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May 01, 2019 By BridgeAthletic

Strength Training for Your Breath: IMST Uncovered



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Have you heard of Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST)?

Think of it as strength training for the muscles that help you breathe. Pretty important.

Researchers at Boulder are focused on how strengthening these essential muscles can impact performance.

They’ve already found participants of the intervention are performing better on cognitive and treadmill tests. Here’s some background:

  1. IMST involves inhaling through an inspiratory muscle trainer, originally designed for people with respiratory problems (think: bronchitis or cystic fibrosis).  
  2. In 2016, these researchers tested the effects of IMST on subjects suffering from obstructive sleep apnea and found the device lowered systolic blood pressure by 12 millimeters of mercury (exercise only lowers blood pressure by half that amount). 
  3. Based on the findings of 2016, these researchers are studying the possible benefits of IMST for vascular, cognitive, and physical health.

If findings are conclusive, IMST may act as an effective and fast approach to improving cardiovascular health, without hitting the gym. 

A few notes on systolic blood pressure: 

  1. Known as the pressure in your vessels when your heart beats
  2. Impacts an aging population as arteries start to stiffen with age, leading to damage of 'blood-started' tissues, leading to a higher risk of heart attack, cognitive decline and kidney damage. 

Researchers have already seen significant drops in blood pressure, improvement in large-artery function as well as improvement on certain cognitive and memory tests. Stay tuned...


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About the Author


At Bridge, we are all athletes and coaches first. As athletes, our team has experienced everything from riding the pine on JV, to winning NCAA championships, to competing in the Olympic Games. As coaches, we have helped countless athletes reach their full potential, winning everything from age group section championships to Olympic Gold Medals.

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