Effects of a nasal breathing protocol on physical fitness and pulmonary function in young basketball players

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2022 Oct;62(10):1368-1374. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12921-4. Epub 2021 Nov 25.


Background: Respiratory muscle training has been shown to provide positive effects for both health and performance purposes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a six-week period of nasal breathing on pulmonary function and cardio-respiratory fitness in young basketball players.

Methods: Thirty-four, male, basketball players were enrolled and assigned either to experimental group (EG) or to control group (CG). All participants were tested for Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1), Shuttle Sprint Test (SST), Forced Vitality Capacity (FVC), Forced Expiratory Volume in one second (FEV1) and Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF). EG group followed reduced breathing frequency training program focused on intermittent running exercises while performing nasal breathing.

Results: The main findings were significant interactions in Yo-Yo IR1 test, FVC, FEV1 and PEF (P<0.05) in favor of EG compared to CG. Conversely, no significant changes were detected between EG and CG in the SST total time.

Conclusions: Young basketball players may benefit from nasal breathing protocol during their regular training practice leading remarkable improvements in both physical fitness and pulmonary function.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Performance* / physiology
  • Basketball* / physiology
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Running* / physiology