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.

Samuel.

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
Martin Haines MCSP SRP MBC MBCA
CEO Intelligent Training Systems

Chairman
UK Biomechanics Coaching Association