Development And Evaluation Of A Pressure Threshold Inspiratory Muscle Trainer For Use In The Context Of Sports Performance

“Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) became widespread, particularly in a clinical context, and at the time of this research a pressure threshold training device suitable for training the inspiratory muscles of healthy humans did not exist. The purpose of this paper was to document the design and development of such a device – the POWERbreathe.

Read Development and evaluation of a pressure threshold inspiratory muscle trainer for use in the context of sports performance >

Phil Bradbury – POWERbreathe has helped my breathing

I have just completed a 12 week trial with a medium resistance Powerbreathe.

I cycle or row just about every day but do not compete formally so I cannot quote figures of percentage improvement in particular events. Having said that I do push myself very hard whilst riding at the Velodrome and on some club rides which are inevitably very hilly and quite fast.

I only started using the Concept rower for some cross training about 7 months ago so I would expect my performance to improve anyway, that said each week I do a timed one hour row and each week the metres completed increases with what feels like the same effort.

My criteria of success is how I feel under high exercise effort.

As far back as I can remember I felt I ran out of breath long before I ran out of legs, it felt that my breathing had become the limiting factor. I have in the past consulted my doctor about this and had spirometer and exercise ECG tests, both showing for my age of 63 that I am very fit.  This breathing limit has been more obvious in the winter months.

I do perceive a change over the 12 week trial in that I no longer reach the point where I begin to worry that, “this time I have gone too far”, with my breathing. By accident not design the trial has been during the Autumn / Winter months.

Bottom line, I think the Powerbreathe has helped with my breathing and I will continue to use it as part of my daily routine.

Breathing definately is the key to improving rowing performance

Jen-Howse-RowingWell I’ve had my POWERbreathe for a little while now. My first attempt to use it showed how much improvement I had to make! I tried the thirty breaths at level one and failed!

Very soon after the arrival of my POWERbreathe came my first test in the lead up to the World Indoor Rowing Championships (Crash-bs), the British Online Rowing Championship. The inaugural event this year saw people round the world connect their Concepts 2 rowing machines to their computers and row against each other from the comfort of their own shed/garage/living room! I normally train in the garage but I decided to move the erg inside for the occasion.  Regretted this move about half way through as the air felt drier than usual and I started to struggle a little with my breathing.

Managed to come home first in my race and win the 30-39 lwtwomens category in a time a little slower than I had managed in training a few days before, but it is always different in a race situation.

From that race I realised that breathing training is definitely one of the keys to improving performance in races, as they are often not the best atmosphere for me.

So I have been using the Powerbreathe for a while now and can do 30 breaths without taking a break, which is quite an improvement from the first attempt.

Now into the last 6-week build up to the Crash-Bs and I will be doing another 2k test in the next few weeks to see how I have progressed over the last month.

Strengthen your muscles for COPD

Anyone living with COPD knows when it comes to exercise it is a thought way back in the mind. However, carrying out some simple breathing exercises can help with your COPD treatment. Specific breathing exercises can help to strengthen your breathing muscles which over time will result in stronger lung power.

Breathing muscle training exercises also offer many other benefits.  Not only will you strengthen your diaphragm but the muscles around your rib cage and abdomen will become stronger. Rehabilitation for pulmonary conditions includes teaching patients the correct techniques for breathing that are combined with muscle strengthening as these are the elements that enable you to breathe correctly. If you suffer from COPD then exercise is an important activity that you must regularly do.

The less you exercise the less active you are and this leads to muscle weakness. When muscles become weak they require more oxygen to function, if they don’t get enough oxygen then it causes shortness of breath.  A suitable exercise program coupled with a healthy diet and monitoring from your Doctor will enable you to concentrate more on a healthy lifestyle without the need of using a tube to breathe.

Not many people are aware the diaphragm is actually a muscle, a muscle that is absolutely crucial for breathing. If you do suffer from COPD then it is imperative you regularly exercise to strengthen your diaphragm and get more air into your lungs. Other muscles that are strengthened with regular exercise include your pectoral muscles in your chest, your intercostals muscles along your rib cage and your abdominal muscles.

Steps you should take when doing COPD exercises

  • Never rush into exercising, start at a slow pace and build up your endurance progressively
  • If you use an inhaler keep it close to hand as you may need it.
  • Before starting any COPD exercise techniques, always clear any mucus build up you may have in your lungs.
  • If you rely on a tube for oxygen make sure it is not in your way when exercising.
  • For the best results always try to be consistent with your COPD breathing exercises as this will determine if the exercises have helped you or not.

If you suffer from COPD or any other breathing difficulty then it can be difficult to participate in regular sporting and fitness activities, particular sports that require endurance and high stamina like football and rugby. Rugby performance can be improved with some COPD exercises and regular exercise can also be effective for COPD treatment. Simple inspiratory muscle training will increase the efficiency of your lungs and enhance your ability to metabolise oxygen which is crucial to performance and endurance for any sport.



