Inspiratory Muscle Training
Did you know that when you breathe, you only use a small percentage of your lung capacity? And did you also know that inspiratory muscle training, which is commonly used to treat people with asthma and COPD, is used by athletes to increase breathing power?
An Indiana University study found that strengthening inspiratory muscles by performing daily breathing exercises for six weeks significantly reduced the amount of oxygen these same breathing muscles required during exercise, possibly making more oxygen available for other muscles.
The study looked at two different groups of cyclists over a 6 week period. The group that practiced the IMT exercises had a 4% decrease in the amount of oxygen needed during high intensity exercise. It is thought that this decrease in oxygen for breathing may instead be available to help with muscle performance. Of course, more studies are needed to determine if that is the actual case.
The idea of IMT is definitely new to me but I’m not surprised that athletes incorporate it into their training. We all want to be faster and better, right? If you’re interested in incorporating this into your training, it’s going to require a little more than some meditation breathing exercises. You’re probably going to have to purchase one of these handy little devices. I wonder how many, if any, of the elite marathon runners use inspiratory muscle training.
Happy Trails and Happy Running,