So, week two has started and am thoroughly enjoying the POWERbreathe. The best news is that my Test scores have gone up. I did a test after 3 days, and my results had already gone up to 189.8. As I mentioned in my first Blog, the first few sessions were just about getting used to the POWERbreathe and developing the technique.
The best news is that after 2 days of training the results started to improve and I felt like I am making some improvements.
One of the great features about POWERbreathe K series is that it has an auto-level feature. As I understand it, based on your first 3 breaths, the unit automatically sets the training load for that session. You can set this feature to vary from very light, light, moderate, heavy, very heavy. From my use, I have only used the very light and light settings. One slightly annoying think about the Breathe-Link software is that it doesn’t remember your setting from the previous session, so you have to change it each time you train. Hopefully they will update that with a software update. If you train with this setting on the unit, it will however remember what setting you had it on.
I have also tried training with and without the breathe-link software this week and I must say that I prefer using the computer software. Not only does it allow me to visualise each breath but you can easily look at your training afterwards and see the progression over the week. Training with the unit is great because it is portable but short of writing down the results afterwards I do not have a record of what I am doing, and I am of the digital age where I need everything done electronically and automatically.
Check out my website for detailed screenshots of the tests.
I have just completed week 9 with the Powerbreathe.
This week I have moved up to level 5.5 and still doing my 10 breaths at half load, 30 at full load and finishing with 10 at half load.
In December I generally start to feel very tight in my chest when under exercise stress and this does affect my cycling as I struggle to get enough breath in.
I hope I am not tempting fate here, for the first time I can remember this year my breathing is significantly easier and this makes exercise much more productive.
If this continues I will consider using the Powerbreathe has been a success for me.
The POWERbreathe unit arrived just as I was about to leave for the station for a four day trip to Paris, so I stuck the box into my bag and left. Which meant I did not have the opportunity to view the DVD before I started using the unit.
I already knew a little about diaphragm breathing but the instruction booklet contains no pointers to how important this is in the breathing training regime. In fact it says when describing how to inhale through the unit, “Take in as much air as you can, straightening your back and expanding your chest”. It mentions the diaphragm only once on the inside cover simply saying, the muscles used to inhale are primarily the diaphragm and rib cage. I mention this because anyone who cannot or does not view the DVD will almost inevitably use an incorrect breathing practice.
The DVD however explains it very well, so it is vital that new users watch it. So for the first few days I was not using the correct breathing practice, after I had viewed the DVD I started training again with a zero setting on the POWERbreathe unit.
As some of my sessions didn’t start particularly well in terms of the correct breathing techniques I now do what could be called a ‘warm up’. I do 15 correct breaths without the Powerbreathe, this reminds me how I should breathe and perhaps in some small way does prepare the muscles for some harder work when using the Powerbreathe. I find this gives me a much better start to the 30 training breaths.
I intend to use the Powerbreathe for ‘fitness and sports performance’, so I will gradually keep increasing the setting until I do find failure, but I am not rushing up the scale because I want to achieve good breathing practice, rather than just a high setting.
So after one week of consistent morning and evening training…..
1) I have moved the setting gradually up to TWO.
2) I feel like I am completing the training session with a better breathing practice.
3) I do have a feeling around the diaphragm area that suggests I have been training something, but as I do lots of other training this may or may not be due to using the Powerbreathe.
Short of breath is also known as suffering from dyspnoea or suffering from breathing difficulties. In fact if you suffer from any respiratory condition you are more than likely to be short of breath. Being short of breath can have serious repercussions for your health if not addressed. Not everyone knows or recognises the symptoms of a person suffering from shortness of breath, so here are the common signs and symptoms:
- Rapid breathing
- Breathing through pursed lips
- Constant feeling of being winded or unable to speak
- Sitting down with hands on your knees
- Using chest and neck muscles to breathe
However, adopting some breathing techniques can help you breathe more efficiently. One of the most common breathing exercises is breathing through pursed lips. When breathing through pursed lips you are using less energy to breathe and you can relax too. If you are short of breath, pursed lip breathing helps you slow down the pace of your breathing making you feel less short of breath.
