Training The Inspiratory Muscles Improves Running Performance When Carrying A 25kg Thoracic Load In A Backpack

“Load carriage (LC) exercise in physically demanding occupations is typically characterised by periods of low-intensity steady-state exercise and short duration, high-intensity exercise while carrying an external mass in a backpack; this form of exercise is also known as LC exercise. This induces inspiratory muscle fatigue and reduces whole-body performance. Accordingly we investigated the effect of inspiratory muscle training (IMT, 50% maximal inspiratory muscle pressure (PImax) twice daily for six week) upon running time-trial performance with thoracic LC.”


“In summary, when wearing a 25 kg backpack, IMT attenuated the cardiovascular and perceptual responses to steady-state exercise and improved high-intensity time-trial performance which we attribute in part to reduced relative work intensity of the inspiratory muscles due to improved inspiratory muscle strength. These findings have real-world implications for occupational contexts.”

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Respiratory-Related Limitations In Physically Demanding Occupations

“Respiratory muscle work limits high-intensity exercise tolerance in healthy human beings… In an occupational setting, heavy loads are routinely carried upon the trunk in the form of body armour, backpacks, and/or compressed air cylinders by military, emergency service, and mountain rescue personnel. This personal and respiratory protective equipment impairs respiratory muscle function and increases respiratory muscle work.”


“An argument is presented that the unique respiratory challenges encountered in some occupational settings require further research, since these may affect the operational effectiveness and the health and safety of personnel working in physically demanding occupations.”

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Loading Of Trained Inspiratory Muscles Speeds Lactate Recovery Kinetics

“The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of inspiratory threshold loading and inspiratory muscle training (IMT) on blood lactate concentration and acid-base balance after maximal incremental cycling.”


After maximal exercise, inspiratory threshold loading affected lactate recovery kinetics only after IMT. Our data support the notion that the inspiratory muscles are capable of lactate clearance that increases strong ion difference [SID] and reduces plasma [H+]. These effects may facilitate subsequent bouts of high-intensity exercise.”

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IMT Abolishes Blood Lactate Increase Associated With Volitional Hyperpnoea Superimposed On Exercise And Accelerates Lactate And Oxygen Uptake Kinetics At Onset Of Exercise

“The effects were examined of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) upon volitional hyperpnoea-mediated increases in blood lactate during cycling at maximal lactate steady state power, and blood lactate and oxygen uptake kinetics at the onset of exercise.”


“Following the intervention, maximal inspiratory mouth pressure increased 19% in the IMT group only. Following IMT only, the increase in blood lactate during volitional hyperpnoea was abolished. In addition, the blood lactate and phase II oxygen uptake kinetics time constants at the onset of exercise and the maximal lactate steady state blood lactate were reduced. We attribute these changes to an IMT-mediated increase in the oxidative and/or lactate transport capacity of the inspiratory muscles.”

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BASES Expert Statement on Assessment and Management of Non-asthma Related Breathing Problems in Athletes

Produced on behalf of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), Dr John Dickinson, Professor McConnell, Dr Emma Ross, Dr Peter Brown and Dr James Hull discuss the assessment and management of non-asthma related breathing problems reported by athletes, such as wheezing, tight chest, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughing and breathlessness.

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