GB Boccia on road to Rio after POWERbreathe training

Members of Team GB Boccia, including Britain’s most successful Boccia player Nigel Murray MBE (above), are using POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training in preparation for Rio.

Boccia players use POWERbreathe IMT

GB Olympic Boccia Team Physio’s decided to introduce POWERbreathe IMT to their TeamGB in 2014. They have been training with it ever since. The team are using POWERbreathe to help them with their breathing in general. Wheelchair athletes will find breathing an added challenge. Players representing ParalympicsGB at Rio 2016 are David Smith, Josh Rowe, Nigel Murray MBE, Claire Taggart, Patrick Wilson, Scott McCowan, Jamie McCowan, Kieran Steer, Stephen McGuire and Evie Edwards.

British Paralympian uses POWERbreathe IMT

Nigel Murray is the winner of two gold medals, silver and bronze in the 2000, 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games. He is also a local to our area, living in Royal Leamington Spa. And because Nigel lives locally we were very proud to welcome him to our office recently. We will be posting photos taken during Nigel’s visit on our POWERbreathe Facebook page. As you will see, we are all in awe of this medal winner! And Nigel very generously let us handle the medals which we very reluctantly handed back.

How POWERbreathe IMT will be helping

Boccia England are using POWERbreathe IMT to help inflate their lungs fully. It will also assist in putting their breathing muscles and chest wall through a beneficial range of movement and enable their rib cage to expand to its greatest. Team members are also using POWERbreathe for improving core trunk strength and posture. All of this will improve their performance.

Improving Boccia team’s breathing

Earlier in August we met up with the GB Boccia team at the Surrey Performance Centre. We were there to see how they were progressing with their breathing training. This is the last quarterly test of their breathing before they set off for Rio. We had a meeting with Physiotherapist Bob Smith and Chris Wagg, Performance Scientist at EIS. We were also able to catch up with members of the GB Squad. Chris has been recording all breathing data in his own, specifically tailored spreadsheet. He’ll be using this to analyse breathing improvements. The great news is that their results all show that they’re improving. All their areas of breathing, including Power, Volume and Flow Rate were improving. Everyone was delighted with this progress, including Senior Physiotherapist at English Institute of Sport, Dawn Ibrahim.

How GB Boccia are taking training up a notch

POWERbreathe IMT is being used in sport-specific scenarios in other sports. The Boccia team are also developing their own exercises. They are starting to use their POWERbreathe IMT with resistance bands. This combined training will help them develop core strength and improve stability. POWERbreathe IMT is now an important part of their training.

GB Boccia uses POWERbreathe K-Series & Plus

Twenty TeamGB members are using their POWERbreathe Plus for daily training. Their coach is using the POWERbreathe K5 with Breath-Link Live Feedback Software to test and review their progress. The K5 is perfect for this as it is able to store 1200 sessions per user. And it will store a maximum of 30 users.

What next for Boccia

The Boccia team are so pleased with their breathing improvements that they have recommended POWERbreathe IMT to Paralympic Archery and GB Gymnastics. We are very grateful to them. Boccia will be held in Riocentro, in the Barra district of Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in September. It will include a maximum of 104 athletes who will be competing in seven events. We wish our Boccia Team GB good luck for another successful games. Obviously we will be following GB Boccia with great interest and pride. Good luck to everyone!

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GB Boccia team’s POWERbreathe progress report

In April we were honoured to meet the GB Boccia team and coaches to whom we presented POWERbreathe.

The team members and coaches were interested to see how inspiratory muscle training with POWERbreathe could help them with their breathing in general but also with their core trunk strength and posture for an improved sports performance. The athletes informed of us how their breathing can be impeded from sitting in the wheelchair while playing the sport, and how they felt that strengthening their breathing muscles could help their physical health as well as their sports performance. You can read more about our first visit to meet the team in our blog, POWERbreathe Training for GB Boccia Team.

During our previous visit we tested each team member’s inspiratory strength, flow and volume using the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link Software and left them each with a POWERbreathe Plus model of their own to use for daily training. Well on the 12th June we were delighted to meet up with the team again and run follow-up tests to see if they’d improved – and to see if they’d all stuck to their training of 30 breaths twice a day.

As before we were warmly welcomed and it was great to see the team and coaches again. We tested each team member on the K5 using the Breathe-Links software and found extremely encouraging results. Each and every athlete had improved his or her Strength-Index, Volume and Flow rates!

Three of the athletes found using POWERbreathe on its own a little difficult to use, so we provided each of them with a respiratory mask to help make it easier and more comfortable, and it meant that they too could continue with their daily training.

We are so grateful to the Boccia team and their coaches for making us feel welcome, and delighted that they each were able to actually see the improvements they’ve made for themselves. We look forward to reporting back on their continued improvement when we meet up with them again.

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. You can also read about how POWERbreathe has been used by other wheelchair athletes in our Wheelchair Sports blog.

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.

GB Olympic Boccia Team Physios impressed by POWERbreathe

POWERbreathe were invited to meet up with EIS (English Institute of Sport) Boccia team physios, Dawn Ibrahim from EIS Sheffield and Bob Smith (Conditioning consultant coach) from Loughborough along with one of their players, Nigel Murray MBE, at Nigel’s local gym, Nuffield Fitness & Wellbeing Centre in Warwick.

The purpose of the meeting was to allow British Paralympic athlete Nigel to test out the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link software. Nigel is a seven times national champion and triple Paralympic medal winner in the sport of Boccia.

Boccia, like bowls, is a highly tactical and very accurate target ball sport and although originally created for people with cerebral palsy, is now played by athletes with severe disabilities that affect their motor skills. It can be played by individuals, pairs or teams of three. To be eligible to compete at this top level, athletes must be in a wheelchair, as a result of cerebral palsy, or another neurological condition that has similar effects, such as muscular dystrophy or traumatic brain injury.

The aim of Boccia is to throw leather balls as close to a target ball, or jack, as possible, using hands, feet or sometimes an assisted device. At the end of each round the distance from the balls to the jack is measured and points awarded accordingly with the winner being the player with the highest number of points.

Because athletes are in a wheelchair while playing this sport, breathing can be an added challenge. When part of the body is misaligned, through injury or other conditions, a whole host of problems can arise for someone who’s seated all day, including improper breathing and imbalance. When the main trunk of an athlete’s body is balanced, they can reach to play without losing balance and they’re able to propel their wheelchair efficiently. Poor posture in the wheelchair, such as rounded shoulders and back, will also interfere with looking up, reaching, breathing and digestion, so a strong trunk/core and good posture can all help to improve breathing.

POWERbreathe can not only help improve breathing in wheelchair athletes, but it can also help improve their core trunk strength and posture – all of which can help these Boccia athletes improve their performance. Deep breathing training with POWERbreathe will help to fully inflate the lungs and puts the respiratory muscles and chest wall through a good range of movement and allows the rib cage to expand optimally.

So we can understand why the GB Olympic Boccia Team Physios started looking into POWERbreathe, and we’re delighted to be providing POWERbreathe training to the team at their next meeting.

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.