Respiratory Muscle Activity During Simultaneous Stationary Cycling and Inspiratory Muscle Training

J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Dec;29(12):3517-22. doi: 10.1097/JSC.0000000000000238.


Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) strengthens the muscles of respiration, improves breathing efficiency, and increases fitness. The IMT is generally performed independently of aerobic exercise; however, it is not clear whether there is added benefit of performing the IMT while simultaneously performing aerobic exercise in terms of activating and strengthening inspiratory muscles. The purpose of our study was to determine the effect of IMT on respiratory muscle electromyography (EMG) activity during stationary cycling in the upright and drops postures as compared with that when the IMT was performed alone. Diaphragm and sternocleidomastoid EMG activity was measured under different resting and cycling postures, with and without the use of the IMT at 40% maximal inspiratory pressure (n = 10; mean age 37). Cycling in an upright posture while simultaneously performing the IMT resulted in a significantly greater diaphragm EMG activity than while performing the IMT at rest in upright or drops postures (p ≤ 0.05). Cycling in drops postures while performing the IMT had a significantly greater diaphragm EMG activity than when performing the IMT at rest in either upright or drops postures (p ≤ 0.05). Sternocleidomastoid muscle activity increased with both cycling and IMT, although posture had little effect. These results support our hypothesis in that the IMT while cycling increases respiratory EMG activity to a significantly greater extent than when performing the IMT solely at rest, suggesting that the combination of IMT and cycling may provide an additive training effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles
  • Adult
  • Bicycling / physiology
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Diaphragm / physiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Posture / physiology
  • Rest / physiology
  • Young Adult