Respiratory Training and Tools

Hi all, recently I did a VO2 Max workout (4x4’s), and I experimented with sucking in air forcibly and blowing it out pretty hard on each breath during the last part of the intervals. This made my breathing a little slower and deeper. It did not feel natural and it was an effort, but it felt kind of like turbo-charging my lungs. I could only do it for 2 minutes of the intervals before my respiratory muscles (?) tired too much. But during those 2 minutes I saw my heart rate go down 2 beats and my power go up 5 watts. That is pretty significant just from breathing.

This made me wonder if I could improve performance by doing some respiratory training with an affordable tool. I know there are several available tools including Airofit, Breather Fit, and more. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts about respiratory training in general, and specific tools. I remember there was a Fast Talk Labs podcast episode about this, but if I remember right the evidence that it works was mixed. Thanks for your thoughts.

Hello @northk here is a list of podcasts the first few are about breathing. If you know Paul Laursen from HIIT science, I trained his respiration and I think you will find his comments interesting.

The best device is the Idiag P100.

The best and most cost effective combination is Airofit and BreatheWayBetter (this is the combination I use the most).

Below are some changes in an athlete I work with. Started five months ago, been working on coordination and volume for breathing (nothing hard yet so addressing volume first). On the bike training primarily below 240 watts. This is exactly what would expect to see (and do see with those dedicated to repiratory training at least 5 days a week, this was 12 minutes per day so far).

Next phase we will introduce some harder training on the bike, harder breathing training at and above numbers relative to vo2max, and maintain the depth of breathing we have gained.

This is a 61 year old cyclist, ER doc.

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@steveneal if I understand those graphs correctly, it looks like respiratory training is making a measurable difference for your athlete, though it’s hard to tell if that translates into watts. I will check out your podcasts on it. I will look into the Airofit and the BreatheWayBetter devices. I don’t see the Idiag P100 available to buy anywhere. Do you, or someone you know, have a recommended respiratory training protocol, or maybe it’s in the podcasts? Thanks a lot.

One other thought – my best year racing I did a training camp in Boulder and we climbed a lot of mountains. I was gasping for breath every ride because of the altitude. But when I got back, it was like I had two more gears – it was crazy how much improvement I got from the high altitude. I realize that’s different than respiratory training, but I have a feeling I could make some good gains by working on my breathing.

@northk after this period of working with him for 5 months…

fat max remains at 175

metabolic efficiency point (fat cho crossover from 140-200w)

respiration you have already seen in previous post.

We haven’t trained above 240 watts, his end number in that test I posted is actually 300 watts.

He just did two back to back crits first races of season, first intensity. First race masters circtuit race then nearly right away the 123 race, he is 61 remember.

here is the race data…and his comments.