Training The Inspiratory Muscles Improves Running Performance When Carrying A 25kg Thoracic Load In A Backpack

“Load carriage (LC) exercise in physically demanding occupations is typically characterised by periods of low-intensity steady-state exercise and short duration, high-intensity exercise while carrying an external mass in a backpack; this form of exercise is also known as LC exercise. This induces inspiratory muscle fatigue and reduces whole-body performance. Accordingly we investigated the effect of inspiratory muscle training (IMT, 50% maximal inspiratory muscle pressure (PImax) twice daily for six week) upon running time-trial performance with thoracic LC.”


“In summary, when wearing a 25 kg backpack, IMT attenuated the cardiovascular and perceptual responses to steady-state exercise and improved high-intensity time-trial performance which we attribute in part to reduced relative work intensity of the inspiratory muscles due to improved inspiratory muscle strength. These findings have real-world implications for occupational contexts.”

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Respiratory-Related Limitations In Physically Demanding Occupations

“Respiratory muscle work limits high-intensity exercise tolerance in healthy human beings… In an occupational setting, heavy loads are routinely carried upon the trunk in the form of body armour, backpacks, and/or compressed air cylinders by military, emergency service, and mountain rescue personnel. This personal and respiratory protective equipment impairs respiratory muscle function and increases respiratory muscle work.”


“An argument is presented that the unique respiratory challenges encountered in some occupational settings require further research, since these may affect the operational effectiveness and the health and safety of personnel working in physically demanding occupations.”

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Influence Of Body Armour On Pulmonary Function

“The purpose of the present study was to determine if lightweight body armour (weighing less than 10 kg) would influence pulmonary function in a manner similar to that reported previously for backpacks and heavily weighted jackets.”


“…a reduction of 10-4% in the maximum voluntary ventilation sustained for 15 s observed in the lightest of the three types of body armour suggests that tightness of fit may be important. The practical consequences of these findings are minimal whilst a person is inactive, but may assume increasing importance when body armour is combined with backpack load carriage during sustained aerobic exercise.”

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Rib Cage And Abdominal Restrictions Have Different Effects On Lung Mechanics

“The effects of a variety of restrictive procedures on lung mechanics were studied in eight healthy subjects.”


“Lung volume restriction induces changes in lung function, but the nature of these changes depends on how the restriction is applied and therefore cannot be ascribed to low lung volume breathing per se.”

Protective equipment that restricts lung function can increase breathing effort and reduce operational performance. POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training reverses these impairments.

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The Effect Of Football Shoulder Pads On Pulmonary Function

“Restriction of expansion of the lungs or chest wall impedes inflation of the lungs during inhalation. Functional changes occurring during such restriction include reduced pulmonary and/or chest wall compliance, decreases in pulmonary function, and ultimately a decrease in exercise performance. Such restriction can be seen in several pathologic conditions such as scoliosis or obesity, as well as occupational situations such as the wearing of bullet-proof vests. This study investigated the hypothesis that tightened football shoulder pads produce decrements in pulmonary function similar to those shown in previous studies involving other external chest-wall restricting devices.”


“Results are consistent with a restrictive condition and support our hypothesis that tightened shoulder pads reduce pulmonary function. Further studies remain to be performed to determine whether these changes lead to decreased exercise performance and whether equipment modifications can be made to limit alterations in pulmonary function without decreasing the protective value of the pads.”

Therefore it appears that protective equipment increases breathing effort and reduces operational performance. POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training reverses these impairments.

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