Breathing is important and you should practice it more often…

Seventy9 Sports Therapy, injury clinic, Farnham, physiotherapy, sports massage, injury prevention, rehabilitation, sports therapy, therapies, injury, massage, exercise, movement, strength, breathing, breathe, inspiratory muscle training, IMT, POWERbreathe

Breathing is important and you should practice it more often…

This video from @owaindoull perfectly highlights just how hard our breathing mechanism is working under exercise stress. You can also see how many times per minute we are engaging that mechanism.

Important to note how his whole rib cage is expanding, rather than just pushing his belly out. A common fault when learning to breathe more efficiently is to neglect the expansion of the rib cage in favour of pushing the belly out. This allows the diaphragm to move but does not fully expand the lungs. If we don’t expand the lungs, we drive the breath increasingly more shallow, leading to “upper chest breathing” where the shoulders elevate – often causing scapula dysfunction and neck tension – and we increase our breathing rate (hyperventilation) to offset the lack of overall breathing volume.

Additionally, if your sport requires extreme positions – cycling/triathlon, skiing, hockey, flat water kayaking, etc – then we should train our breathing mechanism in those positions. The time trial position that Owain is adopting will create a stressful position for his diaphragm, taxing his breathing patterns further (Charlton et al, 2017).

Seventy9 Sports Therapy, injury clinic, Farnham, physiotherapy, sports massage, injury prevention, rehabilitation, sports therapy, therapies, injury, massage, exercise, movement, strength, breathing, breathe, inspiratory muscle training, IMT, POWERbreathe
POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Trainer

We approach this issue by training better breathing patterns in a low load/controlled environment before layering exposure to breathing stress, therefore allowing the basic mechanism to become an automatic process prior to exposure to exercise.  In addition to this, assessing/diagnosing and treating areas around the ribcage/neck/1st rib that are tight and restrictive often helps to reduce breathing restriction and allow space for better mechanics to be learnt and drilled.

As well as developing better breathing patterns, inspiratory muscle training has been highlighted as a method for improving breathing performance in athletes.  Tools such as the POWERbreathe allow a calibrated and quantifiable inspiratory load that can be applied in both relaxed stance and the extreme positions found in certain sports.  Think of it as a gym for your lungs!



Find yourself short of breath or hard to relax your shoulders during exercise? Maybe it’s the way you breathe? Why not contact us or book an appointment to find out how we can help!


Further Reading:


Archiza, B., Andaku, D.K., Caruso, F.C.R., Bonjorno, J.C., Oliveira, C.R. de, Ricci, P.A., Amaral, A.C. do, Mattiello, S.M., Libardi, C.A., Phillips, S.A., Arena, R., Borghi-Silva, A., 2018. Effects of inspiratory muscle training in professional women football players: a randomized sham-controlled trial. J Sports Sci 36, 771–780. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2017.1340659


Charlton, J.M., Ramsook, A.H., Mitchell, R.A., Hunt, M.A., Puyat, J.H., Guenette, J.A., 2017. Respiratory Mechanical and Cardiorespiratory Consequences of Cycling with Aerobars. Med Sci Sports Exerc 49, 2578–2584. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001393


Dickinson, J., Amirav, I., Hostrup, M., 2018. Nonpharmacologic Strategies to Manage Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am 38, 245–258. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iac.2018.01.012


Dickinson, J., Whyte, G., McConnell, A., 2007. Inspiratory muscle training: a simple cost‐effective treatment for inspiratory stridor. Br J Sports Med 41, 694–695. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2006.033654


Faghy, M.A., Brown, P.I., 2016. Training the inspiratory muscles improves running performance when carrying a 25 kg thoracic load in a backpack. European Journal of Sport Science 16, 585–594. https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2015.1071878


Griffin, S.A., Walsted, E.S., Hull, J.H., 2018. Breathless athlete: exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction. Br J Sports Med 52, 1211–1212. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2018-099159


Hartz, C.S., Sindorf, M.A.G., Lopes, C.R., Batista, J., Moreno, M.A., 2018. Effect of Inspiratory Muscle Training on Performance of Handball Athletes. J Hum Kinet 63, 43–51. https://doi.org/10.2478/hukin-2018-0005


Janssens, L., McConnell, A.K., Pijnenburg, M., Claeys, K., Goossens, N., Lysens, R., Troosters, T., Brumagne, S., 2015. Inspiratory muscle training affects proprioceptive use and low back pain. Med Sci Sports Exerc 47, 12–19. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000000385


Karsten, M., Ribeiro, G.S., Esquivel, M.S., Matte, D.L., 2018. The effects of inspiratory muscle training with linear workload devices on the sports performance and cardiopulmonary function of athletes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Physical Therapy in Sport 34, 92–104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ptsp.2018.09.004


Mendes, L.P., Moraes, K.S., Hoffman, M., Vieira, D.S., Ribeiro-Samora, G.A., Lage, S.M., Britto, R.R., Parreira, V.F., 2018. Effects of Diaphragmatic Breathing With and Without Pursed-Lips Breathing in Subjects With COPD. Respir Care. https://doi.org/10.4187/respcare.06319


Menezes, K.K.P. de, Nascimento, L.R., Ada, L., Avelino, P.R., Polese, J.C., Alvarenga, M.T.M., Barbosa, M.H., Teixeira-Salmela, L.F., 2018. High-intensity respiratory muscle training improves strength and dyspnea after stroke: a double-blind randomized trial. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2018.09.115


Özdal, M., 2016. Acute effects of inspiratory muscle warm-up on pulmonary function in healthy subjects. Respir Physiol Neurobiol 227, 23–26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resp.2016.02.006


Papp, M.E., Henriques, M., Biguet, G., Wändell, P.E., Nygren-Bonnier, M., 2018. Experiences of hatha yogic exercises among patients with obstructive pulmonary diseases: A qualitative study. J Bodyw Mov Ther 22, 896–903. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2017.11.001


Poulsen, M.K., Thomsen, L.P., Mifsud, N.L., Nielsen, N.-P.B., Jørgensen, R.M., Kjærgaard, S., Karbing, D.S., 2015. Electrical activity of the diaphragm during progressive cycling exercise in endurance-trained men. Respir Physiol Neurobiol 205, 77–83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resp.2014.10.012


Shei, R., Chapman, R.F., Gruber, A.H., Mickleborough, T.D., 2018. Inspiratory muscle training improves exercise capacity with thoracic load carriage. Physiol Rep 6. https://doi.org/10.14814/phy2.13558


Walsted, E.S., Faisal, A., Jolley, C.J., Swanton, L.L., Pavitt, M.J., Luo, Y.-M., Backer, V., Polkey, M.I., Hull, J.H., 2018. Increased respiratory neural drive and work of breathing in exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction. J. Appl. Physiol. 124, 356–363. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00691.2017


Wirth, B., Ferreira, T.D., Mittelholzer, M., Humphreys, B.K., Boutellier, U., 2016. Respiratory muscle endurance training reduces chronic neck pain: A pilot study. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil 29, 825–834. https://doi.org/10.3233/BMR-160695


Yong, M.-S., Lee, Y.-S., Lee, H.-Y., 2018. Effects of breathing exercises on resting metabolic rate and maximal oxygen uptake. J Phys Ther Sci 30, 1173–1175. https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.30.1173

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