Powerbreathe Review: Effects on VO2max, Fitness, and Body O2
Powerbreathe (sometimes spelled as Power-Breathe) is a breathing device used to train inspiratory muscles by creating resistance that can be regulated. There are different versions of this device: including Powerbreathe Ironman, Plus, Medic, K series (or Kinetic), and many others. The device is similar to other respiratory trainers including Powerlung, UltraBreathe, Expand-A-Lung and some others. These devices are used mostly for sports performance, but there are medical applications as well (mostly for people with asthma and COPD).
In their articles and reviews, the creators of Powerbreathe claim that training of the inspiratory muscles is the most effective method to improve health and oxygen transport. Clinical trials have found some positive effects of this device on sports performance (Edwards et al, 2008; Edwards et al, 2004; Hart et al, 2001).
Surely, if this device can address the cause of low body-O2 content and poor endurance in modern general population and most athletes, then Powerbreathe can be very effective. But what is the cause of low O2 present in most people when they are at rest?
The training manuals and practical applications (e.g., in clinical trials) of Powerbreathe are based on one key recommendation that makes this device especially useful for athletes to increase VO2max and improve health. Exhalations, according to the creators of this breathing trainer, are slow and passive. Indeed, should exhalations be fast (assume that it was decided that training of expiratory muscles is also important), there would be virtually no benefits from this device.
But most people have incorrect ideas about breathing patterns for maximum body oxygenation. As a result, they try to breathe more air (sometimes or often) thinking that they can get more oxygen in the brain and body cells. However, hundreds of medical studies tell us that breathing more than the tiny medical norm (6 L/min at rest) reduces oxygen delivery to cells. How could this device improve oxygen levels in cells? Oxygen levels in body cells will be higher if the automatic breathing pattern after the sessions is slower and lighter (reduced minute ventilation and higher arterial CO2).
Could Powerbreathe lead to this effect? The training manuals and practical applications (e.g., in clinical trials) are based on one key recommendation that makes this device useful for athletes to increase VO2max and improve health. Exhalations, according to the creators of this trainer, are slow and passive. Indeed, should exhalations be fast (assume that it was decided that training of expiratory muscles is also important), there would be virtually no benefits from this device.
Powerbreathe vs. Expand-A-Lung, Ultrabreathe, PowerLung
You can get the maximum benefits from Powerbreathe if you follow some additional instructions related to lifestyle factors that naturally improve body-oxygen levels (prevention of supine sleep, nose breathing only, correct posture, and so forth). It is a mistake to compare Powerbreathe vs. Expand-A-Lung or Expand-A-Lung vs. Powerlung since it is how you use the trainer, rather than which trainer you use, that matters most for modern athletes.
The key factor for higher VO2max, endurance and body-O2 content is to condition the body to breathe less 24/7. If you try to exhale longer and even hold your breath after exhalations during breathing exercises with Powerbreathe (for advanced stages of training only), then you can get even more benefits from this device and achieve higher body oxygen level results and improved VO2max.
The best breathing device for elite athletes
You can get even better results with the Training Mask (see the link below). The key advantage of Training Mask in comparison with Powerbreathe is that it is possible to use Training Mask during exercise. greatly amplifying various benefits related to increased body and brain O2 levels. Among top athletes, the Training Mask is used by Pete Jacobs, 2012 Ironman World Champion. You can find my review of this device here: Training Mask.
Warning. Breathing exercises can cause powerful cleansing reactions and can be dangerous for pregnant women, people with organ transplants, GI problems, and panic attacks, as well as those who take medication for diabetes, hypertension, hypothyroidism, and other conditions. Consult your health care provider and follow special guidelines, which can be found in the Module Restrictions, limits, and temporary contraindications.
The main page related to Breathing Techniques: Overview
and general information about the most common and most popular breathing techniques
Deviceless breathing methods and techniques:
- Yoga breathing: What is the main secret of yoga? What is so special in the breathing of ancient yogi?
- Pranayama benefits: How can someone get pranayama benefits?
- Buteyko technique: Overview of the most popular Russian breathing system.
- Pursed lip breathing: Review, health conditions addressed, detailed instructions, its physiology, effects and purpose.
Breathing trainers and devices:
- Resperate: This paced-breathing device is used to guide breathing only.