Inspiratory muscle training and exercise for athletes

Athletes take their chosen sport very seriously and excelling in sports is a main priority for them. Doing some breathing techniques helps athletes relax and help them focus their mind on the sport. Athletes who adopt a regime of breathing training and inspiratory muscle training will be prone to less stress, injury and overall will improve their confidence in the competitions that they participate in. Even if they suffer a loss in the competition they will find it easier to deal with. Additionally adopting some breathing techniques will help to control the athletes’ heart rate and blood pressure as well as increase their staying power.

Steps for helping you breathe properly

Following a few simple steps can help you improve your breathing as well as improve your respiratory muscles. Adopting inspiratory muscle training techniques can improve your overall health and fitness.

#Step 1

Start by taking slow, deep breaths. This will help you to reduce your heart rate as well as calm down your emotions and relax you. If you are in the middle of training and you find yourself succumbing to pressure or feel stressed out then stop and take a break from your training and do some breathing.

#Step 2

To begin with try and find a quiet place away from where you are training. Make sure you are sat down comfortably in an upright posture as well as keeping your head still. While counting to six breathe in through your nose. Hold your breath for eight seconds and then exhale slowly while counting to six.  As you become more familiar with the technique add additional seconds to each breath as you breath in and out helping you to feel more relaxed. Controlling your breathing with deep breathing exercise will help you feel less stressed and much calmer as well as your muscles feeling relaxed as opposed to being tense.

#Step 3

To aid your breathing techniques and training a great way to create resistance for breathing is by using a hand held device, this also builds stamina and endurance. Inspiratory muscle training or IMT is a form of exercise that trains your body to use less oxygen whilst exercising which in turn will leave more oxygen available for longer periods of time. For athletes that participate in high performance and endurance sports including swimming and cycling, IMT is extremely beneficial.

#Step 4

Athletes undergo extreme rigorous training programs which is why it is important to practice low breathing techniques.  This particular exercise is beneficial during training warm up routines. Take a few minutes and concentrate on breathing and watch your diaphragm extend. By breathing slowly in and out through your nose you are actually reducing the amount of impure air intake into your lungs.

Combining inspiratory muscle training into your breathing during your training schedules will improve the way you breathe. Whether you are an athlete who swims or cycles or are involved in fitness training systems, these simple steps can help you improve your breathing and help you relax.


Inspiratory muscle training and COPD treatment

Patients who suffer from COPD benefit greatly from inspiratory muscle training. This particular method of inspiratory muscle training is extremely good for this patient group because their inspiratory muscles are weaker than normal. The primary cause of COPD arises from smoking, air pollution, asthma, respiratory infections and secondary smoke.

For people who live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including asthma, bronchitis or any other breathing problem it is important they know how to strengthen their breathing muscles in order to breathe properly and with ease. A good way of overcoming breathing difficulties is in the form of breathing exercises to help these muscles. This is particularly important if you are a runner, tennis performer or cyclist as these all require high volumes of stamina.

Importance of Exercise for COPD sufferers

An important part of pulmonary rehabilitation is exercise. Inspiratory muscle training exercises improve the overall strength of the respiratory muscles. When exercising the muscles train and learn to utilise oxygen much more efficiently resulting in the breathing muscles not having to work so hard. Regular exercise is not only good for physical health but it also boosts your mental health, helps you maintain a healthy weight and improves blood circulation round your body – all positive influences on your breathing.

Be disciplined and begin an exercise regime

Athletes, tennis performers, cyclists and anyone else who suffers from COPD should religiously practice two different types of exercise. The first exercise should be aerobic exercise and this should be a regular routine as aerobic exercise is great for strength and conditioning. The second form of exercise that should be in your regime is equally as important and are exercises that help you to control and correctly manage your breathing. For anyone that suffers from COPD, it is imperative medical advice is sought before undertaking any kind of fitness regime. By taking medical advice you will be well informed as to which exercises you can and can’t undertake.

Which exercises should I do to control my breathing

To improve breathing airflow and decrease shortness of breath, breathing through pursed lips and applying diaphragmatic techniques is most effective. When you find it difficult to breathe, these techniques should be used. Pursed lips exercises are done by breathing in through your nose then pursing your lips as though you are going to whistle then slowly exhaling breath through your mouth.  This technique will probably take 3-4 times longer to exhale than it takes to inhale.

Another effective exercise that can help with your breathing difficulties requires a little more patience. Lay down and place one hand across your abdomen and the other hand on your chest, slowly inhale through your nose while at the same time concentrating on keeping your stomach moving and keeping your chest still. When you have reached this point, slowly exhale through pursed lips, allowing your stomach to fall inward while continuing to keep your upper chest as still as you can.

