Training: Get some air

Our POWERbreathe friends and distributor in the Netherlands, Trainjelongen, contacted us as they were delighted to see an article about how training your breathing muscles can improve cycling performance. It appeared in the Cycling magazine, ‘Fiets’, which has the largest circulation for cycling magazines in the Benelux.

The reason for their delight? Well the article, originally written by Nick Morgan from Bike Radar/Cycling Plus and translated into Dutch by Fiets magazine for their readership, discusses ‘evidence that improving breathing ability may be more important than previously thought, and that endurance athletes can improve simply by paying attention to their breathing off the bike.’

The article, ‘Training: Get some air’, firstly sets out the two parts of the breathing process:

  1. The role played by the lungs which expand to take in oxygen and contract to expel carbon dioxide.
  2. The role played by the blood which transports oxygen from the lungs to the muscles and then transports carbon dioxide back to be expired.

Nick discusses how exercise physiologists in the past completely discounted the lungs and placed importance on oxygen transportation instead, because they saw that lung size or capacity couldn’t be altered after exercise training and therefore concluded that the lungs placed no limitation on exercise performance. What they did do instead, was to concentrate on oxygen transportation which did benefit from training.

That was then however and this is now, as these theories have been challenged. A group of scientists ‘agreed that lung ventilation had no beneficial effect on endurance performance but realised that expanding and contracting the lungs required muscles. These muscles use energy, just like any other, so they reasoned that if these muscles could be trained to become more efficient then performance might improve.’

Professor Alison McConnell of Brunel University established that “When we exercise we work the inspiratory muscles pretty hard and this triggers a reflex causing blood vessels in our limbs to constrict,” she says. “We showed this using the calf muscle. Yet after breathing training, the same exercise did not trigger the reflex, meaning more blood flowed to the calf and performance improved.”

Large studies which featured cyclists, rowers and runners agree with the above conclusion that a small but significant improvement is possible.

You don’t need to take just Professor McConnell’s word for it… The State University of New York took 15 competitive athletes and tested the theory. They got the athletes to undertake 30 minutes of daily breathing exercises for 4-weeks to see if it boosted their endurance during time-trials. “It did, by an average of 4% compared to controls. This is reinforced by two earlier studies showing that breathing exercises improved 25km and 40km time-trial performance by 2.5 and 2 per cent respectively.”

The article refers to POWERbreathe as a method of training these important breathing muscles, but sadly is incorrect in its description which states POWERbreathe trains both inspiratory and expiratory muscles, which it doesn’t. There is currently no definitive, comprehensive study that shows any benefit to training the expiratory muscles.

For those cyclists wishing to utilise this breathing training to their advantage, McConnell recommends 30 breaths twice a day using the POWERbreathe for four to six weeks in a relaxed position, and then when this feels easy to do, continue the training in the aerobar position so that the breathing muscles get used to working in the same state they would be in when cycling.

The article continues on to discuss altitude training, yoga and Pilates, and you can read the full article online, ‘Training: Get some air’.

Read more about why you should include POWERbreathe IMT 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 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 in Pharmacy Business

On Thursday February 14th 2013, Pharmacy Business showcased POWERbreathe. Pharmacy Business is a monthly magazine especially for independent and community pharmacists. Here’s the feature that appeared online:

POWERbreathe – strengthening your breathing muscles

POWERbreathe strengthens and conditions your breathing muscles to cope with physical exertion. Stronger muscles equal less fatigue and greater endurance.

There is also a big psychological benefit. When breathing feels easy you are able to push yourself harder and delay the effects of metaboreflex, when the blood supply to your working muscles is restricted and redirected to your breathing muscles when they fatigue.

And even if you are not an athlete and maybe have lost lung capacity due to a pulmonary disease, POWERbreathe can help by training you to breathe more efficiently, maximising the capacity you have remaining to improve your quality of life.

