POWERbreathe goes to school

In March POWERbreathe were invited to Trinity Catholic High School (science and sports college) in Woodford Green, Essex.

We were asked by one of the teacher’s, Alan Mair, if we’d like to present POWERbreathe and the benefit of this breathing training in sport to Year 9 (14-year-old) pupils in their assembly. Alan, a serious mountaineer and keen marathon runner was already familiar with POWERbreathe as he uses a K4 himself as part of his preparation for both these energetic exploits.

The presentation to 200 Year 9 pupils was very well received, and they were particularly attentive when we shared stories of athletes around the world who were using POWERbreathe, including Italian road bike freestyle rider Vittorio Brumotti and Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Júnior “Cigano” dos Santos.

While there we were also asked if we could talk to an A-Level PE class about the benefits of breathing training. We took along the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link Software so that the pupils could try out this breathing training for themselves and see the strength of their own breathing muscles, in real-time, on screen as they each performed a Strength-Index Test. The A-Level students were really competitive when it came to trying POWERbreathe K5 training as they each did a S-Index test and then discussed their results with their peers, coming back for another go to see if they could better their previous result, and their fellow students! They were even willing to extend this test period into their break time and it was wonderful to see them all competing and laughing at each other, as they realized that training the inspiratory muscles isn’t as easy as it looks.

We hope to have some photos of the day, if permission is given, and if so we’ll share them with you here.

If you’re using POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training in school then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter as we’d love to hear from you.

 

POWERbreathe training for GB Boccia Team

You may have read in our previous blog, GB Olympic Boccia Team Physios impressed by POWERbreathe about our meeting in February with the GB Olympic Boccia team physios and British Paralympic athlete Nigel Murray MBE.

Well since then we’ve had the privilege of being invited to meet the entire GB Boccia team and their coaches, at the Forthbank Performance Sport Centre in the heart of Stirling Sports Village.

We presented POWERbreathe to the coaches and Boccia team who were interested in seeing how inspiratory muscle training with POWERbreathe could help the team with their breathing in general as wheelchair athletes, but also with their core trunk strength and posture for an improved sports performance. It was a really interesting meeting with mutual benefit, as we learnt from the athletes themselves about how they feel their breathing can be impeded from sitting in the wheelchair and how they felt that strengthening their breathing muscles could help their physical health as well as their sports performance.

We took a few photos of the team and coaches trying out the K5 which you can see in the GB Boccia Team album on Facebook.

The Boccia team sports coaches were already very knowledgeable about the respiratory system and the role of breathing in exercise and were therefore quick to understand how POWERbreathe works. They themselves then were able to explain in more detail about the fundamentals of improving breathing strength and stamina to the athletes.

The team and coaches were able to test their own breathing strength using the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link Software and see their results in real-time on screen. Each team member has been provided with a POWERbreathe Plus model so that they can begin their inspiratory muscle training immediately and begin to feel the benefit within the next 4-6 weeks.

We’ll be visiting the team again to see how they’re getting on with their training, but in the meantime read more about POWERbreathe for Wheelchair Sports, or if you already compete in a wheelchair sport then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter pages.

Caroline Kremer, Founder of Just Breathe, checks out the POWERbreathe K5

Caroline Kremer is a qualified Bowen Technique practitioner (European College of Bowen Studies) and uses her qualifications and skills not only to bring muscular, skeletal, emotional and physiological systems back into balance, but also to educate clients to improve breathing patterns and re-discover breathing awareness.

Caroline believes in addressing and treating the whole physical system for long-term good health and uses cutting-edge, drug-free treatment of sports injury, rehabilitation, recovery and maintenance, and for boosting sports performance by “rebooting the lungs”.

Caroline has taken a POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link Software for a period of time to evaluate the benefits of this inspiratory muscle training, testing and real-time breathing measurement and analysis on her clients, including athletes.

