Objective: To examine whether inspiratory muscle training (IMT) is a useful additional training aid with which to augment cardiovascular exercise training adaptations.
Methods: Sixteen healthy untrained males agreed to participate in the study and were randomly assigned to training (TRA; n=8) and placebo (PLA; n=8) groups. Pre- and post-training measurements of spirometry and maximal inspiratory mouth pressure (MIP) were taken in addition to 1) maximal aerobic power (VO2 max) 2) 5000-m run time-trial. All subjects completed the same four-week cardiovascular training programme which consisted of three running sessions (CV1: 5 x 1000-m, CV2: 3 x 1600-m, SP1: 20-min run) in each of the four weeks. IMT was performed daily by both groups using an inspiratory muscle trainer (POWERbreathe). TRA completed 30 maximal inspirations while PLA inspired 30 times against a negligible resistance.
Results: Mean MIP increased significantly in both groups (TRA: 14.9 ±6.8%, PLA: 8.0 ±7.4%) from pre- to post-training (P<0.01) but was not significantly related to changes in running performance. Mean CV1 training-repetition runs improved similarly in both groups, but RPE evaluations were significantly reduced in TRA (15.7 ±0.7) compared to PLA (16.6 ±0.8) at week four (P<0.05). Pre- to post-training changes in VO2 max were well-matched between both TRA (+2.2 ±2.3%) and PLA (+1.5 ±2.4%) while post-intervention 5000-m performance was significantly augmented in TRA compared with PLA (TRA: -4.3 ±1.6%, PLA: -2.2 ±1.9% P<0.05).
Conclusions: The addition of IMT to a cardiovascular training programme augments 5000-m running performance but exerts no additional influence over VO2 max compared with a cardiovascular-training group. This is probably due to IMT-induced reductions in perceived effort at high ventilatory rates which is of greater consequence to longer duration time-trial performances than incremental tests of VO2 max.
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