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Undersea Hyperb Med. 2008 May-Jun;35(3):185-96.

Respiratory muscle training improves swimming endurance at depth.

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Center for Research and Education in Special Environments, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo New York, USA.


Respiratory muscle training (RMT) has been shown to improve divers swimming endurance at 4 feet of depth; however, its effectiveness at greater depths, where gas density and the work of breathing are substantially elevated has not been studied. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of resistance respiratory muscle training (RRMT) on respiratory function and swimming endurance at 55 feet of depth (270.5 kPa). Nine male subjects (25.9 +/- 6.8 years) performed RRMT for 30 min/day, 5 d/ wk, for 4 wks. Pre- and Post RRMT, subjects swam against a pre-determined load (70% VO2 max) until exhausted. As indices of respiratory muscle strength, maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressures were measured before and immediately following the swims pre- and post-RRMT. These measurements showed that ventilation was significantly lower during the swims and, at comparable swim duration, that the respiratory muscles were considerably less fatigued following RRMT. The reduced ventilation was due to a lower breathing frequency following RRMT. The ventilatory changes following RRMT coincided with significantly increased swimming time to exhaustion (approximately 60%, 31.3 +/- 11.6 vs. 49.9 +/- 16.0 min, pre- vs. post-RRMT, p < 0.05). These results suggest respiratory muscle fatigue limits swimming endurance at depth as well as at the surface and RRMT improves performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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