Mick on Everest – with POWERbreathe

What a great photo share from Mick on Everest – we don’t see many photos like this! Mick’s challenging himself to climb the North Side of Mount Everest without the aid of supplementary oxygen as a means of raising money for disadvantaged and disabled children in his local area in Cumbria. Mick’s been preparing for the challenge of breathing at altitude by training with his POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training device (IMT). In order to compensate for the thinner air at altitude Mick’s lungs will have to work much harder and his breathing will be pushed to its limits at high altitude, so training his breathing muscles with his POWERbreathe breathing trainer will improve his breathing strength and stamina and reduce breathing fatigue. This should also help reduce his physiological and perceptual stress during his ascent. POWERbreathe IMT high-altitude benefits: In a 2001 scientific study1 POWERbreathe IMT was shown to reduce the force/effort associated with ascent to high altitude. And in another scientific study (2000)2 it concluded that POWERbreathe IMT attenuates the impairment of inspiratory muscle strength induced by ascent to high altitude. Mick’s ‘summit window’ is around mid-May and he hopes to return in June, but now, as you can see in his photo, he’s at Base Camp, and we wish him much success and good luck for his ascent. References: 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.  

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Train with POWERbreathe to perform your best at altitude

An article in Outside magazine reviewed research that found that by training your respiratory muscles you can help yourself to perform better with less oxygen – a definite advantage if you’re planning a trip to altitude. The article refers to a study conducted in 2007 that revealed improvements in ‘exercise’ at an altitude of about 10,000 feet (3,048 metres) after 4 weeks of IMT. Results showed blood oxygen levels during exercise were higher and because the respiratory muscles were stronger the participants were able to handle the demands of breathing in thin air more easily which reduced their total oxygen usage. Participants also reported a reduction in breathing effort and discomfort. Dr. Mitch Lomax has lead several research studies in this area and states in the article, “Based on what we currently know, IMT is something that I would recommend prior to a trip to altitude.” In her studies Dr. Lomax used POWERbreathe IMT for respiratory muscle training. The respiratory muscles, primarily the diaphragm and intercostals weigh between 3 to 5 kilos (7 and 11 pounds) and consume energy and fatigue like any other muscle. And just like any other muscle they can be trained. By using POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) devices you’ll be training in the most controlled, scientific manner, as POWERbreathe IMT has undergone scientific testing to establish the most beneficial protocol and all IMT devices are calibrated to provide reliable load testing time after time.

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Inspiratory Muscle Training, Altitude, and Arterial Oxygen Desaturation: A Preliminary Investigation

“Specific inspiratory muscle training (IMT) has been shown to significantly attenuate the fall in arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2) during exhaustive exercise while breathing a hypoxic gas mixture of 14% oxygen. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of IMT on resting oxygen saturation over a range of altitudes in healthy individuals.”


“IMT can attenuate the fall in resting oxygen saturation, but only at altitudes of 4880m and above. Conversely, IMT had no effect on resting levels of dyspnea as measured by the Borg Score.”

Read Inspiratory Muscle Training, Altitude, and Arterial Oxygen Desaturation: A Preliminary Investigation >

Respiratory Muscle Training and Cognitive Function Exercising at Altitude


Respiratory Muscle Training and Cognitive Function Exercising at Altitude
Quackenbush J, Duquin A, Helfer S, Pendergast DR.

This study, published in Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance (AMHP), formerly Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, examined the effects that voluntary isocapnic hyperventilatory training of the respiratory muscles (VIHT) has on selected measures of executive functioning, including working memory and processing speed at simulated altitude up to 12,000 ft.

The study concluded VIHT improved processing speed and working memory during exercise at altitude.

Read the full article here >

Team POWERbreathe UK – Andy Bruce & Charlotte Carritt prepare for Challenge Roth and Transalpine-Run

Andy and Lotte are endurance runners. Andy has previously raced in the Goretex Transalpine Run – a multi-day footrace across the Alps of approximately 270-315km in 8 days over mountainous terrain. With the prospect of running Challenge Roth and Transalpine-Run ahead of them, incorporating POWERbreathe seemed to be essential for strengthening their breathing muscles to improve their stamina for the challenge that altitude poses on their breathing comfort.

Having experienced the effect 3000m altitude had on their breathing, Andy contacted us to see if he and Lotte would benefit from using POWERbreathe to improve their breathing strength and stamina, as well as improve running performance . Well here’s Andy’s first blog about training for these two endurance events, including their POWERbreathe training.

“So this week hasn’t turned out quite as planned, but it could be worse.

On Monday, I (more or less) completed my 30 days of running. (30 mins running every day for 30 days); a small challenge I had taken up for a good boost to my run training in the run up to Roth. I say more or less as I had technically let slip on the 26th (after zero sleep from a poorly timed uni assignment) but made it up with a double run on the Friday. Technical completion or not, I had achieved the desired outcome, I was running well, and had a good mix of interval work in there too. As I am sure you will realise, April had also been a bit soggy, so I was pleased that I had stuck it out.

All I had to tackle on Tuesday was my final exam of the year, before I could look forward to getting ready for a week in Lanzarote, training (but also relaxing) with Lotte.  However, on Monday night, I came down with a nasty bought of gastroenteritis. It was then a race to recover for some decent training in Lanzarote.

After 3 days off, I guess this signals the start of the last big push before Roth, and then of course Transalpine. In relation to the latter, further good news comes in the form of team sponsorship by POWERbreathe. Lotte and I will now officially run as Team POWERbreathe UK and blog on our training with the devices in the run up to the race. I have been using mine for a while, and have noticed significant benefits in my breathing during swimming and during interval work, but really expect to reap the rewards when it comes to running at altitude. Hopefully we will both be able to give a balanced and realistic account of what it is like to train for triathlon and multi-day eventing using POWERbreathe, and also an insight into some useful hints and tips regarding its usage.

Anyway, that’s enough for now. Off for some dinner and then to bed before some biking and running tomorrow.”


You can read Andy’s full report on his own blog about endurance racing and sport psychology.

Everyone here at POWERbreathe Towers would like to wish them well, and if you too would like to send your good wishes, please leave a comment here.