A ‘SECRET weapon’ that could make the difference between winning and losing in sport has been revealed by a scientist at the University of Portsmouth.
Dr Mitch Lomax has found that training the muscles used when breathing in can improve performance by 15 per cent, meaning a runner can run for longer and a swimmer can swim faster.
Dr Lomax, of the university’s department of sport and exercise science, said: ‘People overlook that the muscles responsible for breathing are the same as other muscles and training or warming them up before playing sport means you will perform better. Doing both training and warming up is the best of all.’
In her study, Dr Lomax used an inspiratory (breathing in) muscle training device which works in a similar way to other resistance training devices to build muscle strength.
An athlete doing training would use such a device, costing between £50 to £300, to do one set of 30 breaths twice a day. Dr Lomax tested 12 runners over six weeks and found inspiratory muscle warm-ups improved performance times by up to seven per cent.