European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 1, pp 191–200 | Cite as

Effects of inspiratory muscle warm-up on locomotor muscle oxygenation in elite speed skaters during 3000 m time trials

  • Philippe Richard
  • François BillautEmail author
Original Article



It has been shown that an inspiratory muscle warm-up (IMW) could enhance performance. IMW may also improve the near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS)-derived tissue oxygen saturation index (TSI) during cycling. However, there exists contradictory data about the effect of this conditioning strategy on performance and muscle oxygenation. We examined the effect of IMW on speed skating performance and studied the underpinning physiological mechanisms related to muscle oxygenation.


In a crossover, randomized, single-blind study, eight elite speed skaters performed 3000 m on-ice time trials, preceded by either IMW (2 × 30 breaths, 40% maximal inspiratory pressure) or SHAM (2 × 30 breaths, 15% maximal inspiratory pressure). Changes in TSI, oxyhemoglobin–oxymyoglobin ([O2HbMb]), deoxyhemoglobin–deoxymyoglobin ([HHbMb]), total hemoglobin–myoglobin ([THbMb]) and HHbMbdiff ([O2HbMb]–[HHbMb]) in the right vastus lateralis muscle were monitored by NIRS. All variables were compared at different time points of the race simulation with repeated-measures analysis of variance. Differences between IMW and SHAM were also analyzed using Cohen’s effect size (ES) ± 90% confidence limits, and magnitude-based inferences.


Compared with SHAM, IMW had no clear impact on skating time (IMW 262.88 ± 17.62 s vs. SHAM 264.05 ± 21.12 s, effect size (ES) 0.05; 90% confidence limits, − 0.22, 0.32, p = 0.7366), TSI, HbMbdiff, [THbMb], [O2HbMb] and perceptual responses.


IMW did not modify skating time during a 3000 m time trial in speed skaters, in the conditions of our study. The unchanged [THbMb] and TSI demonstrate that the mechanisms by which IMW could possibly exert an effect on performance were unaffected by this intervention.


Elite athletes Long-track speed skating Muscle deoxygenation Blood volume Metaboreflex 



Effect size


Difference between O2HbMb and HHbMb


Deoxyhemoglobin + deoxymyoglobin


Inspiratory muscle


Inspiratory muscle training


Inspiratory muscle warm-up


Inspiratory muscle pressure


Near-infrared spectroscopy


Oxyhemoglobin + oxymyoglobin


Rating of perceived breathlessness


Rating of perceived exertion


Standard deviation


Placebo intervention


Total hemoglobin + total myoglobin


Tissue saturation index

\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2\hbox{max} }}\)

Maximal oxygen consumption



The authors thank the athletes and coaches involved in this study.

Author contributions

PR and FB conceived and designed the research. PR conducted the experiments, collected and analyzed the data. PR and FB interpreted the results. PR drafted the manuscript, and both PR and FB edited and revised the manuscript for approval of the final version.


This study was not funded by any grant.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The student researcher was employed (strength and conditioning coach) by the group involved in this study. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. On behalf of all the authors, the corresponding author states that there is no financial or non-financial conflict of interest associated with the current research.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département de kinésiologieUniversité LavalQuebecCanada

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