Pilates Plus IMT Improves Lung Function

Researchers from Brazil are looking at the effects of combining Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) with Pilates on lung function in elderly women. The reason for this is because ageing affects the respiratory system. In fact, it can change the composition of the lung’s connective tissue.

Ageing and the lungs

Ageing will ultimately affect bones and muscles. Moreover, natural ageing also affects the bones and muscles of the chest. Consequently, it may affect the shape of the ribcage. As a result, the ribcage may no longer expand or contract as well as it once did, during breathing. Additionally, the main breathing muscle, the diaphragm, becomes weaker too. This will affect how much air a person is able to breathe in and out.

Furthermore, ageing affects lung tissue and the airways may lose their ability to stay open. Additionally, the air sacs begin to lose their shape. Consequently, air may become trapped in the lungs. This affects how well you’re able to breathe.

Why inspiratory muscle training?

Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) is a form of resistance training that exercises the inspiratory muscles. The main inspiratory muscles are the diaphragm and intercostals. It’s these muscles that are responsible for drawing air into the lungs. Furthermore, it’s these muscles that will be affected by ageing. Therefore, exercising these muscles with IMT will limit the effects of ageing. IMT will help them to become stronger and less prone to fatigue.

The IMT device that participants use in this trial is the POWERbreathe K5.

Participants breathe in through the K5 for 30 breaths. They perform this twice, with a one-minute interval between each set. After two weeks’ training, they must increase the training resistance by 10%. Researchers then assess an individual’s results following Pilates exercise.

Why Pilates?

Pilates is an exercise programme, developed in the 20th Century by Joseph Pilates. The exercises focus on improving core strength and muscular imbalance. Furthermore, Pilates improves flexibility, overall muscle strength and is low-impact, making it ideal for the age group in this study.

As we age, we become less active and more sedentary. Consequently, sitting for long periods limits movement and affects the body. In fact, age affects the entire musculoskeletal system: joints, muscles and bones. As a result, posture is affected and we also start to lose muscle tone, balance and joint mobility. Pilates can help to minimise these age-related changes.

For this study, participants use the Cadillac, Combo Chair and Reformer devices for the Pilates method. The researchers recommend nine exercises per session. Participants perform up to three sets of 12 repetitions of each exercise. They do this for a maximum of 45-minutes.

Study results

To establish if IMT positively effects breathing muscle strength, each participant’s maximum inspiratory pressure (MIP) is measured. MIP is an index of diaphragm strength and an independent predictor of all-cause mortality (longevity). Study findings show that MIP significantly evolved in the elderly. Additionally, the study highlights:

“the use of the POWERbreathe K5 device, which further favoured the gain in this variable.”

Findings also show:

“that all the variables were significantly better in the intervention groups than in the Control Group, thus strengthening the importance of the association between IMT and Pilates.”

In conclusion

“In conclusion, physiotherapy is an excellent ally in the prevention, promotion, and maintenance of health, quality of life and functional capacity in the gerontological population. The use of the Pilates Studio method, associated with technological equipment that allows more detailed analysis and treatment of pulmonary conditions, strength, function and mobility, was shown to be beneficial for this type of application.”

The influence of inspiratory muscle training combined with the Pilates method on lung function in elderly women: A randomized controlled trial >

S-Index assessment improves inspiratory muscle performance

S-Index stands for Strength-Index. It is one of the POWERbreathe K-Series’ test modes. Its purpose is to calculate inspiratory muscle strength based upon peak inspiratory flow.

Peak Inspiratory Flow (PIF)

We can evaluate improvements in inspiratory muscle strength by monitoring changes in a person’s peak inspiratory flow.

Peak Inspiratory Flow is a measure which reflects the ability of the inspiratory muscles (the muscles we use to breathe in) to contract rapidly and overcome the inherent resistance and elastance of the respiratory system.

Another of the K-Series’ test modes is the measurement of maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP). In fact, MIP is the most common measure in use for gauging inspiratory muscle strength. It is used as a diagnostic tool and an independent predictor of all-cause mortality.

Purpose of study

Currently, the most common test for assessing inspiratory muscle performance is the maximum ‘quasi-static’ inspiratory pressure (PImax).

However, the K-Series’ S-Index test has since become available for ‘dynamically’ evaluating the maximum inspiratory pressure.

