Background: Inspiratory muscle training has been shown to improve performance in elite swimmers, when used as part of routine training, but its use as a respiratory warm-up has yet to be investigated.
Aim: To determine the influence of inspiratory muscle exercise (IME) as a respiratory muscle warm-up in a randomised controlled cross-over trial.
Methods: A total of 15 elite swimmers were assigned to four different warm-up protocols and the effects of IME on 100 m freestyle swimming times were assessed.Each swimmer completed four different IME warm-up protocols across four separate study visits: swimming-only warm-up; swimming warm-up plus IME warm-up (2 sets of 30 breaths with a 40% maximum inspiratory mouth pressure load using the Powerbreathe inspiratory muscle trainer); swimming warm-up plus sham IME warm-up (2 sets of 30 breaths with a 15% maximum inspiratory mouth pressure load using the Powerbreathe inspiratory muscle trainer); and IME-only warm-up. Swimmers performed a series of physiological tests and scales of perception (rate of perceived exertion and dyspnoea) at three time points (pre warm-up, post warm-up and post time trial).
Results: The combined standard swimming warm-up and IME warm-up were the fastest of the four protocols with a 100 m time of 57.05 s. This was significantly faster than the IME-only warm-up (mean difference=1.18 s, 95% CI 0.44 to 1.92, p
Wilson, E. E., McKeever, T. M., Lobb, C., Sherriff, T., Gupta, L., Hearson, G., …Shaw, D. E. (2014). Respiratory muscle specific warm-up and elite swimming performance. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(9), doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092523