The effect of respiratory muscle training on swimming endurance in divers
Wylegala, Juli A
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Respiratory muscles can fatigue during prolonged and maximal exercise, thus reducing performance. The respiratory system is challenged during underwater exercise due to increased hydrostatic pressure and gas density. The purpose of this study was to determine if two specific respiratory muscle training protocols enhance respiratory function and swim performance in divers. Thirty male subjects (23.4 ± 4.33 yrs) participated. They were randomized to a placebo (PRMT), endurance (ERMT), or resistance respiratory muscle training (RRMT) protocol. Training sessions were 30 min/day, 5 days/week, for 4 weeks. PRMT consisted of 10-sec breath-holds once/minute, ERMT consisted of isocapnic hyperpnea, and RRMT consisted of a vital capacity maneuver against 50 cm H 2 O resistance every 30 seconds. The PRMT group had no significant changes in any measured variable. Underwater and surface endurance swim time to exhaustion significantly increased in both the RRMT (66%, P < .001; 33%, P = .003) and ERMT (26%, P = .038; 38%, P < .001) groups, respectively. Breathing frequency (f b ) during the underwater endurance swim decreased in RRMT (23%, P = .034) and tidal volume (V T ) increased in both the RRMT (12%, P = .004) and ERMT (7%, P = .027) groups. Maximal inspiratory (PImax) and expiratory pressures (PEmax) increased following RRMT (12%, P = .015) and (15%, P = .011), respectively. Results from this study indicate that respiratory muscle fatigue is a limiting factor for underwater swimming performance, and that targeted respiratory muscle training improves underwater swimming performance.