If you do any activity that makes you short of breath you should always use pursed lip breathing. These activities include:
Pursed lip breathing should be practised frequently and can be done anywhere at any time. However, try and practice the technique at least 4-5 times a day particularly when you are:
- Watching television
- Using your computer
- Reading a book or magazine
How do I practice pursed lip breathing
Pursed lip breathing is very simple to do and requires little or no effort. However, you need to be totally relaxed, especially your neck and shoulder muscles. You also need to be sitting comfortably in a chair with your feet firmly on the ground. So, here are the steps in order:
- Breathe in (inhale) very slowly through your nose for two counts.
- As you breathe in you should feel your tummy get tighter.
- Pucker your lips as though you are going to blow or whistle.
- Breathe out (exhale) slowly through your lips for four or more counts.
It is important you should exhale normally and do not force the air out. It is equally important that you do not hold your breath when you are practising pursed lip breathing. These steps should be repeated until your breathing slows down. Pursed lip breathing is great for people who suffer from short of breath symptoms and for people with respiratory conditions.
This week has been by far the most progressive of all the weeks I’ve been training on the POWERbreathe, I have finally been able to up the resistance to 4! I’m sticking to between 3.5-4 depending on how tired I am after training as the Loughborough University swim squad pre season program is now under way! This means lots of cross training and can mean feeling out of you depth at times ( no pun intended) due to the varied methods in which we can train our bodies, this can be a whole mix of things such as circuits, pool based circuits, spinning, medicine ball sets, core sets and running, however unfortunately due to my injuries, running is off the list I’m told by the physio.
I really like pre season training as it’s so varied and it also means my injuries are much less problematic as the repetitious nature of the actions are naturally reduced once you mix it up a bit are continually changing the exercises. Pre season training normally lasts most of September and sometimes into early October on occasions, then we get into more of a swimming based shedule and routine for the rest of the year. That means moving back to 4:30am starts three times a week and afternoons/ evenings swimming thousand and thousands of meters per week! Not to mention the gym and circuit sets aswell which are just as hard! I absolutely love it though, and I mean that truthfully, there’s a very strange sense of satisfaction getting up that early and training until you’ve nothing left to give, then a nap and a good meal and you do it all again in the evening 6 days a week! It just becomes addictive in the end, you adapt and adjust to it so much that you thrive off of it and depend on training so much to almost regulate yourself, it’s a brilliant feeling and something I will never give up trying to achieve.
Training and swimming have become a part off who I am, and I will never truly stop, I will always want to exercise as I pretty much have since I can remember and it’s a brilliant thing to have that close connection with ones fitness, health and body that comes from such intense and regular exercise. All this has been helped massively with adding in my POWERbreathe training, it really does make you less breathless and I can say from a swimmer’s perspective it increases performance. Also, when I couldn’t push myself in training due to injuries or niggles I had to find a way to keep my lungs and breathing muscles in shape, the POWERbreathe facilitated that and gave me the boost I needed.
Hi everyone I’m back at last with my 20th journal it’s been a while!!! So I was off on holiday there in sunny Spain for 3 weeks and then last week was just mental with work so I didn’t get the opportunity to catch up with you all. You’ll be please to know I packed my trainers and PowerBreathe for their holidays too though I wasn’t quite as productive as I had of hoped!! When I landed it was 41 in the shade and suffering from asthma it did take me a couple of days to adjust to the humidity and I also to decrease the resistance on my PowerBreathe as I couldn’t do it at the level I’d reached.