Whether you are a top Olympic athlete or a 93-year-old lady unable to inhale medication, you can get immense benefit from using POWERbreathe. POWERbreathe works by resistance/weight training the muscles you use for breathing to make them stronger and more efficient.

Primarily working the diaphragm and intercostal (rib) muscles, it uses a variable, calibrated, spring loaded valve to adjust the loading your breathing muscles are lifting.

“I used it for just one month and my breathing felt much stronger and more free. I’d recommend this for anyone looking to improve the quality of their breathing,” said Neil Trainis, editor of Pharmacy Business.

For more information, visit www.powerbreathe.com

POWERbreathe needs you!

As a POWERbreathe user, you’ll know that the scientifically proven training regimen of only 30 breaths, twice a day, was found to be the most beneficial. That’s simply breathing in through your POWERbreathe, 30 times after you’ve brushed your teeth in the morning, and 30 times before bed. Simple and effective.

However, it seems to be so simple and quick that many of us may ‘forget’ to do it after a while. After all you don’t need to set aside much time or utilise additional equipment and it doesn’t require any specific environment in which to do your POWERbreathe training: you’re not going out on various routes for instance to undertake your training.

Recently we received a post on the POWERbreatheUK Facebook page from just such a person who’s rediscovered his POWERbreathe, Justin Ross in Western Australia, to whom we’re very grateful for raising this issue. He wrote to tell us that he’s back using his POWERbreathe again after years of forgetting about it. He watched the instructional DVD and found the training “boring”, but he’s back using it again twice a day “for its strengthening benefits”.

So it made us think that perhaps there’s a way of making training fun – perhaps creating a CGI video game that is linked to, and responds to, your breathing training. What do you think? And do you think it’d create friendly competition between users if it were available via an app on your smartphone or tablet, and the Internet?

We’d really appreciate your feedback, comments, suggestions – any ideas for video games that combine with POWERbreathe breathing training to make it competitive and fun.

Please leave your comments here and we’ll then post ideas on our Facebook page and have a vote for the best one!

A big thank you from us all at POWERbreathe Towers 🙂

Why train your breathing?

Why train your breathing?

By Duncan Kerr

If it weren’t for the fact that breathing is automatic and taken for granted then we would not be asking this question.

Sports people train all their other muscle groups yet ignore the most fundamental system necessary to improve sports performance – the muscles used for breathing.

If ever there was a weak link in the chain, this is it!

The faster you move the greater demand there is for oxygen delivery to your working muscles, and carbon dioxide removal. This in turn increases your heart rate and subsequently your inspiratory breathing muscles have to work very hard to keep up. Eventually, as we’ve all experienced, they fail, but the point at which they fail can be extended by training the breathing muscles separately with POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training.

Most people assume that if you train hard, perhaps with interval training or running up hill, you will develop strong breathing muscles. This is not necessarily the case because there is a limiting factor called the metaboreflex- the body’s built in brake.

This interaction was examined in the 2001, Nov 15th issue of The Journal of Physiology (Dempsey and colleagues), article “Robin Hood for the lungs? A respiratory metaboreflex that ‘steals’ blood flow from locomotor muscles.”

They demonstrated that manipulation of breathing work during maximal performance results in a marked change in the blood flow of the working muscles, as well as a change in cardiac output and the uptake of oxygen in the whole body, as well as in the active muscles. In addition, they established the remarkable metabolic cost of supporting the respiratory system (muscles) during high performance, which may be as high as 14 – 18 % of the cardiac output (Harms et al 1998).

To break through this barrier you must train your breathing system separately.

So what is the metaboreflex?

When you hit that point on the hill where you struggle to breathe your brain puts the brakes on i.e. reducing blood flow to your legs and redirecting it to support a poorly conditioned breathing system. Hence every time you reach your limit, the brakes come on and you can’t train past it. BUT if you train your breathing muscles independently to a higher level, when you hit the point where you previously “blew up” you can carry on, as your brain now continues to allow the blood flow to the working muscles. Stronger muscles equal more power, less fatigue and greater endurance.

