The Effect of Respiratory Muscle Training on the Pulmonary Function, Lung Ventilation, and Endurance Performance of Young Soccer Players

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Dec 28;17(1):234. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17010234.


This study investigated whether the addition of eight weeks of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) to a regular preseason soccer training program, including incremental endurance training (IET), would change pulmonary function, lung ventilation, and aerobic performance in young soccer players. Sixteen club-level competitive junior soccer players (mean age 17.63 ± 0.48 years, height 182 ± 0.05 cm, body mass 68.88 ± 4.48 kg) participated in the study. Participants were randomly assigned into two groups: experimental (n = 8) and control (n = 8). Both groups performed regular preseason soccer training, including endurance workouts as IET. In addition to this training, the experimental group performed additional IMT for eigght weeks with a commercially available respiratory muscle trainer (Threshold IMT), with a total of 80 inhalations (twice per day, five days per week). Pre- and post-intervention tests of pulmonary function, maximal inspiratory pressure, and the Cooper test were implemented. Eight weeks of IMT had a positive impact on expiratory muscle strength (p = 0.001); however, there was no significant effect on respiratory function parameters. The results also indicate increased efficiency of the inspiratory muscles, contributing to an improvement in aerobic endurance, measured by VO₂max estimated from running distance in the cardiorespiratory Cooper test (p < 0.005).

Keywords: endurance; inspiratory training; lung ventilation; muscle strength; running; soccer.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Breathing Exercises / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Muscles / metabolism
  • Running / physiology
  • Soccer / physiology*