- Frolov breathing device: General overview with several pages about specific related topics.
- Frolov device: how does it work: This article explains the main physiological mechanism (hypercapnic hypoxic training).
- Breathslim: This breathing device is featured for weight loss. Learn about its effects.
- Samozdrav: Review of the Samozdrav breathing device that is based on hypercapnic hypoxic training.
- Inspiratory muscle training: Inspiratory muscle training review: How you can get best benefits from breathing trainers, such as Training Mask, Powerbreathe, Ultrabreathe, Expand-A-Lung, and PowerLung.
- Powerbreathe: This device is used to train inspiratory muscles due to resistance that can be regulated. It is popular among athletes, but its effects go far further than just to train muscles, if you know how to use it correctly.
- PowerLung: This is another breathing device popular among athletes with the same key secret that many athletes ignore.
- Expand-A-Lung: This is the smallest and lightest breathing trainer (among the reviewed ones) and it can produce miracles with the correct application.
- Ultrabreathe: This is a version or prototype of Expand-A-Lung and it can also boost your body oxygenation provided that you improve your automatic breathing and body-oxygen levels.
- Training Mask: The most effective sport device for higher VO2max, endurance, fitness, and body-O2 content.
- Amazing DIY breathing device: This is the cheapest breathing device (do-it-yourself), but you need to know how to make and use it correctly.
- Capnography and etCO2 monitoring: Are they useful for breathing retraining? How can one apply capnometers for breathing retraining?
Reference pages: Breathing norms and the DIY body oxygen test:
- Breathing norms: Parameters, graph, and description of the normal breathing pattern
- Body-oxygen test (CP test) : How to measure your own breathing and body oxygenation (two in one) using a simple DIY test
References: pages about CO2 effect:
- Vasodilation: CO2 expands arteries and arterioles facilitating perfusion (or blood supply) to all vital organs
- The Bohr effect: How and why oxygen is released by red blood cells in body tissues
- Nerve stabilization: Carbon dioxide has powerful calmative and sedative effects on brain neurons and nerve cells
Four Weeks of Respiratory Muscle Training Improves Intermittent Recovery Performance but Not Pulmonary Functions and Vo2 Max Capacity in Young Soccer Players, Emre AK and Can Ozgide; Middle East Technical University, Department of Physical Education and Sports; Orta Dogu Teknik Universitesi, Cankaya, Ankara, Turkiye
The Effects on Pulmonary Function and Performance from Training Respiratory Muscles in Collegiate Cross Country Runners with PowerLung, M.M. Barnes, D.M. McGee, A.K. Butler and R. Galbreath, Dept. of Physical Therapy, Wheeling Jesuit University, Dept. of Exercise Physiology, Ohio University Eastern, Dept. of A.R. Physiology, Ohio Valley C & R Surgery
The Effects of Respiratory Muscle Training Program Effects on Performance, Dyspnea, and Respiratory Muscle Fatigue in Intermittent Sprint Athletes, Clay Nicks, Richard Farley, Dana Fuller, Don Morgan, FACSM, Jennifer Caputo, Columbus State University (Columbus, GA); Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro, TN)
The Effects of Respiratory Muscle Training on Performance in Older Females, Watsford, M. L. & Murphy, A. J. (2008). Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. 16(3): 245-260.
The Effects of Respiratory Muscle Training on Older Females, Mark L. Watsford, Aron J. Murphy, Matthew J. Pine, Aaron J. Coutts. Human Performance Laboratory, University of Technology, Sydney.
The Effects of Respiratory Muscle Training on Maximal and Submaximal Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Measurements, William E. Amonette, BS, CSCS & Terry L. Dupler, Ph.D., Fitness & Human Performance Laboratory, University of Houston-Clear Lake, January 15, 2001.
Respiratory Resistance Training Increases Ventilatory Capacity in the Elderly, Nathan Andrew Trueblood, Earlham College, 2004
Respiratory Muscle Power Before and After Training (with PowerLung), Greg Wells, University of Toronto Respiratory Research Group, 2003
Five-week Respiratory Muscle Training Program Effects on Lung Function and Air Consumption in SCUBA Divers, Casey W. Fisher, Ann L. Gibson. Barry University, Miami Shores, Florida
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