Influence of IMT on Cycling Performance at altitude

This study, Influence of IMT on Ventilatory Efficiency & Cycling Performance in Normoxia and Hypoxia, is published in Frontiers in Physiology. The aim of the study is to analyse the influence of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) on ventilatory efficiency in normoxia and hypoxia. It also investigates the relationship between ventilatory efficiency and cycling performance.

The point of the study

The premise of the study is that IMT improves ventilatory efficiency in normoxia and hypoxia. It also reduces the metabolic demands of the respiratory muscles in both conditions. The study also hypothesizes that improvements in submaximal cycling performance can be linked to improvements in ventilatory efficiency in normoxia and hypoxia.

Study method

The study assigns participants, at random, to either a control group or an inspiratory muscle training (IMT) group. The IMT group were to complete 30 inhalations twice a day using the POWERbreathe K3. They were to do this 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Researchers set the POWERbreathe K3 to 50% of each participant’s Pimax (maximal inspiratory mouth pressure). By contrast, the control group did not perform any IMT.

To determine Pimax participants had to inspire through the K3 as quickly as possible. And in order to achieve a stable measurement they were perform this a few times.

Conclusions for training at altitude

The study suggests a possible positive effect of IMT on cycling time trial performance in both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. It also shows that hypoxia has a negative effect on ventilatory efficiency. It furthermore shows that IMT may reduce this effect.

Additionally the authors report that these findings may have relevance for athletes planning to train at a high altitude, or compete at high altitude.

Finally, the study suggests that Inspiratory Muscle Training before a competition at altitude might be a successful method to improve performance.

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.”

Conclusion:

“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 >

Effects Of IMT On Exercise Responses In Normoxia And Hypoxia

“The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) on exercise in hypoxia (H) and normoxia (N)”.

Conclusion:

“Data suggests that IMT significantly improves structural and functional physiologic measures in hypoxic exercise.”

Read Effects of inspiratory muscle training on exercise responses in normoxia and hypoxia >