In fact, it is suggested that the S-Index might be more appropriate for measuring inspiratory muscle performance than PImax.

Therefore, this study investigates this premise. It also assesses its reliability and whether an inspiratory muscle warm-up effects strength—index assessment.

Measurement validity of the K-Series

There are, in fact, current studies that have independently verified the measurement validity of the K-Series. Consequently, findings from these previous studies demonstrate its accuracy to measure dynamic inspiratory muscle pressure 1,2.

Therefore, this study feels that a proper assessment and the reliability of the S-Index should be addressed. In particular, it investigates the variability in response to repeated measurements. Furthermore, it evaluates whether an inspiratory muscle warm-up effects strength-index assessment. It is investigating whether using strength-index assessment improves clinical outcomes by reducing the bias effect.

Reliable values of the S-Index

What this study demonstrates is that at least 8 inspiratory manoeuvres are necessary to reach maximum and reliable values of the S-Index. Moreover, it also shows that specific inspiratory muscle warm-up could improve inspiratory muscle performance.

The authors believe this to be the first study to evaluate S-Index reliability in healthy subjects. Furthermore, they believe it to be the first study to investigate the effect of inspiratory warm-up in strength-index assessment.

In conclusion, inspiratory muscle warm-up should be used for detecting the true maximum values of the S-Index to evaluate the performance of inspiratory muscles for any intervention.

Assessment of Maximum Dynamic Inspiratory Pressure >


  1. Measurement validity of an electronic inspiratory loading device during a loaded breathing task in patients with COPD
  2. Repeated-Sprint Cycling Does Not Induce Respiratory Muscle Fatigue in Active Adults: Measurements from The POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Trainer 

Metaboreflex & Performance in Elite Female Soccer

ECSS is the European College of Sport Science (ECSS). Part of its purpose is to promote junior scientists and foster state-of-the-art research. And in order to do this, ECSS have created the Young Investigators Award (YIA). This award-winning research, presented in the video, is for Metaboreflex and Performance in Elite Female Soccer: Effects of Inspiratory Muscle Training.

Video presentation of ECSS YIA winning research

Metaboreflex & Performance in Elite Female Soccer

This research aims to determine the effects of Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) on respiratory and peripheral muscles oxygenation. It examines this during a maximal exercise tolerance test and on repeated-sprint ability (RSA) performance in professional women football players.

Inspiratory Muscle Training

All participants in the study perform 6-weeks of IMT. The device they use for IMT is the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link Live Feedback software.

At the end of their 6 weeks’ training, all participants are reevaluated.

Research Findings

The findings show that,

“…only the IMT group present lower deoxyhaemoglobin and total haemoglobin blood concentrations on intercostal muscles concomitantly to an increased oxyhemoglobin and total haemoglobin blood concentrations on vastus lateralis muscle during time-to-exhaustion”

Research Conclusions

Results suggest the potential role of IMT to attenuate inspiratory muscles metaboreflex. Consequently, oxygen and blood supply to limb muscles during high-intensity exercise improves. Furthermore, there is also a potential impact on inspiratory muscle strength, exercise tolerance and sprints performance in professional women football players.


ECSS presents scientists with the opportunity of entering this prestigious competition for scientific excellence, every year. And it’s at the ECSS annual congress where young scientists present their scientific work, as they compete to win the YIA Award.

Following presentations, members of the ECSS Scientific Board and ECSS Scientific Committee, grant the awards. They base this decision upon an oral and mini-oral presentation for the top ten presentations respectively.

Bruno Archiza is the winner of this 2016 YIA award, and his presentation took place at the 21st annual congress of the ECSS in Vienna.

Para-Cyclist Leon Selva and POWERbreathe

We recently met up with para-cyclist Leon Selva at his home earlier in November. Leon is training hard with the intention of competing in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Para-cyclist Leon

As a result of a terrible accident and with a positive frame of mind, Leon decided to start his career as a para-cyclist. Leon became badly injured in a car crash. His lung collapsed and the right side of his body is severely damaged. As a result Leon gets around with the aid of a crutch. But not one to let that get in the way, Leon is setting his sights on the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020. His ambition is clear to see.

