POWERbreathe Trial – Martin Haines Week 9: Fancy a round of golf

This week progress was initially very quick for me when I first started using the powerbreathe, but then since the layoff I had due to injury, progress has been much slower.  This last week I’ve not really been able to train due to work commitments, but I have just had 30 mins at the golf driving range as I’m off on a golfing holiday this weekend.  I figured a bit of last minute brushing up on the golf swing will bring back the prizes!  Time will tell.  It will be interesting to see if the POWERbreathe helps by thoracic spine, which usually hurts after playing golf following a layoff.  I’ll let you know.


Keep moving freely


What is Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT)

Inspiratory muscle training is defined as a course of therapy consisting of a series of breathing exercises that aim to strengthen the bodies’ respiratory muscles making it easier for people to breathe. Inspiratory muscle training is normally aimed at people who suffer from asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and COPD. However, many people adopt IMT as part of their sports training as this training is designed to strengthen the muscles used for breathing. This is done through a series of controlled breathing exercises. Studies have shown that regular IMT can increase a person’s endurance during cardiovascular exercise or sports activities such as running and cycling.

When a person is breathing normally, they typically use between 10 to 15 per cent of his or her total lung capacity. However, with Inspiratory muscle training, a person can typically increase the amount of lung capacity used. Deeper breathing uses a bit more energy but also allows more oxygen to enter the bloodstream with each breath while strengthening the breathing muscles. Strengthening inspiratory muscles by performing daily breathing exercises for at least six weeks significantly reduces the amount of oxygen these same breathing muscles require during exercise, resulting in more oxygen being available for other muscles.

Why train the respiratory muscles

The respiratory muscles need to be trained because during exercise the body’s demand for oxygen increases and our breathing volume or ventilation must also rise to cope with the oxygen increase. For this to work numerous muscles surrounding the lungs need to contract in an exceedingly coordinated manner. As the intensity of the exercise increases, these respiratory muscles must contract more forcefully and more rapidly to keep pace with the body’s substantial increase in metabolism. This important role of the inspiratory muscle training has huge benefits for respiratory muscles, fitness and sports training as well as to help improve running performance.



POWERbreathe Trial – Martin Haines Week 8: Getting back into the groove

“Its great to get back into using the POWERbreathe again.  Its interesting that after the quite rapid progression I felt using the POWERbreathe the first time round, after the enforced payoff I have not had the same speedy improvements.  I’m wondering whether my progress is more in line with normal now and whether the initial response was something to do with my asthmatic tendencies; I was probably at a lower level than most when I first started.

More on progress next week”.

POWERbreathe Trial – Samuel Dallimore Week 6: Back into the water

This week has been one of the best weeks training in a long time, I really feel that things are starting to get back to the way they were. I would say it’s more mind than body at the moment, in that I mean I am getting the correct mindset and routine back that I had before I became seriously Injured in November 2010.

As I mentioned in my last post I was getting into alternate training methods such as rock climbing and Pilates. I went rock climbing on Friday evening with a friend who’s an experienced climber to help get me into the swing of things. I took to it quite quickly, before I knew it I was taking fairly difficult routes up the walls and really putting my strength and muscular endurance to the test. We climbed for just over an hour and by the end I can safely say I have alot of respect for professional climbers and how athletic they have to be to climb the huge feats such as cliff faces, mountains and even buildings they were saying to me!!!

I’ve also gotten back into Pilates classes for core strength and rehabilitation, as the doctors have recommended it will help me to get back to where I was in November 2010. I’ve tried Pilates before and had some good initial success with it, so I’m continuing with and hopefully will see those developments tranfer into the pool. The powerbreathe training is still going well with slow and steady, with most importantly continual progress. I’m continuing on with a 3 times per day of 30 breaths as recommended by the Powerbreathe Guru which will allow me to push my inter-costal muscles further and gain hopefully increased benefits that I will see in the pool too.


Read how Powerbreathe improves swimming performance

Inspiratory Muscle Training Tips for Runners

The majority of clinical trials that have taken place have proven inspiratory muscle training offers benefits to sports performance including rowers, swimmers, runners and cyclists.

Inspiratory muscle training provides the following benefits to sports performance:

  • A reduction in dyspnoea during exercise in athletes.
  • Increase in the force of inspiratory muscles during intensive exercise training for athletes.
  • Increased endurance in runners

Breathing is a process that we often take for granted but as an athlete, a runner in particular, it can influence the way you run and when performed efficiently, it can improve your running ability.  Our bodies use a process of aerobic respiration to generate energy during activities.  This process involves using oxygen so it makes perfect sense to understand and be aware of the oxygen intake we use so we are able to make sure we intake the right amount of oxygen.

Human beings are fascinated with exercise and as we continue to exercise more we are using our body more and this places an increased demand on our respiratory system to meet the metabolic needs of our muscles. This process is called hyperpnoea – gradually increasing the body to a comfortable rate and then maintaining a steady rate.

When runners are exercising they rely on certain muscle groups to allow the expansion of the rib cage. The main muscle involved here is the diaphragm which is the muscle directly beneath the lungs, separating the chest cavity and the abdominal cavity, and the intercostals which are between the ribs.

During periods of vigorous exercise more stress is placed on this muscle group to achieve thoracic volume. The particular muscles that are working harder are muscles in the neck, the pectorals in the chest and the postural muscles in the spine.

Bearing this in mind, here are some breathing techniques to help you get the most from your run:

Diaphragm Breathing

Focus on belly breathing. This is when you breathe by expanding your belly which allows the diaphragm to move down creating more room for the lungs to expand, rather than only through chest wall expansion/movement of the rib cage.

Relax your upper body and focus on your posture

Make sure your shoulders and neck muscles are relaxed. This allows optimal breathing of the muscles. By focusing on your posture your body will perform at its best. It is important your shoulders are back. This will aid your breathing and also help reduce muscle fatigue.

Monitor your breathing

This is not an easy task but once you are established in your run try and monitor the pattern of breathing – is it steady or is it rhythmic? Always breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth.

If you regularly run then it is important that you perform a warm up routine. Neglecting breathing exercises correctly can lead to breathlessness. Inspiratory Muscle Training can be used to specifically warm-up these muscles prior to exercise, using a reduced load setting.

Image Source: Respiratory Physiology Research Group

POWERbreathe Trial – Martin Haines Week 3: Feeling pretty good

Another interesting week. I played golf for the first time in 9 months this week and I knew about it the following 2 days! I’m in pretty good shape and biomechanically I’m pretty good too, but playing golf at these speeds of movement in the swing is hard to reproduce in a gym, so stiffness is likely when you’ve not played for a while. The interesting thing for me was the thoracic (upper back) stiffness wasn’t as bad as normal and certainly didn’t last as long. With me being asthmatic when I was a kid, my rib joints (costo-vertebral joints) are susceptible when I do any sport (especially golf) and the only reason I can give for them not being as bad as usual is using the powerbreathe. Maybe they have helped my rib joints in some way?

On another note I’m still only on level 1, so I’ve a long way to go!!!

Hope that’s OK. Is their somewhere I can go to look at them and see the others’ blogs?

Keep moving freely
CEO Intelligent Training Systems

UK Biomechanics Coaching Association