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Turbocharge Your Endurance with Respiratory Muscle Training Part II

By: John Serafano

Training Mask Research and Development

Taking A Three Prong Approach to Improving Respiratory Fitness Continued…

Last week’s installment of this series highlighted that a three pronged approach to adding respiratory training to your workouts will allow you to enjoy improved endurance and anaerobic output with a minimal impact on overall work capacity. To review, one of the Training Mask’s critics circles favorite comments is that it decreases workout quality. The Training Mask team plans to show that there are number of different ways in which you can incorporate the Training Mask and pulmonary training into your workouts seamlessly. This week we will introduce segments II and III of our three pronged strategy:

2) In-Workout Respiratory Training

3) Post workout EPOC maximization

In workout RT (respiratory training) is utilizing the Training Mask during your workout to maximize functional lung muscle output while you are training. In workout RT can be utilized during your strength training, endurance training, or speed work. Post workout EPOC maximization is a training principle focused on capitalizing on the fat burning and metabolic benefits of post workout oxygen deficit. Let’s dig in.

In Workout Respiratory Training

This aspect of using the Training Mask is the method that gets the most scrutiny among opponents to the respiratory training philosophy. One of the classic comments is that using the Training Mask is like ‘breathing through a straw while you workout’. We don’t know if anyone has ever tried to compare breathing through a straw and breathing through a Training Mask, but we, and our countless users can assure you they are not remotely close to the same thing. The Training Mask has a very complex airflow matrix that is designed to maximize air flow in the re-breather based on diaphragmatic activation. If you are breathing with correct technique and using the right muscles, the Mask rewards you by allowing a strong puff of air. Secondly, everyone may be at a slightly different level as far as breathing muscle strength and technique. The Training Mask takes this into account by giving the user multiple different resistance settings to meet them where they are.

We recommend a simple approach if you are new to using the Training Mask in your workouts. Let’s look at an endurance workout for an example. There should be an inverse relationship between elevation-resistance and exertion level if you are new to respiratory training. In other words, if you are working out at near your max heart rate (85% and above) you need to be using the lowest resistance setting of 3k. The main goal is to preserve air flow, while maximizing functional breathing muscle activation during the workout. If you are doing a low intensity, low-moderate distance workout, you would be best served to use a slightly higher resistance setting of say 6k to 9k based on tolerance. This allows you to take advantage of isolating your respiratory musculature with a higher intensity, while preserving your work output during your low intensity workout.

A slightly different methodology is recommended if you plan to wear the mask during a strength training workout. Simply don the mask during the work set, and remove the mask in between sets if you are doing a workout focused on power/strength. Moreover, use a higher air resistance level during the work set as you will only be under tension for under 30 seconds. This will give you the benefits of max respiratory recruitment, and increase the hypoxic stimulus to the body encouraging greater GH release post work out.

Anaerobic speed training workouts will follow a similar formula that a strength workout does with a twist. We are going to emphasize both recovery and fatigue tolerance within the same exercise session. For example, if you are doing four circuits of 4 stations (cone zig zag drill, 40M sprint, Box Jumps, and dots for example), don the mask at a moderately low resistance level of 6k while you complete the first and second series of drills. Next, remove the mask during your 2-3-minute rest focusing on preserving your diaphragmatic breathing technique. For the last block of two circuits you are going to remove the mask during the work set, and apply the mask during your 2-3 minute recovery period only. The purpose of cycling mask usage during this session is to preserve workout intensity while also focusing on improving functional output of your breathing muscles.

Post Workout EPOC Maximization

The last component to our three pronged approach is going to emphasize maximizing the EPOC of our workouts during the cool down portion of our workout. We advise that you use this strategy after a trying, high intensity workout that really pushed your limits. A true high intensity workout will put your body into substantial oxygen debt post workout. This oxygen debt is called EPOC (excessive post exercise oxygen consumption). The EPOC effect has benefits that include improved fatty acid mobilization and increased Growth Hormone production. Post workout respiratory training can augment this effect further by pushing you further into EPOC and allowing you to work longer during your cool down even though you are fatigued. The simple premise for using this training principle is to don the mask during an 8-12 minute cool down activity such as stretching, walking, or stationary cycling for example. For the first few EPOC sessions use a low to moderate air resistance level starting with 3k for the first session and working up to 6k for the third session. As you become better acclimated to the EPOC training, continue to increase the resistance level each session ad hoc until you reach approximately 12k or so. The goal of using the mask in this fashion is to taper oxygen debt progressively into your cool down to ramp up the EPOC effect.

Go ahead and give all three of these training principles a try (DRT, In session RT, and post workout EPOC training). We think you will find that not only do these techniques improve your stamina and fatigue thresholds, but they also do not decrease your work capacity to a significant degree while you use the mask. Stronger breathing means more endurance, greater stamina, and even greater core strength. These benefits are within reach by using the Training Mask. Leave your feedback on these new training principles on our Facebook, and in the coming months on the new Training Mask review website. Thank you and let Training Mask take your fitness to new heights.

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