There is also a big psychological benefit. When breathing feels easy you are able to push yourself harder. Go further – faster.

Your breathing muscles are also used for stability and propulsion in many sports, swimming and rowing in particular, but in almost all sports: footballers jumping for a header; boxers and rugby players taking an impact on the chest; walking at altitude- the list is endless.

How do you train your breathing muscles?

POWERbreathe works in exactly the same way as any other form of resistance/weight training, such as dumbbell curls for your arms – for instance, doing 30 reps a day over a period of a month will result in you gradually increasing the size of the dumbbell. At the end of the month you’ll have stronger arms which will be able to lift more with less effort. Using POWERbreathe you’re doing exactly the same thing for your breathing muscles – training against a resistance that you increase with the more training you do, and as your breathing muscles become stronger. The difficult bit was developing a device that could train your internal breathing muscles (which are primarily the intercostals between the ribs and the diaphragm).

POWERbreathe training benefits are twofold

  1. It delays the onset of the metaboreflex.
  2. It trains you to breathe more efficiently and deeply using your diaphragm and intercostals to expand your ribcage and maximise the full potential of your lung capacity, which you’re probably not fully utilising. The lungs can then inflate quickly to their maximum potential allowing more efficient use of alveoli for greater gas exchange.

Many athletes report being able to inhale over one litre of air more after inspiratory muscle training with POWERbreathe, than before POWERbreathe training, and due to the increased strength of the diaphragm, they can inhale at a much higher speed, for example improving from inhaling 4 litres to 5 litres of air and inhaling at 9 litres per second from 6 litres per second.

Luca Piancastelli, one of Italy’s top fitness instructors, said of POWERbreathe,

“I’ve often wondered how to structure the ideal workout for those who practice sport with a high aerobic effort. I looked for empirical systems that help me promote improved aerobic capacity of athletes. I recently tested – first on myself and then on other people that I coach – POWERbreathe, and without a doubt I can say that it is an essential complement to improve anyone’s performance. With the K5 I can monitor breathing qualities and follow step by step improvements. When you believe in a product, it’s easy to recommend!”

You can read more about the benefits of breathing training for sports and exercise, performing arts, health and medical, and the uniformed services in POWERbreathe Benefits.

How does POWERbreathe Work?

POWERbreathe uses a variable, calibrated, spring loaded valve to adjust the “weight” your breathing muscles will be “lifting”. You start off with a ‘light resistance’ and gradually increase the resistance over time, just as you would when training any other muscle group. This breathing training can be done anywhere in around 5 minutes, even if you are injured or it’s too cold to train outside. Training is just 30 breaths twice a day for the first month, then once a day to maintain your improved strength and endurance.

POWERbreathe breathing training is “The easiest gain you will ever get” said Eddie Fletcher, top rowing and cycling coach.

Types of POWERbreathe

There are currently two types of POWERbreathe: mechanical and electronic. The mechanical models (Classic and Plus) have hand adjustable valves for changing the resistance load, and the electronic (K-Series), as you would expect, feature a unique electronically controlled valve. The electronic units use a very sophisticated computer controlled valve that adjusts the loading automatically based on the current muscle strength of the user. The top end K5 unit connects to a laptop and gives instant visual feedback on load, volume, speed and energy used, via the Breathe-Link software. All sessions are saved for progress monitoring.

Background

POWERbreathe has been available for over 15 years following its early development at Loughborough and Birmingham Universities. There have been numerous studies proving the effectiveness of inspiratory muscle training in many sports disciplines, as well as in medical applications, such as helping people with COPD and Asthma.

POWERbreathe is used around the world by top athletes in all sports, including World record holders and Olympic champions in numerous disciplines, but it can be used by everybody who breathes, even if only to get to the top of the stairs without getting out of breath.

