Athletes Do Not Condition Inspired Air More Effectively than Non-athletes

There is a study that aims to assess athletes’ ability to warm and humidify inspired air. This study is published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. It is called, Athletes do not condition inspired air more effectively than non-athletes during hyperpnea.

Endurance athletes’ inspired air

Airway disease is more prevalent in endurance athletes. This is possible because they need to adapt their breathing to cope with large volumes of inspired air. And they need to inspire large volumes of air because of the intense exercise they perform. But the environment they train in may also be relevant.

Study method

The study measures the difference between each athlete’s inhaled and exhaled air temperature. It did this during and after a Eucapnic Voluntary Hyperpnea test (EVH). This is the test that is used to diagnose exercise-induced asthma or exercise-induced bronchospasm. It is a 6 minute test during which the athlete breathes a cold, dry gas at very high ventilation rates.

All 23 athletes in the study attend a laboratory on three occasions. Two of these occasions are for baseline measurements and information. The third is to perform a modified EVH test. This is to measure their inspired and expired air temperatures.

No evidence of improved capacity to condition inspired air

The test results show no evidence of improved capacity to condition inspired air. And by ‘conditioned’ air the study means the athlete’s ability to warm and humidify inspired air. If the study did find evidence, this could suggest an increased bronchial blood flow or another adaptive mechanism. Bronchial blood flow supplies nutrients and oxygen to the cells that constitute the lungs, as well as carrying waste products away from them. Therefore the absence of an adaptive mechanism could contribute to airway damage observed in endurance athletes. This may be that colder but mainly dryer air is penetrating deeper in the lung.

Strategies to reduce impact on airway injury

A pre-exercise warm-up is well known to reduce the severity of exercise-induced bronchospasm and exercise-induced asthma. It is thought the reason for this is because of an increase in bronchial blood flow. A warm-up involves performing the athlete’s activity at a slower pace and reduced intensity. It gradually raises the body temperature. Furthermore it increases blood flow to the muscles.

An inspiratory warm-up

It is also beneficial to warm-up the breathing muscles. A scientifically proven way of doing this is with Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT). POWERbreathe is an IMT device that is quick and easy to use. POWERbreathe IMT is performed as part of an athlete’s daily training. But research and trials have also shown it to be beneficial for an inspiratory warm-up. This means simply reducing the breathing load on the POWERbreathe IMT device to a lower setting. Better still the POWERbreathe K3, K4 and K5 with Breathe-Link Live Feedback Software feature an automatic warm-up mode. This automatically sets the optimal resistance for an inspiratory muscle warm-up.

Are athletes more susceptible to airway dysfunction?

The Study

Environmental influence on the prevalence and pattern of airway dysfunction in elite athletes‘. The purpose of this study recently published in ‘Respirology’ was to evaluate the prevalence of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), often known as exercise-induced asthma, in elite Great British (GB) boxers and swimmers. This study was the first to screen the entire elite Great British (GB) Swimming and Boxing teams using a eucapnic voluntary hyperpnoea (EVH) challenge. Findings from the study support the notion that athletes who train and compete in provocative environments at sustained high ventilation have an increased susceptibility to airway dysfunction. Conclusion: “The prevalence of EIB was ninefold greater in swimmers when compared with boxers. Athletes who train and compete in provocative environments at sustained high ventilation may have an increased susceptibility to EIB. It is not entirely clear whether increased susceptibility to EIB affects elite sporting performance and long-term airway health in elite athletes.” In scientific tests, Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) has been shown to decrease dyspnea, increase inspiratory muscle strength, and improve exercise capacity in asthmatic individuals. POWERbreathe IMT is scientifically proven, effective, low-cost and a drug-free adjunct to traditional asthma treatments and can be used as part of an athlete’s daily training to reduce symptoms. Supportive Study Effect of Inspiratory Muscle Training on Exercise Tolerance in Asthmatic Individuals concluded that, “IMT attenuates inspiratory muscle fatigue, reduces the perception of dyspnea, and increases exercise tolerance. These findings suggest that IMT may be a helpful adjunct to asthma management that has the potential to improve participation and adherence to exercise training in this group.”

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Effects of 3-week RMT on Sport Performance in College Basketball Athletes

The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of 3-week respiratory muscle training on exercising limb blood flow and sports performance in college basketball players.

Intervention used: POWERbreathe K2

Conclusion: “3-week respiratory muscle training enhanced respiratory muscle endurance and improve athletes’ sport performance. Although the decline in blood flow did not decrease significantly after training, the results had a downward tendency after training, suggesting respiratory muscle training could enhance sport performance by delaying respiratory muscle metaboreflex.”

Read Effects of 3-week Respiratory Muscle Training on Sport Performance in College Basketball Athletes >

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A Modified Breathing Exercise Program For Asthma Is Easy To Perform And Effective

Published online (June 2016) is this new study in the Journal of Asthma, A modified breathing exercise program for asthma is easy to perform and effective. The study evaluated a simple, modified breathing exercise program investigating how easy it was to perform and how effective it was as an adjunctive therapy. The program incorporated three different breathing exercises (yoga pranayama techniques, diaphragmatic breathing and pursed lip breathing), each of which was taught to the 74 subjects. Conclusion: “A simple program of breathing exercises was found to be effective and could be completed in less than 10 minutes per day. Furthermore, there was a statistically significant improvement in Asthma Control Test (ACT) scores post-exercise.” One of the exercises, diaphragmatic breathing, can be performed easily in the home without tuition by using POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training devices. (Please check with your healthcare provider first.) The scientifically proven training regimen is just 30 breaths twice a day which takes about 5 minutes. POWERbreathe exercises the muscles used to breathe in, primarily the diaphragm and intercostal muscles. It uses the principles of resistance training to exercise these inspiratory muscles by making you breathe in through the device against an adjustable variable ‘load’. It’s like ‘dumbbells for your diaphragm’, and the more you use it the stronger your breathing muscles become; the stronger they become the more you increase the load, improving your ability to take a deeper, more satisfying breath. This training not only makes your breathing muscles stronger but it also improves their stamina and reduces fatigue, improving quality of life in those with breathing problems such as asthma and COPD, and improving performance in those who’re physically active.

