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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?

Science Daily:

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,


3 Comments Post a comment
  1. uberbeastmode #

    Interesting, what do you suppose they do to strengthen inspiratory muscles?

    October 28, 2012
    • It seems that the device offers resistance, hence making the effort of breathing more difficult. I’m thinking it is sort of similar to altitude training. Therefore when you aren’t using the actual device, your lungs work more efficiently. At least that’s the way I understand it…. 🙂

      October 28, 2012
      • uberbeastmode #

        How about I just hold my breath for a while? 🙂

        October 28, 2012

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