After a couple of days (and now behind already with my training) I decided I had to face the run…though dreaded it. I decided the only way I was going to be able to do was if it was first thing in the morning and getting up at 630am on your holidays isn’t fun! I found a route that was 8miles in total so the first time I went it was “interesting” my chest and throat ended up hurting a lot probably because I was trying to breathe too hard even at that time it was roasting and the longer I was out the hotter it was getting and the less oxygen there appeared to be so I walked more than normal. Nevertheless I persevered and did the same run 3 days in a row just to see if I would improve any…lol I didn’t!! I then took the next couple of days off and I have to admit I was pretty defeated at how hard I found it…and now starting to panic about being behind with the marathon training. Few days later I decided to give it another go and did it for the following 3 days in a row…the first day was better than the rest as when I went on the second day my chest and throat hurt from the previous day so that day and the following weren’t so good unfortunately. It has to be said though even though I did feel like I was going to pass out on a few occasions doing the 8milers during the day my breathing (even with sore chest muscles) was better. Now way behind with my training I was still very deflated so I planned different routes with what I hoped was better air quality as I had been running through desert kind of land through salt lakes I decided to head for the sea and away from snake land so I took a couple of days off and then aimed for a 14 miler. This was tough as the sun was fully out in all its glory and hot about 6 miles in and there is only so much water one can carry – it has to be said I hated every moment it felt like I was constantly struggling for air and was extremely happy to get back home. The next day I did 13 miles but I completed different route and I included the pier which is a mile long so I ran up and down it about 5 times and then from home to it and back home again. Halleluiah there was air here at least but about hour in it was so warm and so bright it was hard going….I passed a chemist on the way home and it told me it was 31degrees at that time of the morning! I only managed one more run when I was there just 8miles and again it wasn’t the best. I was supposed to complete two 18milers when I was there but I honestly just couldn’t have done it in the heat and lack of air!!
So that leads to last week then back in rainy Northern Ireland just home I decided I better get back on track asap. So hit body attack and did an 8miler as well. I think I had quickened up to my surprise as the runs on holiday were pretty shocking! Then the next day I did 14 miles which was a huge amount quicker than I’d ever ran before…granted I did want to pass out at the end but still I was quite chuffed with myself I’m no speedy gonazles by any stretch of the imagination but for me it was good so perhaps all that torture on holidays had paid off!! This week now as I know I am behind with training its full steam ahead starting to panic now but heh there’s no getting out of it so I’ve got get the trainers on and get back to it!! In case there are any kind souls out there I’m running the Dublin marathon for Marie Curie Cancer Care and any spare pennies would be greatly appreciated www.justgiving.com/andreacunningham
My daily POWERbreathe training is going OKish, especially since I have been quite exhausted all week following last week’s excursions.
I haven’t been swimming this week, though it’s a matter of conserving my energy until things improve again. Hence not a lot to report this week but I did do my Pilates on Monday and went to my neuro physio on Tuesday; she spent most of the time calming my muscles down and realigning them, plus I have been doing a light Pilates routine each night. So all in all, not too bad.
My brother-in-law’s 50th birthday party was excellent – the food, the music and the company. It was a late night, but I was not as late leaving as others… I think the last person left at 3am!
As I promised last week, here are the results from my POWERbreathe K3:
- Load 3.4 cmH2O
- Power 4.7 Watts
- Volume 2.1 Litres
- T-index 89% – High
Looking through the description of the statistic results in the POWERbreathe booklet I realise there is definite room for improvement. So now I have declared my results (that’s the hard bit) I will give you a regular update every 4 weeks. There’s nothing quite like sharing your results with others to make you work extra hard to improve them.
Just took another set of readings and am quite excited! It’s 9 days since the last post and there have been more definite improvements for me. Laura is very much looking to catching up where she left off when I meet up with her again. I haven’t managed to do the exercises twice every day, but I have managed at least one set of 30 breaths everyday.
I thought perhaps I wouldn’t see as much improvement as I would have liked. But I got a clue to my developing breath control while singing for a wedding in the chapel of the Royal Hospital Chelsea on Saturday.
My ability to sustain long phrases is definitely better.
I have been using the level 3 setting on the POWERbreathe until today, but tomorrow I will start on level 4 because it currently feels easier to do the exercises on the current level than when I started on level 0.
I’ll keep you posted.
For more detailed results, read more at the Music Tutors