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Power Breathers

Johnathan, I haven't used one yet but would consider it. I've had a bit of an insight into how they work as they were developed by one of the lecturers on my Sport Science course, and another lecturer has done considerable research on them. As a result we have been required to read a fair amount of research on them and the science behind them make sense. Both the lecturers are people I respect and they certaintly believe in it. However, as I say, I haven't used one myself, so I would be interested to know how you get on.



  • So what are everyones views/experience with these?? I got one for my Bday about 2 weeks ago and have been using it for the 60 breaths a day recommened usuage. I have progressed to level 4 on the dial, which is great..., but im not sure how good this is going to be for me in endurance events. They claim that top endurance athletes can gain a 4% improvement over 2 months by using it (worth a go surely then!?). Has anyone used it and seen an improvement with thier times? May just be the best bit of kit i have ever use....Or the most useless....Who knows. But im definatly better at blowing ballons up!

  • JasonBJasonB Posts: 303
    I would also like views on this, as I have Asthma. Would this helps people who do not get enough air intake?
  • JulieMacJulieMac Posts: 30
    I was given one of the red power breathers a couple of years ago as a prezzy and was quite keen to start with!! But alas the excitement soon wore off! Mind you I've got the attention span of. Ooo whats this nice shiny thing!!! Sorry what was I saying?!

    I can't say it had any benifits because it started collecting dust after about a month and I don't think thats a fair trial. The blurb on it sounded very good and they are supposed to do wonders for people with respiratory problems but at that cost I'd say yoga is cheaper, better for your core stability, flexibility and just as good for respiratory control and capacity.

    Go yoga. Go yoga!
  • hound doghound dog Posts: 293
    I can relate to JulieMacs posting, due to the price of the breather I have been avoiding it as I'm sure it will be another thing to find a space for. Onthe yoga point, I can recommend this, but beware as too much yoga is not a good thing for a triathlete. The joints can become to flexible and unstable resulting in injuries.

    I'd be very interested to read of anyone who has found a significant improvement using a power breather.
  • handyrobhandyrob Posts: 31
    Ive been tempted by these myself but not taken the plunge yet. Would I be right in thinking that they strengthen your diaphragm and intercostals muscles (between your ribs) so your breathing is more controlled and stronger.
  • BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    Handyrob, that is pretty much it. The basics behind it are that 14-16% of blood pumped around the body during exercise is distributed to the respiratory muscles, this is known as the work of breathing. The theory is that by using inspiratory muscle training, i.e. Powerbreath, it strengthens up these muscles and makes them more efficient. Research has also suggested that it reduces fatigue in the limbs, because more blood is distributed to these muscles as it is not required for the respiratory muscles.

  • TheMonkTheMonk Posts: 10
    Is the sole purpose of the breather to strengthen your diaphragm and intercostals muscles? If so cant you do that by other means that are far cheaper. I used to attend breathing lessons when I was younger for my Asthma, surely something like that will lead to better self control of your breathing over a mechanical add.
  • hound doghound dog Posts: 293
    Hmmm.... still no glowing reports of the difference they make either.
  • Well ive been using it for 2 weeks now, and its pretty tough to say whether there is a difference or not... I guess you would really be only able to tell if all other things were equal, as right now my fitness is improving as well so I cannot tell whether there is a marked improvement. I read an article on them, and it makes sense about how it works i.e. muscles only get stronger when they are put under stress, and for the lung muscles this only occurs when you are doing very laboured breathing, i.e. after sprinting. As you cant keep this up for long, your muscles never get fully stressed, so the idea of the trainer is to directly affect them and nothing else. My lungs are defiantly more powerful right now, but then will your performance also be affected by the way you breath whilst you exercise. I.e. is it better to take short small breaths, or deeper longer breaths? I'm guessing here, but all other endurance disciplines (i.e. cycling, running) say that its better to have a higher cadence and a lower power to favour the slow twitch muscles. Would this be the case for breathing? Does anyone actually think about their breathing whilst exercising....?
  • BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    Whilst I have nothing against yoga, I doubt it has the same effect that Powerbreathe claims to make. For any muscle to adapt, including respiratory muscles, they need to go through a period of overload. Other muscles can be over loaded by a well designed weight training programme, and this is effectivley the way the Powerbreathe works, weight training for the inspiratory muscles. Whilst it has it's benefits, I can't see that yoga works the same way, and I have done yoga in the past.

