Running improves with POWERbreathe

This article in Runner’s World asks you to ‘take a deep breath and improve your running performance with a handy piece of equipment…’ That piece of equipment is POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT).

Breathe your way to better running

The article suggests that as a runner you may be neglecting one muscle group in your training. That group is your inspiratory muscles. Your inspiratory muscles are the muscles you use to breathe in. The main inspiratory muscles are your diaphragm and intercostals. These are the muscles you primarily use for breathing but they also play a role in your core stability. In the article are three exercises that use POWERbreathe IMT to exercise your inspiratory muscles. In fact runners performing these exercises were shown to improve their performance in a time trial. They also increased their core endurance. The exercises were performed three to four times a week, for six weeks. One of the authors of the time trial study says that the athletes’ trunk muscles were shown to deliver breathing and core stability, without compromising either. This will make running more comfortable and feel easier. These are the exercises being prescribed for improving running performance. They use POWERbreathe IMT during the exercise to improve breathing strength and stamina.

The exercises

  • Bridge – 10 reps, 2 sets
  • Bird Dog – 10 reps, 1 set per side
  • Swiss Ball Squat Thrust – 10-15 reps, 2 sets

There is full instruction in the article as to how best to perform the exercises using your POWERbreathe IMT. It is best to perfect your breathing technique first using your POWERbreathe. You can watch this video that shows the best POWERbreathe breathing technique. By getting the technique right you are ensuring you benefit from breathing from your diaphragm. The correct technique teaches you to breathe from your diaphragm. Most people have forgotten this proper way to breathe and resort to breathing from the chest instead.  If you follow the technique shown in the video you are also reducing your risk of injury as you will be breathing properly.

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Running performance improves with deeper breathing

An article in the October 2016 edition of Runner’s World UK says you can boost your running performance with each breath you take. But you have to choose the right type of training. And that is training that gets oxygen to where you need it.

Improving running performance starts with your breathing

Breathing training will help you with this. It helps you to get oxygen into your legs and will help avoid breathlessness from the start. In fact Dr John Dickinson recommends you pay attention to your breathing before you even start running. Dr Dickinson is Head of the Respiratory Clinic at the University of Kent.

Warm-up your breathing muscles

A research study(1) has found that a standard pre-exercise warm-up routine will fail to prepare the breathing muscles for the rigours of exercise. And not warming up the breathing muscles will lead to excessive breathlessness as you start running.

Improve the muscles that inflate your lungs

Strengthening your inspiratory muscles is something that is suggested in the article. Because it is not possible to train the lungs or grow more alveoli (where gas exchange takes place), this is the one thing you can do. By training the inspiratory muscles you’ll be able to get more air into your lungs.

POWERbreathe IMT recommended in article

One of the author’s of the article suggests practising more efficient diaphragmatic breathing through inspiratory muscle training. It mentions ‘the popular’ POWERbreathe. POWERbreathe is an Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) device. The article goes on to say how in studies POWERbreathe improved inspiratory muscle strength by 31% and inspiratory muscle endurance by 27%. It also states how POWERbreathe also improved recovery during repeated sprints by 7%.

How breathing better improves running performance

Research and trials(2,3) suggest that during heavy exercise, blood flow (and therefore oxygen delivery) to your exercising muscles is inversely related to respiratory work. This means that your inspiratory muscles are capable of stealing blood from your other working muscles. This in turn will impair your performance. Other research on inspiratory muscle training (IMT) and exercise performance reveals a reduction in whole body effort sensation. This means that after 4-weeks of IMT, people didn’t feel they were exercising as hard and were therefore able to push themselves that bit further. Because of this they were increasing their training intensity and ultimately their performance.

POWERbreathe IMT improves running performance

When you use POWERbreathe IMT to subject your inspiratory muscles, mainly your diaphragm and intercostals to an appropriate training resistance, they will adapt. They will increase in strength, power and stamina. And although running will strengthen your diaphragm to a degree, “you don’t get the results you get with inspiratory training”, says Dr Graham Sharpe. ‘The most accessible method is a device such as POWERbreathe’, the article says. Dr Graham Sharpe is Principal Lecturer at the School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University.


1 Specific respiratory warm-up improves rowing performance and exertional dyspnoea

2 The influence of inspiratory muscle work history and specific inspiratory muscle training upon human limb muscle fatigue

3 Effect of inspiratory muscle work on peripheral fatigue of locomotor muscles in healthy humans

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