made the conference a very informative and beneficial experience.

Highlanders Super Rugby Team Train with POWERbreathe

In December 2012 the Highlanders signed a Global Sponsorship Agreement with POWERbreathe. Since then they’ve been using their POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training devices religiously as part of their training.

The Highlanders are a professional New Zealand rugby union team based in Dunedin that competes in Super Rugby, the largest professional rugby union competition in the Southern Hemishere.

POWERbreathe got together with the Highlanders to help the team specifically target their breathing muscles, using POWERbreathe breathing training devices to exercise the breathing muscles to improve their strength and endurance. This respiratory training would prove extremely beneficial to each team member because in rugby extreme demands are placed on the breathing muscles. All rugby players require a high level of aerobic fitness, lactate tolerance, strength and power; all reasons why POWERbreathe should be an integral part of rugby fitness training.

The Highlanders coaching staff realised the benefits of Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) and have developed a special training programme for the team.  Duncan, from POWERbreathe, visited the Highlanders in March this year (2013) to see how they’d incorporated POWERbreathe training into their routine, and to offer training advice and guidance if needed.

Duncan was welcomed by the coaching staff and team members, all of whom seemed comfortable with their POWERbreathe training, which can be seen in Duncan’s photos on the official POWERbreatheUK Facbeook page, and video.

The ‘fly-on-the-wall’ video shows how all the team use their POWERbreathe in between gym training and during match practice. Michael Lawrence who oversees the compliance said he was “very pleased with the enthusiasm and dedication the players have put into this aspect of their training. They have all stuck with it as they can feel the benefits when running on the field.”

Duncan is back in the UK now but the Highlanders POWERbreathe training continues, and we hope to bring you more news as and when we receive it. We’d like to thank the coaches for their work in developing a POWERbreathe training program for the team, and for implementing it so quickly and thoroughly. Duncan would also like to thank the Highlanders team players and all coaching staff for their hospitality – he’s looking forward to keeping in touch and assisting with training developments.

POWERbreathe and Herbalife 24 Biathlon Team

Herbalife 24 Biathlon Team, the first professional biathlon team that works between Norway and Sweden, have begun using POWERbreathe as part of their training.

Biathlon as a sport has its roots within the Norwegian army and top biathletes are apparently among the fittest athletes on the planet and are famed for controlling their heart rates by breathing correctly so that they’re able to compose themselves between the skiing and shooting phases.

In Biathlon, the biathlete skis distances around a cross-country track that can vary from 6 to 20km. They then stop at a shooting range to shoot two or four times (half in a prone position and half standing), with the skiing distance and number of bouts of shooting depending on the type of competition.

For biathlon, each member of the Herbalife 24 Biathlon Team needs a combination of strength, physical fitness and endurance. This is where POWERbreathe breathing training will help, helping them to control their breathing, make the most of their vital capacity, improving endurance and helping them to recover quickly enough from their skiing in order to control their shooting.

Marie Alkire, shooting coach for the US biathlon team paints a wonderful picture of this very challenge when she says, “Try sprinting full out around the neighborhood track, then stopping to thread a needle.” Your breathing needs to be controlled and not laboured, you need to be able to take a controlled deep breath, exhale slowly – and then shoot.

POWERbreathe breathing training should help the team improve their breathing strength and stamina while skiing, so that they arrive at the range ready to shoot.

Breathing is such an important part of biathlon training. Cross country skiing is an intense aerobic activity requiring both upper and lower body strength as well as cardiovascular stamina, and the biggest challenge in biathlon is going from a state of high adrenergic stimulation with rapid breathing and elevated heart rate to a condition of calm. The key to making this transition is the ability to control breathing.

Each Herbalife 24 Biathlon Team member has been provided with a POWERbreathe Plus and the team will be utilising a POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link software for:

  • Real-time breathing measurement and analysis
  • Import and export of .bre files (breathing file extension) for data sharing
  • Real-time, live test feedback graphical display with enhanced visual feedback
  • Detailed, simultaneous plotting and analysis of data
  • Detailed high resolution records of each session
  • Creation of personalised breathing training sessions
  • Automatic warm-up
  • Automatic cool-down

Each member will use their POWERbreathe Plus before the biathlon to warm up the inspiratory muscles, alleviating the feeling of breathlessness from the start, and again at the end of the biathlon to help speed lactate clearance and aid recovery.

We hope to keep you updated with the Herbalife 24 Biathlon Team’s progress throughout 2013, so please keep visiting the POWERbreathe blog for more information.