Leon’s cycle training

Leon has a coach to help with his training. His coach also trains with Leon at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. And his father is responsible for converting a former bedroom into a training room. This room is kitted out with an elliptical, Wattbike and various other pieces of gym equipment. His bike has a special crank bottom bracket that allows both cranks to work independently as he can generate more power from his uninjured side.

Leon’s initial POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT)

After Leon’s recovery from his collapsed lung, he began using the POWERbreathe Plus HR. He uses this to strengthen the muscles he uses to breathe. These are his diaphragm and his intercostal muscles. The diaphragm is the main muscle that is used for breathing. The intercostals are muscles that are located between the ribs.

The POWERbreathe Plus HR is not the most suitable model for Leon. It is the highest resistance model in the Plus series. It is designed only for people who have reached the top of the MR (medium resistance) model. Leon finds it quite hard going and so isn’t using it effectively.

Leon’s current POWERbreathe IMT

Realising Leon was struggling with the Plus HR, his father started looking for a more suitable alternative. And so he bought Leon the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link Live Feedback Software. The K5 offers Leon a more tapered loading resistance. This will match the contraction curve of his own breathing muscles throughout his entire breath. And it’s this that makes it easier for Leon to use. As a result it’s more beneficial. Leon will no longer struggle with the resistance as the K5 does everything for him.

Leon on the POWERbreathe K5

Upon arrival we set up the K5 and Breathe-Link Live Feedback Software for Leon. Leon then starts to train with it immediately. And thanks to the live feedback software it’s clear that Leon’s initial in-breaths are very weak and uncoordinated. So over a period of 90 breaths, and as Leon looked at his live breathing on screen, we corrected his breathing technique. After a short while Leon shows how to get the most from his diaphragm and his breathing improves tremendously.

Leon was so pleased with his training, he exclaimed, “Dad, this is the best investment you have ever made, my improvement is amazing, it’s epic.” You can see this wonderful reaction in our YouTube video.

Because of this encouraging endorsement, Leon’s father and coach performed a number of breaths on the K5 too. They did this so that they could experience this training for themselves. They are now also able to offer advice and encouragement as Leon continues to train his breathing.

POWERbreathe K5 on the table in BBC TV Programme

‘Bang Goes the Theory’ is a BBC TV programme that investigates the science behind the headlines, and on Monday 22nd April Jem Stansfield tested out the very latest in self-monitoring gadgets as he investigated the world of self-tracking. On the table was our very own POWERbreathe K5.

The latest episode looked at the new technologies that are at our disposal for testing, diagnosing and treating ourselves at home – a veritable “revolution in healthcare, because medicine is getting personal”.

Presenter Jem Stansfield had expert help from Dr. Jack Kreindler, Medical Director and High Altitude Medicine Specialist, to assess the benefits of self-monitoring and the very latest range of gadgets that take self-monitoring to new levels, including the POWERbreathe K5.

Dr. Kreindler said “We have a huge opportunity with this incredible technology becoming ever more powerful, smaller, accurate and useful to the profession that we can transform the way we practice medicine by collecting the data, understanding it and acting earlier, making better decisions before we get ill.” Dr. Kreindler is a health and human performance consultant, and founder and Managing Director of the Centre for Health and Human Performance in Harley Street.

With an array of self-monitoring devices on the table, including the POWERbreathe K5, Jem Stansfield proclaimed that “you could almost put a roof over this table, and that’s a hospital.”

If you missed it, you can see the programme again until 6th May on BBC iPlayer.

Programme details

  • Bang Goes the Theory – Series 7, Episode 7
  • Broadcast on: BBC One, 7:30PM Mon, 22 Apr 2013
  • Available on BBC iPlayer until: 7:56PM Mon, 6 May 2013
  • First broadcast: BBC One, 7:30PM Mon, 22 Apr 2013
  • Duration: 30 minutes

If you’re already using the POWERbreathe K5 for testing, training and self-monitoring your breathing strength and stamina for sports, or you’re using POWERbreathe because you have a breathing problem, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum as we’d love to hear from you. You can also read more about POWERbreathe for sports training in the Blog’s Endurance Training category, or visit the Blog’s Breathing Problems category if you have a breathing problem.

