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Training Mask Research and Development


The Missing Piece to Endurance Performance

Endurance and oxygen utilization go hand in hand when it comes to improving the latter. Unfortunately, improving how the lungs respire oxygen at the physiological level is a futile pursuit. The surface area of the lungs is vast to say the least. If you were to stretch the surface area of the lungs out completely, it would cover a tennis court. Alveolar expansion is limited by how much air can enter the lungs. Getting these minute structures to absorb more oxygen out of the air is next to impossible at this juncture in history.

That does not mean that improving lung inflation is also impossible however. The physiological limitations of the lungs are based upon how much air can enter them during a respiration cycle. And in this regard, we do have a measure of control. Our respiratory musculature determines the inflation of our lungs. Every time our diaphragm and external intercostal muscles contract we inspire air into our lungs. If these muscles are fatigued or weak, our ability to inhale air is impaired. The effects of this are rather insidious as the body can make accommodations for reduced oxygen supply. However, this cannot be sustained, and it directly impacts maintaining intensity levels.

There were two studies conducted that reflect this fact. In one study test subjects underwent labored breathing exercises for close to two hours. Once the breathing exercise concluded they were then instructed to begin a running trial. Both studies showed that endurance was reduced by 15-24%. What this tells us is that our respiratory machinery can account for up to one quarter of our endurance.

Taking A Three Prong Approach to Improving Respiratory Fitness

Implementing respiratory training to your routine should be undertaken in three ways.

  1. Pre-Workout Respiratory Fatigue Training
  2. In-Workout Respiratory Training
  3. Post-Workout EPOC maximization

You can use one of these pieces, or all of these pieces in improving your respiratory muscle fitness. However, using all three of these measures in one workout should be done no more than once a week. Pre-Workout programs should center around DRT (diaphragmatic respiratory training). Training Mask has released a multitude of content on the tenets of DRT, as well as the tactics of executing a DRT workout. A good starting place for implementing DRT would be to introduce a multi-position DRT workout. Start from a basic hook lying position, then progress to a modified sitting position (on a body ball), and lastly finish in a challenging core stabilization posture such as a plank. See below for a sample…

Exercise One: Diaphragmatic Breathing in Hook Lying

10 breaths @ 4-0-6 breathing cadence (4 second inhalation – 0 second hold – 6 second exhalation).

Exercise Two: Diaphragmatic Breathing on a Body Ball @ 4-0-6 cadence for 10 breaths.

Exercise Three: Diaphragmatic Breathing from plank position @ 4-0-6 cadence for 10 breaths.

Repeat the above protocol in a circuit for 10 minutes pre-workout using the Training Mask at a relatively high elevation resistance setting, then remove the mask and perform your endurance workout as you typically would. Perform this routine before 1-2 of your endurance workouts in a calendar week.

The In-Workout protocol is relatively simple. On 1-2 of your weekly endurance workouts don the mask during your workout at a light elevation resistance setting. Your focus should be on posture and productive diaphragmatic breathing while you are running. This routine should not be done in conjunction with DRT or the post workout EPOC routine we are covering in the next section. Preserving workout intensity is a chief goal when incorporating respiratory training. Respiratory training is a supplement to your regular workouts and should not be the prime focus as it may decrease functional work capacity. By introducing respiratory techniques judiciously, we can maximize the effectiveness of our endurance work without sacrificing intensity.

The last component of respiratory training is EPOC focused post workout training. This aspect of our three pronged approach is meant to maximize the EPOC effect of our workouts to facilitate improved calorie burn, and physiological adaptation. To incorporate EPOC training in your post workout regimen, don the mask post workout at a high resistance setting during your cool down. The cool down should consist of a mild jog at a low intensity, or brisk walk. Moreover, your cool down when applying EPOC principles should last 12-15 minutes. Similar to the other two pieces in this program, you should only perform EPOC training 2 times per week, and not in conjunction with an In-Workout respiratory session. EPOC training and DRT can be performed during the same session, but we advise you do this no more than once every 7 to 10 days. This will prevent the risk of over training. More on these concepts will be covered in another instalment to this article. Introduce these three basic concepts into your endurance workouts to insure you get the most out of the 24% of your endurance work dictated by respiratory muscle fitness. Thank you for reading this article on Training Mask review, and let respiratory training with the Training Mask take your workouts to new heights.

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