Tennis Players’ Endurance Improves after POWERbreathe IMT

New research shows tennis players’ endurance and strength improves after Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT). The research from Pune, India, is in the International Journal of Current Research (February 2018).

What affects tennis performance

The main characteristics of this game are intense bouts of running, such as sprinting to reach a ball. Consequently, breathing is driven to its highest levels. And this induces extreme breathlessness. This affects performance.

In order to continue to play effectively while maintaining a high level of skill performance, breathing mustn’t hinder performance.

Breathing effort in tennis

Playing tennis involves using your breathing muscles in your torso to brace and twist during a racket stroke. Also, experienced players use their inflated lungs to brace the impact of the ball and racket. This helps them to control the release of air from their lungs and optimise the transmission of force. However, breathing muscle fatigue impairs this control. Thankfully though, breathing muscle strengthening training will improve this. Using a device that specifically trains the breathing muscles, the inspiratory muscles, is the easiest way of doing this. These are called Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) devices, such as POWERbreathe IMT. And training your breathing muscles to become stronger can help with a player’s postural control and movement too.

Research into players’ endurance

The research from Pune highlights the fact that tennis matches feature high-intensity, short- duration bouts of extreme activity with a short rest time. And it’s the competition of blood flow between the arms and legs and the breathing muscles which ultimately increases breathing fatigue.

For this study, researchers use the POWERbreathe KH1 Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) device to strengthen participants’ breathing muscles. Furthermore, each participant performed a prescribed protocol for using the device for five days over four weeks. Researchers were aiming to assess the effect of IMT on cardiovascular endurance in lawn tennis players.

Research findings

The findings of this latest research show there to be,

“significant improvement in cardiovascular endurance and strength in lawn tennis players after progressive inspiratory muscle training.”

How to improve tennis performance

POWERbreathe IMT specifically targets the breathing muscles, strengthening them by around 30-50%, significantly improving performance and helping to eliminate breathing fatigue. And these findings are a result of studies with tennis players who, after IMT, took less time to recover and were ready sprint maximally again more quickly.



New Trial into Effects of IMT in COPD Patients

A new clinical trial will be looking at the effects of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) on shortness of breath (dyspnea) and postural control in patients with COPD.

Shortness of breath in patients with COPD

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) experience shortness of breath, or dyspnea, during physical activity. It is related to weakness of their respiratory muscles. There is much evidence of IMT improving breathing muscle function and reducing the intensity of dyspnea.

Balance impairment in patients with COPD

Patients with COPD and pronounced respiratory muscle weakness also show impaired postural balance. But improvements in respiratory muscle function might improve balance control in patients.

Purpose of the controlled trial

The trial will consider whether eight week’s of controlled IMT will reduce the intensity and feeling of dyspnea. It will also investigate if it improves postural control. And finally it will look to see if IMT improves blood flow and oxygen delivery to a patient’s limb muscles too.

Inspiratory muscle training intervention

The trial will use the POWERbreathe KHP2 Inspiratory Muscle Training device for monitoring breathing parameters. And patients will each use a POWERbreathe Medic Plus twice a day, mostly in their home and without supervision. However they will perform one training session each week under supervision, during which the training load will be increased. A sham group will perform three daily sessions of 30 breaths and will train at a constant inspiratory load of no more than 10% of their initial Pi,max.

The Principal Investigator is Rik Gosselink, PT, PhD. The trial is open to all sexes ageing from 40 to 90 years of age. It will take place at the University Hospital Leuven, Belgium. And the estimated completion date for the trial is January 31st 2018.

Measurement Validity Of KH1 During Breathing Task In Patients With COPD

This paper studies the validity of the POWERbreathe KH1 – a recently introduced, handheld, electronic loading device. It looks at how well it provides automatically processed information on external inspiratory work, power and breathing pattern during loaded breathing tasks in patients with COPD.

Intervention: POWERbreathe KH1


“The handheld device provides automatically processed and valid estimates of physical units of energy during loaded breathing tasks. This enables health care providers to quantify the load on inspiratory muscles during these tests in daily clinical practice.”

Measurement validity of an electronic inspiratory loading device during a loaded breathing task in patients with COPD >

Respiratory Muscle Activity During Simultaneous Stationary Cycling and IMT

Results revealed in a research paper published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning has revealed that “the combination of IMT and cycling may provide an additive training effect.”

The POWERbreathe KH1 Inspiratory Muscle Training Device was used in this research that looked at acute activation of the diaphragm and sternocleidomastoid in combination with cycling.

Research Paper:

Respiratory Muscle Activity During Simultaneous Stationary Cycling and Inspiratory Muscle Training 
Hellyer NJ, Folsom IA, Gaz DV, Kakuk AC, Mack J, Ver Mulm JA.
Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Dec 17. [Epub ahead of print]

Nathan Hellyer, PT, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at the Mayo Clinic’s College of Medicine.

Purpose of the Study:

To determine the effect of IMT (Inspiratory Muscle Training) on respiratory muscle EMG-activity during stationary cycling in the upright and drops postures as compared to IMT performed alone.


“We chose to use an IMT of 40% MIP so as to minimize inspiratory muscle fatigue. MIP was measured with an electronic IMT device (POWERbreathe KH1) that could then be set at a fixed training load of 40% MIP.”

… “The Mayo Institutional Review Board approved all methods and procedures, including the use of human subjects.”


“Previous studies have demonstrated that IMT at 50-80% intensity of MIP results in diaphragm strength and endurance gains (4, 6, 7). The present study explored whether combining a non-fatiguing IMT intensity (40% IMT) with cycling would significantly increase respiratory muscle recruitment and activity. In agreement with our hypothesis, we observed that IMT at 40% MIP plus cycling produces significantly greater EMG activity than IMT alone. This suggests that cycling plus IMT may provide an additive training effect as compared to traditional IMT training.”

Practical Applications:

“Cyclists can therefore use IMT while cycling as an additional method to train. This might be especially useful when a cyclist is limited in workload due to recovery from a lower extremity injury and desires to maintain respiratory fitness.”

Read the Abstract for ‘Respiratory Muscle Activity During Simultaneous Stationary Cycling and Inspiratory Muscle Training’ online.

Read more about incorporating POWERbreathe IMT into cycling training, or if you’re a cyclist and are already using POWERbreathe, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter pages. You can also read more about POWERbreathe and cycling training in the Blog’s Cycling category.

You can also find out in which research POWERbreathe was selected as the inspiratory muscle training device of choice on our POWERbreathe in Research page.