Caroline is the founder of Just Breathe, and The Caroline Kremer Method uses a “variety of diagnostic techniques to enable greater awareness of the pattern of the breath”, and we believe POWERbreathe would be a valuable addition to Caroline’s treatment. The Caroline Kremer Method is for sporting enthusiasts aiming for peak performance, which is why we believe POWERbreathe would be such a good fit. POWERbreathe has been used in numerous scientific trials and research and shown to:

  •  Improve inspiratory muscle strength by 31.2%
  • Improve inspiratory muscle endurance by 27.8%
  • Accelerate recovery during repeated sprints by up to 7% (Romer et al., 2002b)
  • Improve cycling time trial performance by 4.6% – equivalent to slashing 3-minutes off a 40k time trial (Romer et al., 2002a)
  • Enable participants to cycle for 33% longer and with lower sense of effort
  • Improve rowing time trial performance by up to 2.2% – equivalent to slashing 60m in a 2km race (Volianitis et al., 2001)
  • Increase swimming performance by up to 3.5% (Kilding et al., 2009)
  • Reduce whole body effort during exercise (Tong et al., 2008)
  • Warm-up the breathing muscles & significantly improved rowing performance and reduced breathlessness in competitive rowers
  • Warm-up the breathing muscles which normal warm-up routines fail to do
  • Speed-up lactate clearance more effectively than traditional active recovery strategies

We will be contacting Caroline after about 6 weeks to see how she’s getting on using the K5 with her clients, and to see if she has some feedback from her own experience of using POWERbreathe, so watch this space.

In the meantime you can see How POWERbreathe Works for yourself, or if you’re already using POWERbreathe, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter.   

Women Police Officers Fail Fitness Test – POWERbreathe Could Help

Nearly 3% of 13,024 police officers have failed to pass their compulsory fitness test, and of those 3% who failed, 70% of them were women (according to a news article published online at BBC News UK which looked at figures provided by 27 forces under the Freedom of Information Act.)

Compulsory police fitness testing for those involved in officer safety training was introduced only last year (2014) in England and Wales for police officers, and what could be missing from their training in preparation for the fitness test, is Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT).

Biologically women have smaller lungs and airways and weaker respiratory muscles, which makes breathing during exercise much harder work. This could be a contributing factor in fitness levels in women, and why more women than men failed the police fitness test.

The study that discovered women really do get more exhausted during exercise than men, ‘Physiological mechanisms of sex differences in exertional dyspnea: Role of neural respiratory motor drive’ revealed that “because of a woman’s smaller size, when she is exercising, her brain needs to send stronger electrical signals to the respiratory muscles, and specifically the diaphragm, than does a man’s in the same situation.”

This revelation that women are more short of breath than men during exercise because their respiratory muscles are more active does not mean that there’s no hope for women. On the contrary, all is not lost because women – in fact all of us – can influence the strength and stamina of our breathing, by exercising our breathing muscles with POWERbreathe.

By incorporating POWERbreathe respiratory muscle training into fitness training 4 – 6 weeks in advance of the police fitness test, women can start off with an advantage as opposed to feeling disadvantaged because of their physiology. By taking just 30 breaths twice a day through POWERbreathe against the adjustable resistance we can all improve our breathing strength and stamina, and for women preparing for their police fitness test, this would help their performance in the Shuttle Run Test, and ultimately during any prolonged foot chases and foot patrols.

Read more about incorporating POWERbreathe IMT into police fitness training, or if you’re a police officer and are already using POWERbreathe, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter pages as we’d appreciate your feedback.

Building a sustainable UK high performance system – include POWERbreathe

As part of a ‘shared vision’ for building a stronger and more sustainable Team GB, the English Institute of Sport (EIS) and UK Sport have announced changes to the UK’s high performance system.

Changes will include a new, evidence-based Mission 2016 tracking tool for supporting the development of all World Class Performance Programmes, and renewed focus on centralising data and analysis on athletes and World Class Programmes’ performance pathways.

The EIS, UK Sport’s science, medicine and technology arm, has made changes that will maximise the impact of the services it offers and provide athletes and coaches with access to world leading expertise.

