Ultrabreathe: Medical Information

An evaluation of the technique of Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) based on information obtained from Clinical Trials and other sources. The effect of a specific respiratory warm-up upon rowing performance and exertional dyspnoea:

”PURPOSE: to a) identify the functional significance of a respiratory warm-up and b) compare the effect of three different warm-up protocols upon rowing performance and perception of dyspnoea.

CONCLUSION: The data suggests that a combination of a respiratory warm-up protocol together with a specific rowing warm-up was more effective than a specific rowing warm-up or a submaximal warm-up alone as a preparation for rowing performance.”

Source: Volianitis S, McConnell AK, Koutedakis Y, Jones DA.

Respiratory Muscle Training in patients with bronchial asthma

”In patients with asthma, the respiratory muscles have to overcome the increased resistance while they become progressively disadvantaged by hyperinflation.

We hypothesized that increasing respiratory muscle strength and endurance with specific inspiratory muscle training (SIMT) would result in improvement in asthma symptoms in patients with asthma. We conclude that SIMT for 6 months improves the inspiratory muscle strength and endurance and results in improvement in asthma symptoms, hospitalization for asthma, emergency department contact, absence from school or work, and medication consumption in patients with asthma.”

Source: Weiner P, Azgad Y, Ganam R, Weiner M. Dept. of MedicineHillel Yaffe Medical Center, Hadera, Israel.

Inspiratory Muscle Training combined with general exercise reconditioning in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

”We conclude that specific inspiratory muscle training for 6 months improves inspiratory muscle strength and endurance in patients with COPD.

This training, combined with general exercise reconditioning, also results in improvement in exercise tolerance significantly greater than that of general exercise reconditioning alone.”

Source: Weiner P, Azgad Y, Weiner M, Ganem R. Dept. of Medicine, Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, Hadera.

Inspiratory Muscle Training in chronic airflow limitation: effect on exercise performance

”’We conclude that inspiratory muscle training using a load of 30% peak maximal inspiratory pressure improves dyspnoea, increases walking capacity, and reduces the metabolic cost of exercise.”

Source: Lisboa C, Villafranca C, Leiva A, Cruz E, Pertuze J, Borzone G. Department of Respiratory Diseases, Catholic University of Chile, Santiago.

The effect of specific inspiratory muscle training on the sensation of dyspnoea and exercise tolerance in patients with congestive heart failure


‘It has been previously shown that the inspiratory muscles of patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) are weaker than those of normal persons. This weakness may contribute to the dyspnoea and limit exercise capacity in these patients.


Specific inspiratory muscle training resulted in an increased inspiratory muscle strength and endurance. This increase was associated with decreased dyspnoea, an increase in submaximal exercise capacity, and no change in maximal exercise capacity. This training may prove to be a complementary therapy in patients with CGF.”

Source: Weiner P, Waizman J, Magadle R, Berar-Yanay N, Pelled B. Dept. of MedicineHillel Yaffe Medical Center, Hadera, Israel.

Inspiratory muscle training improves lung function moderate asthmatics

”’We examined the changes induced by 3 weeks of IMT in mild / moderate asthmatics. The data are consistent with those of Weiner et al (1992) and confirm their hypothesis that improvements in MIP (maximum inspiratory pressure) and lung function translate into a reduction in exertional dyspnoea.

In addition, the data suggests that where appropriate regimes are used, these changes are observed within 3 weeks of commencement of IMT and lead to an increase in patient’s motivation to take exercise.”

Source: AK McConnell, MP Caine, KJ Donovan, AK Toogood and Mr Miller. Sports Medicine and Human Performance Unit, School of Sports and Exercise Sciences. Presented at the Medical Research Society, August 1998 Clinical Science:95:4P,1998.

High intensity inspiratory muscle training in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

”Inspiratory muscle training at high intensity loads significantly improved inspiratory muscle strength, respiratory muscle endurance, and respiratory symptoms during daily activities and respiratory exertion.”

Source: Covey MK, Larson JL, Wirtz SE, Berry JK, Pogue NJ, Alex CG, Patel M. University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing, South Damen Avenue, Chicago. IL, USA.

Inspiratory Muscle Training reduces exertional breathlessness in healthy elderly men and women

”It is accepted that respiratory muscle strength declines with advancing age and that inspiratory muscle weakness is associated with an increase in exertional breathlessness. Data suggests that IMT alleviates exertional breathlessness in healthy elderly men and women and conveys considerable perceptual improvements in their quality of life.”

Source: Andrew J. Copestake & Alison K. McConnell, Department of Human Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU UK. Presented at the EGREPA International Meeting on Health & Activity in the Elderly, 1995.

University of Zurich research

”Research from the University of Zurich found that intensive respiratory training does, in fact, significantly improve the endurance of respiratory muscles and increase the volume of ventilation possible.

Both sedentary and physically active subjects increased the endurance of respiratory muscles, increased endurance time of constant load bicycle test, felt less breathlessness after exercise, and had lower lactate levels after exercise.”

Source: Running and FitNews, 17:2, Feb, 1999.

”Respiratory muscle training is a promising new therapy. There has been a gradual maturing in this area over the past 15 years to the point where it is now quite clear that the respiratory muscles can be trained for improvement in strength, endurance, or both.”

Source: Problems in Respiratory Care, 3(3):483-492 and Clinics in Chest Medicine, 9(2), 287-296, 1988.

The effects of inspiratory muscle training on cycling performance

”…respiratory training significantly increased the endurance time of respiratory muscles…blood lactate concentrations were reduced during post training exercise…respiratory trained subjects had lost the sensation of breathlessness.”

Source: Boutellier et al, 1998.

”Respiratory endurance increased…cycling endurance time was prolonged…blood lactate concentration was lower. We speculate that the reduction in blood lactate concentration was most likely caused by an improved lactate uptake by the trained respiratory muscles.”

Source: Boutellier et al, 1999.

Inspiratory muscle training improves rowing performance:

”Improvements in submaximal cycling endurance performance have been reported following 4 weeks of respiratory muscle training comprising isocapnic hypernea (Boutellier et al, 1992) or resistive inspiratory loading (Caine and McConnell, 1998). The purpose of the present study was to examine whether similar effects would be observed on maximal rowing performance.

The results indicate that inspiratory muscle training improves rowing performance on both the 6 min all-out and the 5000m time trial. As a result of strength training the recruitment level of the diaphragm will be reduced during inspiration. This may improve the performance as a result of reduced inspiratory work and the sense of effort related to this level of ventilation.”

Source: S Volianitis, AK McConnell, Y Koutedakis, L McNaughton, K Backx, DA Jones.