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Int J Exerc Sci. 2017 Jul 1;10(4):506-514. eCollection 2017.

Effects of Nasal or Oral Breathing on Anaerobic Power Output and Metabolic Responses.

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Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA.


Nasal and oral exclusive breathing modes have benefits and drawbacks during submaximal exercise. It is unknown whether these responses would extend to anaerobic work performed at high intensity. Nine individuals (males N = 7, females N = 2) performed a standard Wingate Anaerobic cycle test on a cycle ergometer under nose (N) and mouth (M) only respiratory conditions, performed in a counterbalanced order. A 2 (condition: nose, mouth) × 6 (time: 0-5 sec, 5-10 sec, 10-15 sec, 15-20 sec, 20-25 sec, 25-30 sec) repeated measures ANOVA was used to analyze the data with significance accepted at the p<0.05 level. No differences between breathing mode were observed for any power output or performance measures associated with the Wingate Anaerobic cycle test. Respiratory exchange ratio (RER) was significantly higher in the oral respiration condition from 10 seconds to 25 seconds during the test (p<0.05). On the other hand, heart rate (HR) in the nasal condition was significantly greater during the final two time intervals (p<0.05). Nasal breathing was effective in reducing hyperventilation as RER remained below 1.0. However, elevated HR with nasal breathing indicates increased cardiovascular stress associated with this mode. As breathing mode does not affect power output or performance measures during completion of a high-intensity anaerobic test, preference of the participant should be the determining factor if a choice is available.


Nose versus mouth; Wingate cycle test; maximal anaerobic capacity; metabolic measures


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