Running improves with breathing control

This article in Women’s Running discusses ways of improving breathing control while running. Better breathing will help you run better and improve your performance.

Control your breathing to improve your running

Your breathing may feel laboured while running. However if you breathe correctly you will find running becomes easier. The article refers to four ways that will help.

Loosen up and check your posture

It suggests that the way you hold yourself could interfere with your breathing. Perhaps you are stiffening your rib cage as you run. If so, this will affect the way you breathe. You need to ‘free your rib cage’. Sean Carey, world-renowned practitioner in the Alexander Technique explains how to do this in the article.

Synchronise your breathing with your running

This is what Professor Alison McConnell suggests to make your breathing more comfortable while running. To achieve this start to inhale as your right foot strikes the ground. Continue to inhale as your left foot strikes. You should then start to exhale as your right foot strikes the ground for the second time.

Get in touch with your diaphragm

Another idea that is proposed is to ‘discover your diaphragm’ once again. As you get older, as a result of stress and poor posture, you start to develop poor breathing habits. This includes breathing from your chest. You should be breathing from your diaphragm, your main breathing muscle. Like any other muscle your diaphragm can suffer fatigue. This will result in laboured and uncomfortable breathing. It can also lead to intense breathlessness. Research has shown that exhausted breathing muscles will divert blood away from your legs, to help keep you breathing. This will result in the supply of oxygen to your legs being reduced. As a result your running performance will be impaired.

How POWERbreathe can help

POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training specifically targets your breathing muscles. It exercises them. You breathe in through the device against a ‘load’, or resistance. It’s this resistance that exercises your breathing muscles to become stronger. Stronger breathing muscles means more breathing stamina too and reduced fatigue. This in turn will improve your performance. You’ll be able to run for longer and with less effort.

Practice deep breathing

The final tip offered by Women’s Running is to practise pranayama, yogic breathing. But POWERbreathe IMT can also help you here. By using POWERbreathe IMT you are training yourself to take deep breaths. This will help you breathe to your full capacity. The article finishes by offering some good advice. That is to think about breathing from your diaphragm and deep breathing as you walk. As you become more confident and it becomes more natural, you can introduce it while running.

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

“This study 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 load carriage.”


“When wearing a 25kg 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.”

Read Training the inspiratory muscles improves running performance when carrying a 25 kg thoracic load in a backpack >

400-Meter and 800-Meter Track Running Induces Inspiratory Muscle Fatigue In Trained Female Middle-Distance Runners

“Inspiratory muscle fatigue (IMF) may limit exercise performance. A few studies have reported that IMF occurs after short-duration swimming exercise, but whether short-duration running can induce IMF remains unclear.”


“IMF occurs after short-duration running exercise. Coaches could consider prescribing inspiratory muscle training or warm-up in an effort to reduce the inevitable IMF associated with maximal effort running.”

Read 400-meter and 800-meter track running induces inspiratory muscle fatigue in trained female middle-distance runners >

Aspects Of Respiratory Muscle Fatigue In A Mountain Ultramarathon Race

“Ultramarathon running offers a unique possibility to investigate the mechanisms contributing to the limitation of endurance performance. Investigations of locomotor muscle fatigue show that central fatigue is a major contributor to the loss of strength in the lower limbs after an ultramarathon. In addition, respiratory muscle fatigue is known to limit exercise performance, but only limited data are available on changes in respiratory muscle function after ultramarathon running and it is not known whether the observed impairment is caused by peripheral and/or central fatigue.”


“Ultraendurance running reduces respiratory muscle strength for inspiratory muscles shown to result from significant peripheral muscle fatigue with only little contribution of central fatigue. This is in contrast to findings in locomotor muscles. Whether this difference between muscle groups results from inherent neuromuscular differences, their specific pattern of loading or other reasons remain to be clarified.”

Read Aspects of Respiratory Muscle Fatigue in a Mountain Ultramarathon Race >

POWERbreathe Training Running Protocols

Compiled and written by Chris Lord and Professor Alison McConnell, this training protocol provides a series of exercises and ideas on how to get the most out of POWERbreathe, specifically focussing on the demands of running. All the techniques and exercises within this training protocol are intended as a guide and can be adapted and tailored to suit the abilities and requirements of the user.

Read POWERbreathe Training Running Protocols >

‘Functional’ Inspiratory And Core Muscle Training Enhances Running Performance And Economy

“This study compared the effects of two 6-week high-intensity interval training interventions. Under the control condition, only interval training was undertaken, whilst under the intervention condition, interval training sessions were followed immediately by core training, which was combined with simultaneous inspiratory muscle training – ‘functional’ IMT.”


“Findings suggest that the addition of inspiratory-loaded core conditioning into a high-intensity interval training program augments the influence of the interval program upon endurance running performance, and that this may be underpinned by an improvement in running economy.”

Read ‘Functional’ inspiratory and core muscle training enhances running performance and economy >

Repeated Abdominal Exercise Induces Respiratory Muscle Fatigue

“Prolonged bouts of hyperpnea or resisted breathing are known to result in respiratory muscle fatigue, as are primarily non respiratory exercises such as maximal running and cycling… Sit-up training has been used to increase respiratory muscle strength, but no studies have been done to determine whether this type of non-respiratory activity can lead to respiratory fatigue. The purpose of the study was to test the effect of sit-ups on various respiratory muscle strength and endurance parameters.”


“After a one-time fatiguing sit-up exercise bout there is a reduction in respiratory muscle strength (MIP, MEP) and endurance (incremental breathing test duration) but not spirometric pulmonary function.”

Read Repeated abdominal exercise induces respiratory muscle fatigue >

Changes In Respiratory Muscle And Lung Function Following Marathon Running In Man

“Respiratory muscle fatigue has been reported following short bouts of high-intensity exercise, and prolonged, moderate-intensity exercise… However, links to functionally relevant outcomes such as breathing effort have been lacking. This study examined dyspnoea and leg fatigue during a treadmill marathon in nine experienced runners.”


“Results confirm that prolonged moderate-intensity exercise induces inspiratory muscle fatigue. Furthermore, they suggest that the relative intensity of inspiratory muscle work during exercise makes some contribution to leg fatigue.”

Read Changes in respiratory muscle and lung function following marathon running in man >

The Effect Of Inspiratory Muscle Training On High-Intensity, Intermittent Running Performance To Exhaustion

“This studied the effects of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) on maximal 20m shuttle run performance during Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test and on the physiological and perceptual responses to the running test were examined.“


“Findings suggest that although both inspiratory muscle training and warm-up improve the tolerance of intense intermittent exercise, the underlying mechanisms may be different.”

Read The effect of inspiratory muscle training on high-intensity, intermittent running performance to exhaustion >