One key measure will be to create a Performance Solutions team to manage relationships with sports and work with them in developing a Performance Partnership Plan. This will enable the EIS to deliver a ‘holistic range of science, medicine, technology and research services designed to increase the probability of success by optimising training programmes, maximising performances in competition and reducing the number of training days lost to injury.’

“By standing firmly by our “no compromise” approach to investing in the right athletes and sports for the right reasons, developing more transformational relationships with sports, using the best available data and confronting the brutal facts when necessary while capturing and sharing best practice whenever possible, we are well on our way to building a stronger, more sustainable UK high performance system” said Simon Timson, director of performance at UK Sport.

You can read the full article by Tom Walker online here.

One technology that could easily be incorporated into the high performance system for athletes and their coaches is inspiratory muscle training using the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link software.

This world-leading technology which exercises the inspiratory muscles to improve their strength and endurance, will help maximise athletes’ performance and optimise their training, as it can easily be incorporated into a training programme and used for a more beneficial warm-up and faster cool-down too. The revolutionary Breathe-Link software helps coaches provide their athletes with a breathing training programme, training goals and progress reports as it captures data which can be viewed and analysed on screen or in pdf format for later analysis.

Because POWERbreathe is a hand-held, drug-free and easy to use breathing training device, the athletes will find it a manageable training tool to have on board at all times, and as it improves breathing strength and stamina simply by breathing against a resistance (and nothing more arduous) it will keep athletes strong and fit during periods of sports injury.

Read more about why we think the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link software should become an integral part of every athletes training, or if you’re a coach or athlete and are already incorporating POWERbreathe into daily training, then please leave a comment on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook page or Twitter as we’d love to hear from you.

Comparing models in the POWERbreathe Mechanical Series

In our previous blog, Comparing POWERbreathe Mechanical Series with Electronic Series, we looked at the differences between the POWERbreathe Classic mechanical series and the POWERbreathe Plus mechanical series, and the electronic POWERbreathe K-Series.

In this blog we’re going to look at the differences between the mechanical models in the POWERbreathe Classic and POWERbreathe Plus series.

As mentioned previously, the POWERbreathe Classic and POWERbreathe Plus each have three models available:

  • Level 1 (LR)
  • Level 2 (MR)
  • Level 3 (HR)

LEVEL 1 (LR):

Level 1 trains your breathing muscles using a ‘Light Resistance’ calibrated inspiratory load, or ‘LR’.

Level 1 was previously known as the Wellness model.

Level 1 is an entry level model for those new to breathing training and for those with breathing problems (e.g. asthma) and features an adjustable variable training load.

Load Setting Range

LEVEL 2 (MR):

Level 2 trains your breathing muscles using a ‘Medium Resistance’ calibrated inspiratory load, or ‘MR’.

Level 2 was previously known as the Fitness model.

Level 2 is for those who are moderately fit to very fit and features an adjustable variable training load.

Load Setting Range

LEVEL 3 (HR):

Level 3 trains your breathing muscles using a ‘Heavy Resistance’ calibrated inspiratory load, or ‘HR’.

Level 3 was previously known as the Sports Performance model.

Level 3 is only for those who have reached the maximum loading on a Level 2 model.

Load Setting Range

Compare POWERbreathe series and their features.

We hope this overview has helped to clarify the differences between the mechanical models in the POWERbreathe Classic and POWERbreathe Plus series. If you have any other questions you would like answers to then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter as we’d be happy to answer them.

Changes in Young Smokers after Inspiratory Exercise

This research in the August 2013 edition of Clinical Autonomic Research addresses ‘Autonomic changes in young smokers: acute effects of inspiratory exercise’.

One major consequence of smoking is the development of cardiovascular diseases or CVD. These are all the diseases of the heart and circulation. CVD includes coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and aortic disease. Smoking is one of the risk factors for CVD. The reason for this is because the toxins in tobacco can damage and narrow the coronary arteries. Consequently, this makes young smokers more vulnerable to coronary heart disease.

