Inspiratory Muscle Training in Intermittent Sports Modalities: A Systematic Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jun 21;17(12):4448. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17124448.


The fatigue of the respiratory muscles causes the so-called metabolic reflex or metaboreflex, resulting in vasoconstriction of the blood vessels in the peripheral muscles, which leads to a decrease in respiratory performance. Training the respiratory muscles is a possible solution to avoid this type of impairment in intermittent sports. The objective of this systematic review was to evaluate the results obtained with inspiratory muscle training (IMT) in intermittent sports modalities, intending to determine whether its implementation would be adequate and useful in intermittent sports. A search in the Web of Science (WOS) and Scopus databases was conducted, following the Preferred Reporting Elements for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The methodological quality of the articles was assessed using the PEDro (Physiotherapy Evidence Database) scale. In conclusion, the introduction of specific devices of IMT seems to be a suitable method to improve performance in intermittent sports, mainly due to a reduction of the metaboreflex, fatigue sensation, and dyspnea. The ideal protocol would consist of a combination of acute and chronic treatment, and, even if IMT is done daily, the duration will not exceed one hour per week.

Keywords: breathing exercises; expiratory muscles; inspiratory muscles; muscle strength; sports performance.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Breathing Exercises
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Respiratory Muscles
  • Sports*