    As Johnathan says the only way to see if it works is to make all things equal, and this is the way research is designed. One of the best designed studies did show improvements in time trial performance in cyclists and triathletes.

    I would like to say that I'm not trying to endorse this product and am as interested in how people get on with it as anyone. It certaintly isn't going to be as effective as a well designed endurance programme.

  • JulieMacJulieMac Posts: 30
    If your using/training with a power breather are you actually going to use your full lung capacity? Or will you just have a more explosive respiratory action? Were any of the clinical trials run in conjunction or compared to other methods of respiratory training?

    Being that most people (at rest) only use 1/2 to 2/3 of their lung space when breathing surely its just as important and as likely to be of benifit to learn how to use your lungs to their full capacity. You can have nice strong explosive muscles but if your not using the rest of the effected organs properly you surely won't get the full benifit?

  • BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    You're making me work for this. You're right, at rest you don't use your full lung capacity, but neither do you at sub maximal exercise intensities. In fact it is well accepted that the lungs are over built for exercise and are not a limiting factor, so there is no need to be able to use your full lung capacity.

    Comparisons of other methods of respiritory training have been made, but as far as I know not to things like yoga (probably for the reasons I mentioned in my last thread). I've tried one of them and it wasn't pleasant, I thought my eyeballs were going to explode, and not really practical.

    As for developing strong explosive respiratory muscles (it may or may not I don't know), that isn't the benefit to endurance training. It is to make the respiratory muscles more efficient so that they require less oxygen. This is the same as any weight training programme an endurance athlete may undertake, it isn't designed to develop explosive muscles (although this may help), it's to improve endurance.

  • pigletpiglet Posts: 86
    Can't we all get a bit too technical about all these things/gadgets. Fair enough if you are an elite tri-athlete- every tiny advantage can make a difference- like shaving off 2grams of weight on your bike. But for most of us non- professionals- I would think time may be better spent doing an extra few sprint laps in the pool rather than using a gizmo to get you to breathe better/deeper. After all the pool is the most crucial place to get it right- if you don't you drown!!

    I do agree with Juliemac- yoga rocks![:D]

  • I do think there is a tendency too get too technical in certain areas, and lose focus on what matters. But that's the great thing about triathlon, it has become the pastime for the intellectual. In what other sport would you see as many people training with their Heart rate, and lactate threshold, as guidance to their performance. When would you ever see semi professional footballers reading up about how to make their running more efficient ( as this would be completely in their benefit), yet most triathletes with full time jobs spend hour researching this very fact! Coming back to the power breather, on the group of cyclists they tested, there was a 4% improvement on their average times after two months training with the power breather ( I just do it driving to and from work). 4% on an ironman course of 11 hours works out to be 26 mins. How many lengths of a pool is it going to take to shave that off your swim time?!?! Im all for gizmos, long may they continue!
  • BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    I agree Piglet, despite the fact that it might sound like I'm a Powerbreathe salesman. As I said before, it is no substitute for training well. For someone like myself who is struggling to find the money to enter races this year, I wouldn't dream of buying one when the money could buy me two race entries. But they do have their place and each to their own. I'm just trying to help people understand how they work.

  • JulieMacJulieMac Posts: 30
    I think the forum is the right place for this kind of banter. Its good to read other peoples experiences and explanations. Ok maybe it got a little past the point (oops! [:)] ) but cheers for taking the time to explain things.

  • BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    I hadn't planned to write again on this subject, but for anyone who is interested there is an article in the latest issue of Peak Performance specifically on inspiritory muscle training in triathlon. I don't know if you can buy it anywhere, I have to suscribe, but have a look at www.pponline.co.uk and see if there is any infomation there.