Purpose of research

Little was known about the early consequences of smoking and the acute effects of a single inspiratory muscle exercise session (IME). This research set out to evaluate the acute effects of inspiratory muscle exercise on cardiac parameters of young smokers.

Evaluation of young smokers

After the acute inspiratory muscle exercise session, researchers evaluate blood pressure and lactate. Furthermore, they record respiratory rate (RR) interval for posterior analysis of heart rate variability, before and after inspiratory muscle exercise.

Findings indicate that a single session of inspiratory muscle exercise is able to reduce systolic blood pressure. Additionally, it improves parasympathetic and sympathetic modulations in young smokers.

“The results of this study highlight the importance of furthering research on this area to better elucidate the acute and chronic effects of inspiratory muscle training on early cardiovascular and pulmonary changes of cigarette smoking.”

Comparing POWERbreathe Mechanical Series with Electronic Series

We’re often asked what the difference is between the various series of POWERbreathe models, so we thought we’d help by writing a quick overview of each series.

In a later blog we will look at comparing the difference between each of the Mechanical Models.

MECHANICAL SERIES’ VERSUS ELECTRONIC SERIES

The models in the two mechanical series’ of POWERbreathe require their variable load training to be adjusted mechanically.
The models in the electronic series of POWERbreathe feature an electronically controlled resistance valve which automatically provides the appropriate training load.

The Mechanical Series

POWERbreathe Classic was the first mechanical POWERbreathe series to be developed. It is an entry level series and ideal for those new to breathing training.

POWERbreathe Plus was the second mechanical POWERbreathe series to be developed. It has a more contemporary and ergonomic design than the Classic which results in a 65% improvement in airflow dynamic and therefore a more comfortable and efficient user experience.

Mechanical Series Models

Each series (POWERbreathe Classic and POWERbreathe Plus) has three models available within it, so there is a model to suit everyone, whatever level of fitness or breathing strength.

  • Level 1 (LR) – Entry level for new users and those with breathing problems (e.g. asthma).
  • Level 2 (MR) – For those who are moderate to very fit.
  • Level 3 (HR) – Only for those who have reached the maximum loading on Level 2.

What do the different colours signify?

When the first three POWERbreathe Classic units were manufactured colours were used for ease of identification: green for Level 1 (LR); blue for Level 2 (MR); red for Level 3 (HR).

The same three colours were then used for the second POWERbreathe series: POWERbreathe Plus. Later in the development of the POWERbreathe Plus series limited edition colours were introduced (e.g. Amethyst) then later still special edition colours: Special Edition Black and Special Edition Pink.

The Electronic Series

The POWERbreathe K-Series is the third POWERbreathe series to be developed and is the world’s first intelligent digital breathing training device. It is the only advanced electronic series with training feedback. Because it uses auto-optimising Inspiratory Muscle Training technology, it takes the guesswork out of training. Unlike the mechanical series’, the electronic K-Series offers advanced, adaptable and personalised respiratory coaching.

Electronic Series Models

  • POWERbreathe K1 – Entry level with basic essential features.
  • POWERbreathe K2 – Intermediate model with more advanced features. 
  • POWERbreathe K3 – Advanced model with yet more advanced features plus graphical history and warm-up/cool-down modes. 
  • POWERbreathe K4 with Breathe-Link Software – Elite training, testing and monitoring for individuals.
  • POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link Software – Elite training, testing and monitoring for individuals, personal trainers, groups and team coaching environment as the K5 Breathe-Link software offers personalised breathing training sessions.

Compare POWERbreathe series and their features.

Find out more about the development of POWERbreathe in History of POWERbreathe.

We hope this overview has helped to clarify the differences between the mechanical and electronic series of POWERbreathe. If you have any other questions you would like answers to then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter as we’d be happy to answer them.

POWERbreathe K5 at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre

Last week POWERbreathe visited Elite Cycling Performance Coaching, the cycling facilities at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

Elite Cycling’s owner Paul Mill is a former professional triathlete, semi-pro road rider and time-triallist, and his company is based in the highly regarded Crystal Palace Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Centre where Elite Cycling provide cycle training, coaching, advice and support to cyclists of all abilities.

