The influence of inspiratory and expiratory muscle training upon rowing performance

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2007 Mar;99(5):457-66. doi: 10.1007/s00421-006-0367-6. Epub 2006 Dec 22.


We investigated the effect of 4 week of inspiratory (IMT) or expiratory muscle training (EMT), as well as the effect of a subsequent 6 week period of combined IMT/EMT on rowing performance in club-level oarsmen. Seventeen male rowers were allocated to either an IMT (n = 10) or EMT (n = 7) group. The groups underwent a 4 week IMT or EMT program; after interim testing, both groups subsequently performed a 6 week program of combined IMT/EMT. Exercise performance and physiological responses to exercise were measured at 4 and 10 week during an incremental rowing ergometer 'step-test' and a 6 min all-out (6MAO) effort. Pressure threshold respiratory muscle training was undertaken at the 30 repetition maximum load (approximately 50% of the peak inspiratory and expiratory mouth pressure, P (Imax) or P (Emax), respectively). P (Imax) increased during the IMT phase of the training in the IMT group (26%, P < 0.001) and was accompanied by an improvement in mean power during the 6MAO (2.7%, P = 0.015). Despite an increase in P (Emax) by the end of the intervention (31%, P = 0.03), the EMT group showed no significant changes in any performance parameters during either the 'step-test' or 6MAO. There were no significant changes in breathing pattern or the metabolic response to the 6MAO test in either group, but the IMT group showed a small decrease in HR (2-5%, P = 0.001). We conclude that there were no significant additional changes following combined IMT/EMT. IMT improved rowing performance, but EMT and subsequent combined IMT/EMT did not.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Exhalation
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Inhalation
  • Lactic Acid
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue
  • Muscle Strength
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Perception
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Mechanics*
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiology*
  • Sports*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Time Factors


  • Lactic Acid