A brief selection of current POWERbreathe users from different sports disciplines

Highlanders – New Zealand Rugby Champions

Anthony Ogogo – Olympic Bronze Medal Winning Boxer

Lucy Garner – Current Road Cycling World Champion

Martin Strel – Guinness World Record Holder (swam the Amazon)

Vitorrio Brumotti – World Record Holder (for riding his bike up stairs to the top of the world’s tallest building) 

Martin Binna – Czech Cyclocross Champion

Gi Ka Man Gi – Winner of the Hong Kong Half Marathon

If you’re a POWERbreathe user then please leave a comment here as we’d love to hear your experience of breathing training using your POWERbreathe.

Czech triathlete “breathes a litre more” after training with POWERbreathe

More great news from our POWERbreathe friends in the Czech Republic, TruconneXion.

Last week, on the biggest Czech triathlon website www.etriatlon.cz, young amateur triathlete, Lukáš Netík’s wrote about his positive experience of POWERbreathe training.

Lukáš started POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training in 2011 on his Level 2 Medium Resistance (MR) model. With regular training he gradually increased the resistance load as his breathing muscles became stronger, but he soon got used to this increase in strength.

“I admit that although I trained according to the instructions, it was usually only once a day. Sometimes I missed completely and if I had a cold I put it aside for a few days. Yet regardless of this, results came relatively quickly and after a few weeks I got to the fifth level on the ten scale. Even breathing during exercise was suddenly easier. During swimming I no longer have to breathe so often, but to me the biggest PLUS I can see is when I’m in the cycling position and my diaphragm is compressed, with hands on the handlebars. And I also use if before a race as it’s great for warming-up,” Lukáš reported.

Every year Lukáš tests his VO2MAX on an ergometer, and he compared results from 2011 and 2012, to see if there were any changes to his breathing capacity and strength. Both results showed that Lukáš’s performance went up. In a 2012 test he reached the same power output with a lower heart rate (179 vs. 184 bpm), lower breathing frequency (34 vs. 40 breaths/minute) and a higher breathing volume (5,7 vs. 4,8 litres). Also his sports doctor commented on the positive change in his breathing.

Lukáš was pleasantly surprised with his improvements and said,

“I think that investing in POWERbreathe really paid off and I can only recommend it. I think Season 2012 went very well.” He qualified at the World Championships, took 2nd place in the European Cup Xterra and 11th place at the World Championships in the category up to 24 years.

Praising Lukáš , MD. Vladimir Vondruška , sports doctor from the University Hospital in Hradec Králové, commented on the annual increase of Lukáš’ ventilation parameters,

“We discussed using POWERbreathe with Lukáš in the autumn of 2011. After a year I was pleasantly surprised by the positive effects I saw in Lukáš – the obvious strengthening of his respiratory muscles (diaphragm), including intercostals. His breathing volume increased by about 1 litre, capitalizing on the part of his residual lung volume. After using POWERbreathe we could see a noticeable change in the efficiency of his lungs, which helps to improve his overall performance. ”

This has been translated from the original, which can be found on the www.etriatlon.cz website.

Read more about why it’s beneficial to use POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training to improve swimming performance, improve cycling performance, and improve running performance for triathlon. And if you’re already using POWERbreathe as part of your triathlon training, then please leave a comment here as we’d love to hear of your experience.

Czech Cyclocross Rider & POWERbreathe user wins World Cup Race

POWERbreathe in the Czech Republic, Truconnexion, are delighted to report that their POWERbreathe sponsored athlete, Cyclocross rider Martin Bina won the final World Cup race in Hoogerheide, Netherlands.

It was Martin’s first world cup victory and second podium after his third place in 2008…and this after he had to take a two-year break because of knee surgery. POWERbreathe became his essential training tool during his recovery, and he’s been using it since 2011.

Martin Bina said, “POWERbreathe is a great help.”

We’ve translated Martin’s comments from Czech, but you can see the original on Trueconnexion’s website www.s1w.cz

“During intense exercise such as Cyclocross, proper breathing is very important. POWERbreathe for training the respiratory muscles impressed me during spring camp in Mallorca and after returning I invested in the K3 digital model. With electronic load control, training is more efficient and more comfortable than with the mechanical models and I can see exact results on display every day.”

