European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 108, Issue 3, pp 505–511 | Cite as

Inspiratory muscle training improves 100 and 200 m swimming performance

  • Andrew E. KildingEmail author
  • Sarah Brown
  • Alison K. McConnell
Original Article


Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) has been shown to improve time trial performance in competitive athletes across a range of sports. Surprisingly, however, the effect of specific IMT on surface swimming performance remains un-investigated. Similarly, it is not known whether any ergogenic influence of IMT upon swimming performance is confined to specific race distances. To determine the influence of IMT upon swimming performance over 3 competitive distances, 16 competitive club-level swimmers were assigned at random to either an experimental (pressure threshold IMT) or sham IMT placebo control group. Participants performed a series of physiological and performance tests, before and following 6 weeks of IMT, including (1) an incremental swim test to the limit of tolerance to determine lactate, heart rate and perceived exertion responses; (2) standard measures of lung function (forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 s, peak expiratory flow) and maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP); and (3) 100, 200 and 400 m swim time trials. Training utilised a hand-held pressure threshold device and consisted of 30 repetitions, twice per day. Relative to control, the IMT group showed the following percentage changes in swim times: 100 m, −1.70% (90% confidence limits, ±1.4%), 200 m, −1.5% (±1.0), and 400 m, 0.6% (±1.2). Large effects were observed for MIP and rates of perceived exertion. In conclusion, 6 weeks of IMT has a small positive effect on swimming performance in club-level trained swimmers in events shorter than 400 m.


Respiratory muscles Performance Breathing 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew E. Kilding
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sarah Brown
    • 1
  • Alison K. McConnell
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Sport and Recreation, Faculty of Health and Environmental SciencesAUT UniversityAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Centre for Sports Medicine and Human PerformanceBrunel UniversityUxbridgeUK

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