Elite Cycling’s cycling facilities are found within the award winning Crystal Palace Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Centre and is where they carry out all their physical assessments, in-door sessions, bike fittings and other biomechanical analysis tests – and now, breathing analysis using the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link Software for MAC and PC!

Cyclists will be educated about the benefits of breathing training using POWERbreathe Plus models as well as being offered advanced monitoring and analysis of their breathing training using the POWERbreathe K5 which will now form a part of Elite Cycling’s Training Programmes.

Using the K5 cyclists will have the opportunity to perform a single breath test that will measure their inspiratory muscle strength, peak inspiratory flow rate and inhaled volume, all from just one breath. This can be used as a benchmark for improvement.

After training with their own individual POWERbreathe units, cyclists can then come back to Elite Cycling to have their Strength-Index (cmH2O), Power (Watts), Flow (L/s), Energy (Joules) and Volume (Litres) monitored and analysed for assessment.

We’d like to wish Elite Cycling all the best with their new breathing training programme, and to say that we’d be more than happy to offer any further assistance or advice that may be required.

Read more about why you should include POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training as part of your cycling training, 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.

POWERbreathe and Mailsports at ASA Swimming Championships

On Sunday 26th May POWERbreathe attended the ASA South East Regional Age Group Championships in Crawley, West Sussex, with swim specialists Mailsports.

These Swimming Championships take place annually on dates designated for Regional Championships by swimming’s governing body, the ASA and by the Region Swimming Group.

This heavily subscribed event was held at the K2 Leisure Centre, a state of the art sports facility in Crawley on Saturday and Sunday.

Mailsports is one of the UK and Europe’s leading swim specialist retailers, and they recently brought POWERbreathe into their portfolio, so our very own Duncan from POWERbreathe teamed up with Mailsports at the event on Sunday.

Boys and girls aged 10 – 14 years took part in Freestyle events in the morning, and Freestyle, Breastroke, Butterfly and Backstroke events in the afternoon.

Duncan set up a K5 centre in the Leisure Centre where he presented POWERbreathe to the swimmers, and was delighted when 12-year-old Henry popped over to tell him how he’d bought POWERbreathe at Nick Gilligham’s Art of Swimming Course in Sevenoaks. Henry’s a keen swimmer and had been using POWERbreathe for about 6-months and told Duncan how it really helped him with breath holding while underwater, and with his breathing while swimming in general.

The age group swimmers were able to try out POWERbreathe for themselves on the K5 and see their breathing strength and performance in real-time on screen. Duncan explained the benefits of strengthening their breathing muscles for swimming, such as helping them to overcome the challenge they face in trying to inhale as much oxygen as possible in the shortest time possible. POWERbreathe helps with this challenge as it exercises the muscles used to inhale, making them stronger over a period of training – and for these age group swimmers who already lead packed lives, any training that takes no longer then 5-minutes is a bonus! They understood how POWERbreathe could help them improve their swimming performance and that by making their breathing muscles stronger, their breathing wouldn’t tire as quickly which would enable them to train and perform better, and for longer. Several of the swimmers went away with POWERbreathe Plus units, some with the POWERbreathe Plus Level 1 (LR) models, and some of the stronger, older swimmers with the POWERbreathe Plus Level 2 (MR) models. There was also a lot of interest in the K-Series, particularly the K5 which always seems to draw a crowd!

Before each swimming event there was a warm-up period, but like many sports warm-up, a specific respiratory warm-up was missing and yet would be hugely beneficial to these swimmers. By warming up the breathing muscles with POWERbreathe before any sport will reduce the feeling of excessive breathlessness at the start, and research has shown that a standard warm-up does fail to warm-up the inspiratory muscles.

Read more about why you should consider incorporating POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training as part of your swimming training, and if you’re already using POWERbreathe as part of your training, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum as we’d love to hear from you. You can also read more about using POWERbreathe in swimming training on our Blog.