“My initial training load was 40-50 cmH2O, but after a month I increased to 80-90 cmH2O, which is almost twice my original load setting. Likewise, my respiratory power (measured in watts) increased from around 10 Watts to 22 Watts.”

“Although POWERbreathe cannot increase lung capacity *, it will teach you to breathe properly, and deeply.”

“Whereas at the beginning I trained with the average volume of 4 litres, after a month my average values increased to between 5.0 and 5.2 litres. On another level, I noticed that my breathing during exercise became easier, especially when going uphill. A very useful additional use of my POWERbreathe was the “Warm Up”, for warming up my respiratory muscles immediately before exercise – usually I’d just warm up my leg muscles, not my breathing muscles. I think the practice of respiratory muscle training using POWERbreathem is an effective means for improving performance.”

* Lung size varies from person to person, so there are natural limits to lung capacity, however you can influence the total lung capacity that you actually use, your vital capacity, by inspiratory muscle training with POWERbreathe.

Read more about how inspiratory muscle training with POWERbreathe can help improve cycling performance, as well as using POWERbreathe for warm-up before cycling, and for recovery.

If you’re already using POWERbreathe to improve cycling endurance, then please leave a comment here as we’d love to hear from you.

Breathing Big in 2013

So, 2013 is the year for Breathing Big! Well, all you POWERbreathe users are one-step ahead in setting the trend for improving your breathing strength and breathing pattern. You’ll already be familiar with the benefits that inspiratory muscle training has on your breathing and ultimately your sports performance, or if you have breathing difficulties, on your quality of life.

We’ve heard from the US that Breathing Big is going to be making its mark in 2013, with “fitness professionals taking more credence in assessing breathing patterns in their clients”.

“While we’re just scratching the tip of the iceberg in this regard, it’s profound how much of an effect faulty breathing patterns – in this case people relying too much on their accessory breathing muscles like the upper traps, scalanes, levator etc and NOT their diaphragm – has on everything from posture and many common dysfunctions we see in the general population (neck pain, shoulder pain, evel lower back pain) to performance, in and outside the gym,” says Tony Gentilcore, co-owner of Cressey Performance.

He goes on to add, “Taking as little as five minutes to show clients how to “use” their diaphragm can go a long ways in helping them not only feel better but set themselves up for success, whether their goal is to lift a Mack truck or just look better naked.”

POWERbreathe users will know that training with POWERbreathe for only 5-minutes twice a day will make a big difference to their breathing strength and endurance, and can be done just as easily at the gym, at home – or when out and about.

Jordan Syatt, Author, Trainer and Greatist Expert, also predicts that one of the top 3 trends for 2013 will be diaphragmatic breathing.

“It’s progressively become more of a mainstream term among health and fitness professionals, but it hasn’t received much attention in the media or lay public. Granted, it’s not sexy of very appealing, but the benefits are astounding and it’s bound to pick up big time” he says.

Your diaphragm is you most efficient breathing muscle, and is a large, dome-shaped muscle located at the base of your lungs. It’s your abdominal muscles that help to move your diaphragm and give you the power to empty your lungs. People with breathing problems, such as those with COPD, have difficulty with their diaphragm working effectively.

This is because air becomes trapped in the lungs, pushing down on the diaphragm.  Because of this, the neck and chest muscles take on an increased share of the work of breathing which can leave the diaphragm weak and flattened, causing it to work less efficiently.

POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training is intended to help you use your breathing muscles correctly to strengthen your breathing muscles, including your diaphragm and use less effort and energy to breathe.  At first you’ll notice an increased effort will be needed to use your diaphragm correctly while using POWERbreathe, and you’re breathing muscles will get tired. But stick at it because with regular use (following the scientific proven regimen of 30 breaths twice a day) your breathing strength and stamina will increase, allowing you to increase the resistance on your POWERbreathe and continue to improve.

