The effect of inspiratory muscle training for 10 min twice a day for 27.5 days was evaluated in 20 human subjects, of whom 10 formed a training group and 10 a sham training group. The maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max), maximal ventilation, breathing frequency during maximal exercise and the distance run in 12 min on a track were determined in addition to resting peak expiratory flow, forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), with alveolar oxygen tension (pAO2) during maximal exercise being calculated. Inspiratory muscle training increased maximal inspiratory pressure from 93 (range 38-118) to 110 (65-165) mmHg in the training group (P less than 0.0005), but did not affect VO2 max, ventilation during maximal exercise, peak expiratory flow, FEV1 or FVC. However, breathing frequency during maximal exercise decreased slightly from 56 (44-87) to 53 (38-84) breaths min-1 (P less than 0.05) in the training group only; but the calculated pAO2 did not increase from the pre-training value of 126 (116-132) mmHg. The maximal distance run during 12 min increased similarly in the training and sham training groups by 8% (3-12%) and 6% (2-12%), respectively (P less than 0.01). The results of this study show that inspiratory muscle training resulting in a 32% (0-85%) increase in maximal inspiratory pressure does not change FEV1, FVC, peak expiratory flow, VO2 max or work capacity.