Can Powerlung Increase VO2max, Fitness and Body O2?
The PowerLung breath trainer is a breathing device used to train respiratory muscles by creating resistance that can be independently regulated for inhalations and exhalations. It has some similarities with the Powerbreathe, UltraBreathe, and Expand-A-Lung devices. The PowerLung was invented by Mr. Barry Jarvis who wanted to improve his sport fitness after a heart attack. Several small trials have tested the effects of the PowerLung on various groups of people, including: young soccer players, cross country runners, intermittent sprint athletes, competitive marathoners and triathletes, SCUBA divers, elite international swimmers, older females, and the elderly (see references below). The device became popular in many sports for improving fitness in swimming, rowing, triathlon, and some other sports, as well as for asthma.
Reviews and research pilot studies have found improvements in various measured parameters, such as higher VO2max (not in all studies), better lung function (PEF, FVC, and VEmax), lower heart rate for the same load, and some others.
These effects indicate that PowerLung influences automatic breathing patterns and body-oxygen levels by increasing alveolar and arterial CO2 during breathing sessions and after them. The PowerLung trainer has adjustable resistance and some additional dead space (leading to increased volume). However, the Training Mask (as well as other breathing devices including the Frolov breathing device, Samozdrav, Breathslim, and the Amazing DIY Breathing Device) have a larger extra dead space to trap exhaled CO2.
PowerLung for asthma, COPD, emphysema, and other diseases
The PowerLung trainer can be beneficial for people with chronic health problems (asthma, hypertension or heart disease, COPD, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, and so forth), when their body oxygen level is about 10-12 seconds or less, and they suffer from chronic hyperventilation.
PowerLung vs. Powerbreathe, Expand-A-Lung, UltraBreathe and other trainers
If we consider health benefits and changes in body-oxygen levels, it is wrong to compare PowerLung vs. Powerbreathe or Expand-A-Lung vs. Powerlung since it is how you use it, rather than what you use, that matters most for your health most. However, one sport device has definite advantages due to increased dead space. It is called the "Training Mask" or "Elevation Training Mask". The main advantage of the Training Mask is that it can be used continuously during exercise for up to 20-40 or more minutes mimicking high altitude training.
One of the hardest things for athletes and coaches is to realize that breathing patterns and body-O2 content at rest (before exercise) predetermine fitness, VO2max (endurance), and sport performance for any single person.
This graph below explains why modern population is unfit, has low brain-and-body-O2 content, and suffer from diseases.
In order to achieve improvements in VO2max and other parameters of endurance and sports performance, the PowerLung breathing sessions could be made progressively more challenging with possible breath holds (e.g., after exhalations) for advanced users to further increase their alveolar CO2 and body-oxygen levels.
Application of correct lifestyle changes in order to improve body oxygenation are vital for long term success in breathing retraining and getting additional benefits from the PowerLung trainer for sports, fitness, higher VO2 max and better health. Review the links below for other devices and breathing-related effects.
For elite athletes
The key advantage of the Training Mask in lasting effects with better body oxygenation 24/7 in c omparison with Powerlung. The Training Mask is used by Pete Jacobs, 2012 Ironman World Champion. You can find our 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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