Read more about the benefits of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) with POWERbreathe, and if you are already a POWERbreathe user, we’d love to hear how it’s helping you. Please leave a comment here.

World Ironman 70.3 Championships 2012 – Las Vegas, Nevada

Here is an excellent blog from one of our bloggers Melissa Brand. Beat your Best winner 2011, Melissa Brand has just finished the Marine Corps Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Las Vegas, Henderson Nevada, in just under a week. Melissa earned the right to participate in the championship when qualifying at an Ironman 70.3 event this year. Read this amazing blog to read all about it. Some great pictures too.

September 9th seemed to come around much sooner than expected.  My preparation for the event commenced way back in autumn 2011, when I started a comprehensive strength and conditioning programme.  The most important element of this was to improve the function and strength of my glutes and hamstrings which I had come to realise that I had not been fully utilising.  With this base of strength I was then able to layer the other training on top.

Since last year I have focused predominantly on my running and cycling.  For the same amount of training time I knew I could make up a lot more time on the run/cycle elements of the race than on the swimming.  Through the winter I raced some cyclocross, ran cross country and maintained my swimming.

The early part of the race season I suffered a few setbacks with illness but managed to get a few 70.3 distance (half ironman) races under my belt.  I was fortunate enough to spend nine days in Mallorca pre-Las Vegas.  This was key as part of my heat acclimatisation; it is never consistently hot in the UK and therefore it is hard to acclimatise without going abroad or using a heat chamber.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I arrived in Las Vegas eight days before the race.  This allowed me the maximum time available for heat acclimatisation, adjustment for the time difference and a chance to recover from the long flight.  I used the time to recce the swim, bike and run courses, but also to enjoy time for rest and recovery pre-race.  In the usual way, I have to try and balance these things whilst working full time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race day dawned and I was up at 3 :15 am to drive to the race venue.  I prepared my bike in transition and then waited nervously for the swim start. The swim element of the course takes place in Lake Las Vegas and comprises a 1.9 km loop.  It is a stunning setting.  The water was warm which meant that it was a non-wetsuit swim.  This is a disadvantage for the weaker swimmers who are usually aided by the buoyancy of wearing a wetsuit.  The swim started in waves according to sex and age and my wave went off at 07:10 am.  Once started my nerves disappeared and I got on with racing!

My goggles got knocked off pretty much immediately in the frantic race start, I managed to recover them and replace them on my face only to then get kicked in the nose.  These might sound like worrying things but they are scenarios that you need to be mentally prepared for before entering the water.eant that it was a non-wetsuit swim.  This is a disadvantage for the weaker swimmers who are usually aided by the buoyancy of wearing a wetsuit.  The swim started in waves according to sex and age and my wave went off at 07:10 am.  Once started my nerves disappeared and I got on with racing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of the water and out onto the bike course I was in my element.  I focused on overtaking everyone I could see, male or female.  I worked the hills thinking that if I could work hard up them I would get a rest downhill on the other side.  I made up a lot of time on the bike after my disappointing swim. The bike course takes you out of Lake Las Vegas resort and into the unforgiving desert.  Far from what I have always imagined, deserts are not always flat!  The bike course is hot, arid and hilly. The route took us out into the desert and back along the same route, finishing in Henderson.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting out on the run my legs felt great.  One thing people often find when they start out in triathlon is that their legs feel like jelly after cycling hard.  I felt fresh and strong.  Unfortunately though the mercury was rising, and as the day progressed it got hotter and hotter.   I really began to suffer after about 8/9 km.  The gaps between some aid stations were relatively long and I was becoming dehydrated.  I had been sick on the bike but wasn’t going to let that stop me, but it did mean that I stopped taking in any gels and energy drinks in fear of upsetting my stomach further.  I know that this was likely heat and stress induced as my nutrition was all practised in advance but the heat and race intensity can play havoc with your digestive capabilities.  I took on as much cola as I could, for the energy and also because it can help settle your stomach.  I also drank plain water.  At every aid station I poured water (sometimes not cold unfortunately) and ice (where available) over my head. This worked to an extent to keep my core temperature down.  Everyone suffered in the heat and it meant that my run time was unfortunately slower than I had hoped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall my time was just a little slower than last year but the conditions were definitely more demanding this year and the run course included one extra hill on each lap.  So overall I placed better than last year as everyone’s times were comparatively slower.