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Screening For Cardiac And Respiratory Problems In Elite Sport

This article published in Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine discusses how the process of screening athletes for cardiac and respiratory anomalies presents a number of challenges. Conclusion: “Based on the current best available evidence, there is a strong case to argue that respiratory screening should be included in any comprehensive physiological screening /pre-participation assessment in athletes and integrated cardiorespiratory assessment is likely to be indicated in certain groups of high-risk athletes (e.g. elite-level endurance athletes). In the meantime, while we await further research to guide the optimal approach in this area, certainly affording athletes close medical attention to their cardiorespiratory health is the least a responsible clinician can offer.” The POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link Live Feedback software offers clinicians, coaches and elite athletes themselves the opportunity to assess their own breathing parameters. Athletes can perform breathing training on the hand-held K5 device using its variable threshold resistance training to exercise their breathing muscles to improve strength and stamina and reduce fatigue. The Breathe-Link Live Feedback software provides real-time feedback on screen which can be analysed and assessed by the clinician or coach, providing essential feedback of respiratory history and for personalised training programmes. The K5 enables up to a maximum of 30 user profiles and 1200 stored sessions per user making it ideal for team use by the coach. Read Screening for cardiac and respiratory problems in elite sport – compare and contrast >

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Study finds athletes benefit from prescribed, sport-specific, IMT

The Japan Institute of Sports Science published this study, Maximal inspiratory mouth pressure in Japanese elite male athletes in Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology (August 2016). It explains that maximal inspiratory mouth pressure (MIP) is a common measurement of inspiratory muscle strength. MIP  is often used in a variety of exercises to test the effects of inspiratory muscle training (IMT). Understanding MIP characteristics in elite athletes’ is required in order to guide sport-specific inspiratory muscle training programs. This study investigated the MIP characteristics of elite athletes from a variety of sports.


Findings suggest that athletes could benefit from prescribed, sport-specific, inspiratory muscle training or warm-ups.

POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT)

POWERbreathe IMT devices use the principles of resistance training to exercise the inspiratory muscles. This training makes the breathing muscles stronger. Stronger breathing muscles mean improved stamina and reduced fatigue. And as breathing strength and stamina increase so performance improves. There are many studies that show IMT can increase the strength and endurance of the inspiratory muscles. This study from the University of Birmingham concluded just that, and used POWERbreathe to do so. POWERbreathe IMT is also beneficial as part of a sports warm-up, when using it on a reduced load setting on the POWERbreathe Classic or Plus. However the POWERbreathe K3, K4 and K5 all feature a Warm-up Mode which automatically sets a proportion of your normal training level for you. Research has shown that a standard pre-exercise warm-up routine fails to prepare the breathing muscles for the rigours of exercise. POWERbreathe IMT is also a hugely beneficial recovery protocol. A POWERbreathe ‘cool-down’ will help speed lactate clearance more effectively than traditional active recovery strategies. Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil have found that breathing against a small inspiratory load immediately after exercise reduces lactate by 16%.

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Effects Of Ramadan Fasting On Inspiratory Muscle Function

Recent research published in the Asian Journal Of Sports Medicine investigated the effects of Ramadan fasting on respiratory muscle strength. During the summer months Ramadan fasting can be a major challenge for those who wish to exercise, with evidence indicating that it causes higher subjective ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), the mechanisms for which it says are not exactly known and the role of respiratory muscle strength has not been studied. Therefore the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Ramadan fasting on respiratory muscle strength and results found that it may cause reduction of respiratory muscle strength through reduction of body weight. It also concluded that further larger sample size studies with control of all confounding factors are required in order to know the effect of fasting on respiratory muscle strength. Until such future studies are conducted there is something that can be done in order to help those who wish to exercise and are fasting at Ramadan to keep up the strength of their breathing muscles: POWERbreathe breathing muscle training. POWERbreathe exercises the breathing muscles using resistance training to make them stronger, improving breathing stamina and reducing fatigue. So although physically working out can be a drain on the body when ‘fuel’ is reduced through fasting, POWERbreathe breathing training can still be performed, keeping the integrity of the individual’s fitness at a strong level. This is hugely beneficial for those exercising once the holy month of fasting is over as when they begin their fitness regimen again. Read Effects of Ramadan Fasting on Inspiratory Muscle Function >

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IMT In Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Recipients: A Randomized Controlled Trial

“Respiratory muscles are known to be weakened and are a cause of reduced exercise capacity in both recipients and candidates of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). Effects of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) in this patient population have not been comprehensively investigated so far. This study planned to investigate the effects of IMT during allo-HSCT on early transplantation-related outcomes.”


“Inspiratory muscle training is a safe and effective intervention which improves respiratory muscle strength and exercise capacity and decreases depression and dyspnea in allo-HSCT recipients. These positive changes might be further enhanced by prolonging the duration of training or inclusion of more recipients with inspiratory muscle weakness.”

Read Inspiratory muscle training in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients: a randomized controlled trial >