  • toadtoad Posts: 104
    Just had peak performance delivered today and suprisingly the lead article was on inspiratory muscle training . it quotes a study done in france re the effect of IMT on 40km cycle trial .

    Over 6 weeks there was an average 4.6% improvement on trial times

    The regimen used was 6 weeks of training ,

    Intensity of training was 50% of inspiratory muscle strength using an IMT device

    Sessions involved 1 set of 30 breaths , twice daily

    Duration of each session was approx 2 minutes

    session frequency per week was 14 , hence total IMT training time per week was 28 minutes

    Not a bad increase for 28 minutes per week ......

    The article doesnt mention how many people were in the study and the other types of training that the participants may have been doing .... so Im unsure how reliable it is.

  • azzatazzat Posts: 2

    i am new to triathlons, but have a strong history in running.

    A few years ago, when powerbreathe 1st came out, i was involved in a university trail for it. (the red performace one)

    Lots of data was taken including maximum air inhaled in a single breath, max air exhaled, VO2 max, bleep test, mile run etc

    We then did 6 weeks using the powerbreathe and training as usual.

    At the end of it, my VO2 max had increased tremendously, much more than it would have by training alone.

    i really rate it! my breathing has become much more controlled and the extra oxygen i take in really helps performance.

    i must say though, not everyone experianced the same increase i did. Everyone benifited from using it, but not as much.

    i progressed to level 10 very quickly, much quicker than everyone else, i was there after about 4 weeks, after that i went to failure each time i used it maybe this had something to do with why my results where much better than others?

    I know a smiliar study was carried out on cyclists and rowers and im sure the results would be coheirant.
  • jon_gjon_g Posts: 318
    I bought myself a powerbreath just before christmas. The biggest advantage/gain i've seen is during swimming, i can take a much deeper breath than before so i dont get as tired and can keep going for much longer[:D]
  • I brought one out to try and "cure my exercise induced asthma (EIA). Not sure how successful it has been, as the improvements gained could be offset by the additonal swim training i have done. Knowing I have been using it make me feel better though.
  • i was thinking of getting one but now i'm not sure . think i'll stick with yoga and training .
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Couldn't you simply take up the trumpet? Just kidding, have one of the less adjustable cheapies from America (can't recall its name) used it for a while..made my lungs hurt..stopped using it. Maybe I went too hard too soon..not like a triathlete at all.
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    I have a device that is used in hospitals for helping 'lung-patients' to train the breathing muscles, so it really should work. Our running coach of the club works with these patients and he claims that all sports people can benefit of them. I use it now and then, mostly when I'm driving the car(wasting no time at all[:)]). Cant feel anything different though, but I trust the coach, so I use it.(He really knows this stuff[8|]).
  • I thought about buying one as i have asthma but heard conflicting stories so never bothered, i think it up to the individual. But they are a bit expensive to try for a couple of weeks then put them in your kit box and forget about them.

  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Hey Prospero,

    I paid 7€ for it and it definetely isn't crap. I bought it froma guy who works with lung-patients and he didn't want any profit of it. Most part of your money really goes to the mass profit of these big brands. Maybe you should ask in a hospital, who knows
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Expand-a- lung..thats what mine is called, it fits your mouth like a scuba regulator..which makes me dribble, so there I am pulling air into my lungs holding briefly no doubt turning odd colors & dribbling..never do it whilst on the computer 'Honestly darling I was looking at the 220 forum, no really I was.'
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    And now the proud (co) owner of a fitness powerbreathe, my other half being asthmatic & the other co owner, let the experiment begin...only£15 too. If anyone is near Camelford the pharmacy halfway up the hill has them on sale at £15..about 2 or 3 left on the shelf, on Sat morning.
  • I had a shiny red one for my birthday (couldn't think of anything else and like my gadgets) Only thing I am wondering is whether anybody has ever managed to crank that badboy right up to the max?? Seems absolutely nails even on L2, I think i feel a man-test coming on.
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