I placed 21st in my category, which is less than I believe I am capable of, but it is a step in the right direction. I will be back for more!

A massive thank you to Team Timex and the team’s sponsors for their support pre-race and on course, also many thanks to Maxifuel for their support throughout the year.

We would like thank Melissa for providing this great blog and photos and would also like to congratulate her on her amazing achievement.

If you want to keep uo to date with Melissa follow her on Twitter. Please feel free to leave a comment below 🙂

Deep Breathing Exercises for Intercostal Muscles & the Diaphragm

Deep breathing exercises are often referred to as pranayama in yoga, an ancient system of holistic health. Regular practice of deep breathing exercises can help tone the intercostal muscles, a group of muscles that form the chest wall, and the diaphragm, a thin muscle located under the lungs.

Deep Chest Breathing

Deep chest breathing requires two yoga blocks. You need to sit on the floor and place the blocks behind you – one in a flat position and the other at the medium position. You need to lay your shoulder blades on the flat block and your head on the other. Then relax your arms out to each side with palms faced upwards. Next, you need to stretch your legs out in front of you. Inhale deeply and allow your chest to completely rise. On the exhale, allow your stomach to fall first, then your diaphragm, then your lungs and finally your chest. Repeat this exercise nine times with a regular breath in-between each repetition. Deep chest breathing tones both the diaphragm and the intercostal muscles.

Bellow’s Breath

Bellow’s breath is a detoxifying breathing exercise which is good for the diaphragm muscle. To carry out this exercise you need to be in a seated position. Once comfortable, you need to inhale naturally through your nose. On the exhale you need to snap your stomach muscles in, forcing the exhalation. While in a seated position, inhale naturally through your nose. On the exhale, snap your stomach muscles in, forcing the exhalation. Repeat this breathing pattern for 30 seconds, gradually increasing the pace.

Intercostal Stretching Breath

To perform an intercostal stretching breath, come to a standing position and stretch both of your arms over the head. Inhale deeply and on the exhale, stretch your arms to the right, stretching your intercostal muscles on the left side of your body. Inhale and come back to the centre; on the next exhale, stretch your arms to the left, feeling your right intercostal muscles being stretched. Repeat two more times on each side.

Focused Diaphragmatic Breath

To perform focused diaphragmatic breath, it is helpful to understand exactly where your diaphragm is. Take your fingers and place them on the bottom of your sternum. Take a few breaths and feel your diaphragm move. To perform this breathing exercise, tense your stomach muscles and keep your fingers on your diaphragm. Inhale and exhale several times, focusing on the diaphragm’s movement. This exercise can help increase awareness of and tone the diaphragm.

Regular inspiratory muscle training can strengthen and condition the core vital muscle required to help us breathe each day.  As with any muscle training always consult your GP for advice.

POWERbreathe works out on the beach as part of Luca Piancastelli’s Walking Program

You may remember not long ago the video of 60 people using 60 POWERbreathes on 60 treadmills at the Rimini Wellness Expo, as part of Luca Piancastelli’s Walking Program®. 

Well Luca and Alessandra recently held an outdoor Walking Program on the beach in Sardinia, and our friends in Italy, Italian POWERbreathe distributors Alphamed, provided everyone with a POWERbreathe (and hygienic filter) for the day.

WATCH A VIDEO of the people taking part in the Walking Program® on the beautiful sands of Sardinia – looks good fun, and a fantastic venue!