93-Year-Old Now Able to Inhale Medication After Using POWERbreathe K5

A physiotherapist in Brazil spoke to us of a 93-year-old patient, sadly unable to inhale medication she desperately needs for a medical issue. Paulo, her physio, explains how her breathing muscles are so weak due to her illness. Consequently, her weak breathing muscles aren’t strong enough to inhale the medication deep enough to be beneficial.

How POWERbreathe helped 93-year-old inhale medication

Quick thinking Paulo immediately set her up with the POWERbreathe K5 Inspiratory Muscle Training device. His patient began breathing in through the device on a regular basis to train her breathing muscles to become stronger. Consequently, Paulo saw improvements in her breathing strength, as the breathing load started to increase.

Breathing Load is a resistance that the patient breathes in against in order to strengthen the breathing muscles. And this load increases in increments, very gradually, according to the physiotherapist’s guidance. This task is easier, thanks to the K5 Breathe-Link Live Feedback Software. This allows the user – and in this case, the healthcare professional – to see, in real-time, the progress being made. As a result, adjustments are made based on real data, making training more manageable for the patient. Such data, useful for prescribing a training programme, includes breathing power (watts), volume (litres) and breathing energy (joules). Consequently, this paints a picture of the strength and stamina of the patient’s breathing.

Inhaling medication thanks to stronger breathing muscles

Inspiratory muscle training engages the breathing muscles, making them work harder. It’s a form of training that requires a person to breathe in forcefully against a resistance. So it’s much like any other form of progressive strength training, but for the breathing muscles. It’s this forceful breath in, and an increase in resistance, that improves the strength and stamina of the breathing muscles, reducing fatigue.

Paulo’s patient is now able to take in such a forceful breath that she now successfully inhales her prescription, helping to improve the symptoms of her medical condition.

POWERbreathe on tour – in Brazil

K5 on tour - BrazilOur very own Duncan is visiting our POWERbreathe friends in Brazil and has just sent us this little update…

A long journey yesterday. Got to bed at midnight UK time having left home at 2-40 am UK time.

Flight was on time and no problems although I find it hard to control my air rage towards the person in front of me who tipped his seat right back for the whole flight! (Take a deep breath Duncan, you should be really good at that!)

Arrived safely, very fast through their customs, they let anybody in! Got a lift to the hotel with Pedro (our man in Brazil) in his bullet proof car!! Didn’t ask why he needed one. Don’t think I will go out on any runs somehow.

The photo is of the wonderful view from my hotel room. 24hr traffic and the windows must have been fitted by someone without a ruler as the noise comes in from the gaps. When you are as tired as I was and with a bit of toilet roll stuffed in my ears, I didn’t wake up until 10-00 am UK time.

Had breakfast and waiting for Pedro. The exhibition I’m attending with Pedro runs from 12-00 noon until 9-00pm tonight. Looking forward to it and practicing my Portuguese.

It is a 3 day show and on Sunday we are flying north to Salvador for appointments on Monday and later next week Pedro is awaiting confirmation from Santos FC (Pele’s team) regarding an appointment with them.

Will let you know how it goes tomorrow.

All the best


Duncan Kerr

POWERbreathe activities in the Czech Republic

Over in the Czech Republic our POWERbreathe distributors for the Czech Republic & Slovakia (Truconnexion) had a booth at a cycling marathon event in Teplice with 450 racers on Saturday 11th August where they did demo’s with the K5 and also held a competition for the highest test score with the POWERbreathe challenge. The highest score was 184 cmH2O for the men and 93 cmH2O for the women. Please see pictures attached.

Also these guys did a promotion with the Eurosport channel throughout the Olympics where someone had the chance to win a POWERbreathe Plus every day for answering the questions correctly.

Check out their website

Please feel free to leave a comment below.

POWERbreathe Desford Sprint Triathlon, 12th August

Racetime Events first ran this event in 2011, and this year are back with a great new headline sponsor- POWERbreathe.

POWERbreathe are the world’s number 1 breathing trainer and are a new sponsor for 2012. We will be at the event to showcase our range of products, including the recently launched innovative K5 model with Breathe- Link software and answer any questions you may have. To view our great range of products and see the benefits of using a POWERbreathe go to our website. With a stunning bike route and multi lap spectator friendly run this fast race is one to add to your 2012 calendar.

Entries are now open for both of the Racetime events and you can enter online or download a paper entry at Racetime Events