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The influence of inspiratory and expiratory muscle training upon rowing performance

Abstract

We investigated the effect of 4 week of inspiratory (IMT) or expiratory muscle training (EMT), as well as the effect of a subsequent 6 week period of combined IMT/EMT on rowing performance in club-level oarsmen. Seventeen male rowers were allocated to either an IMT (n = 10) or EMT (n = 7) group. The groups underwent a 4 week IMT or EMT program; after interim testing, both groups subsequently performed a 6 week program of combined IMT/EMT. Exercise performance and physiological responses to exercise were measured at 4 and 10 week during an incremental rowing ergometer ‘step-test’ and a 6 min all-out (6MAO) effort. Pressure threshold respiratory muscle training was undertaken at the 30 repetition maximum load (∼50% of the peak inspiratory and expiratory mouth pressure, P Imax or P Emax, respectively). P Imax increased during the IMT phase of the training in the IMT group (26%, P < 0.001) and was accompanied by an improvement in mean power during the 6MAO (2.7%, P = 0.015). Despite an increase in P Emax by the end of the intervention (31%, P = 0.03), the EMT group showed no significant changes in any performance parameters during either the ‘step-test’ or 6MAO. There were no significant changes in breathing pattern or the metabolic response to the 6MAO test in either group, but the IMT group showed a small decrease in HR (2–5%, P = 0.001). We conclude that there were no significant additional changes following combined IMT/EMT. IMT improved rowing performance, but EMT and subsequent combined IMT/EMT did not.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the oarsmen of the Thames Tradesmen rowing club for their participation in this study. Conflicts of Interest: Alison McConnell has a beneficial interest in the POWERbreathe® Inspiratory Muscle Trainer in the form of a royalty share on license income to the University of Birmingham, UK. She also acts as a consultant to Gaiam Ltd. The authors are grateful to Gaiam Ltd. and MicroMedical Ltd. for donation of equipment for use in this study.

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Correspondence to Lisa A. Griffiths.

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Griffiths, L.A., McConnell, A.K. The influence of inspiratory and expiratory muscle training upon rowing performance. Eur J Appl Physiol 99, 457–466 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-006-0367-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-006-0367-6

Keywords

  • Respiratory muscle training
  • Performance enhancement