If you are involved in sports activity, be it high stamina sports like Tennis and Cycling, overall tennis performance can be improved with some simple breathing techniques. These exercises are effective for COPD treatment as well as other breathing problems. If you enjoy walking then simple inspiratory muscle training exercises can make your walk that much more enjoyable.

Coming soon the New POWERbreathe K5 – Don’t just breathe, POWERbreathe

After months of working on the K5 behind closed doors POWERbreathe pleased to announce the imminent launch of the new POWERbreathe K5 model.

This new model uses the latest development in breathing training technology. The POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link live feedback software. This model is cutting edge in training tools and has been designed to develop and strengthen the breathing muscles. One outstanding feature is that of auto IMT, short for Auto-Optimising Inspiratory Muscle Training. This is a state of the art training feature exclusive to the POWERbreathe K-Series.

The K5 is revolutionary as it automatically adapts to the users breathing training requirements and sets the optimum training load. This intelligent device then adapts the resistance across the full range of the breath, matching the contractions of the breathing muscles. It’s very clever stuff, and is fast becoming the must have training tool for serious athletes, world champions and Olympians. Over 300 independent research papers show breathing training improves training, performance and recovery.

The Breathe-Link live feedback software has been developed to enable the POWERbreathe K5 to be connected to a PC or laptop. Real time training then enables the user to view their breathing training breath by breath; training data can then be reviewed and stored for later analysis.

The Breathe-Link interface allows the user to create bespoke breathing training programmes to match the demands of their sport and lifestyle. Training programmes can also be uploaded to the K5 and used on the road or when there is no access to a computer.

But that is not all. Not just content with being a training, warm-up and cool-down device the POWERbreathe K5 is also equipped with a range of breathing tests and challenges, enabling the user to assess improvements in breathing strength, power and endurance.



Breathe-Link Software:

Real-time breathing measurement and analysis software. This software maximise training and test performance in real-time. The software also enables you to analyse and store results.


Breathe-Link Custom:

This feature allows the user to create and upload personalised breathing training sessions.


Breathe-Link Pro-View:

This feature enables the user to use the Breathe-Link Pro-View for detailed, simultaneous plotting and analysis of all inspiratory muscle training data.

The K5 is revolutionary in terms of how it works and what you can do with it. I you are interested in the K5 model you can register your details for the POWERbreathe K5 and be amongst the first to know when it is launched.

Andrea Cunningham week 21 – The end of the road is in sight

Hi everyone I’m back at last with my 21st Journal and getting to the end of my 6month journals now with PowerBreathe….my god how time flies!  Well this week I’ve had my running shoes well and truly strapped to my feet!  Monday I went to body attack and then did a 7 mile run as well it seemed to go pretty well i.e. I didn’t want to keel over afterwards!  Then Tuesday I decided to give balance and combat a miss and did 13miles instead…it has to be said I did start to feel pretty light headed after this but I’m guessing it was because I had to run past numerous hotels and the smell of food was an absolute killer I was starving!  Wednesday then it was back to body attack and then 7 miles again….my legs were like blocks of lead that particular session of body attack was hardcore or maybe I just went at it harder than normal but every mile of that run I was out of breath and my legs felt horrible I was one happy girl to get home that night!!  Thursday then (still panicking about my lack of mileage) decided to run 10 miles this was better than Wednesday though I really really did not want to do it I was so tired and I literally must have said to myself just gotta get through tonight and then Friday is a day off lol…this marathon training may also be making me loose my marbles!

Friday then I took it easy and I’ve never been so glad to be inside my house – it’s starting to feel like I never see it!!  Saturday unfortunately I had to get up at the crack of dawn as there was a 10k race going on where I live so I need to get out and back before it started as part of it was directly in my route to and from home….anyway the sun was just rising so the first couple of miles were a tad torturous but then the sun came out and I was roasting toasting!  I managed 15miles this day – I really wanted to do 18 but I couldn’t figure out a route to get back to my house that bypassed the other runners but anyway I was absolutely knackered and starving as I hadn’t got up early enough for breakfast beforehand…that’ll teach me!  Has to be said though even though I was dead physically from the week my breathing during my runs was defiantly better!

Sunday then I was a very very lazy girl and watched a whole lot of rugby…very early in the morning unfortunately!  This week coming I’m going to tackle a 20miler at the weekend and this weekend will also be the last weekend I eat and drink anything “bad” well I’m certainly going to try anyway its going to be goodbye wine and chocolate and hello water and pasta…yawn!  It has to be said this part of the training I do not enjoy at all!  All this torture is because I’m running the Dublin marathon for Marie Curie Cancer Care so any spare pennies would be greatly appreciated

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.