Effects of concurrent inspiratory and expiratory muscle training on respiratory and exercise performance in competitive swimmers
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The efficiency of the respiratory system presents significant limitations on the body's ability to perform exercise due to the effects of the increased work of breathing, respiratory muscle fatigue, and dyspnoea. Respiratory muscle training is an intervention that may be able to address these limitations, but the impact of respiratory muscle training on exercise performance remains controversial. Therefore, in this study we evaluated the effects of a 12-week (10 sessions week(-1)) concurrent inspiratory and expiratory muscle training (CRMT) program in 34 adolescent competitive swimmers. The CRMT program consisted of 6 weeks during which the experimental group (E, n = 17) performed CRMT and the sham group (S, n = 17) performed sham CRMT, followed by 6 weeks when the E and S groups performed CRMT of differing intensities. CRMT training resulted in a significant improvement in forced inspiratory volume in 1 s (FIV1.0) (P = 0.050) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1.0) (P = 0.045) in the E group, which exceeded the S group's results. Significant improvements in pulmonary function, breathing power, and chemoreflex ventilation threshold were observed in both groups, and there was a trend toward an improvement in swimming critical speed after 12 weeks of training (P = 0.08). We concluded that although swim training results in attenuation of the ventilatory response to hypercapnia and in improvements in pulmonary function and sustainable breathing power, supplemental respiratory muscle training has no additional effect except on dynamic pulmonary function variables.
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