Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) has been shown to improve inspiratory muscle function, lung volumes (vital capacity [VC] and total lung capacity [TLC]), work capacity, and power output in people who are healthy; however, no data exist that demonstrate the effect of varying intensities of IMT to produce these outcomes.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of IMT at varying intensities on inspiratory muscle function, VC, TLC, work capacity, and power output in people who are healthy.
This was a randomized controlled trial.
The study was conducted in a clinical laboratory.
Forty people who were healthy (mean age=21.7 years) were randomly assigned to 4 groups of 10 individuals.
Three of the groups completed an 8-week program of IMT set at 80%, 60%, and 40% of sustained maximum inspiratory effort. Training was performed 3 days per week, with 24 hours separating training sessions. A control group did not participate in any form of training.
Baseline and posttraining measurements of body composition, VC, TLC, inspiratory muscle function (including maximum inspiratory pressure [MIP] and sustained maximum inspiratory pressure [SMIP]), work capacity (minutes of exercise), and power output were obtained.
The participants in the 80%, 60%, and 40% training groups demonstrated significant increases in MIP and SMIP, whereas those in the 80% and 60% training groups had increased work capacity and power output. Only the 80% group improved their VC and TLC. The control group demonstrated no change in any outcome measures.
This study may have been underpowered to demonstrate improved work capacity and power output in individuals who trained at 40% of sustained maximum inspiratory effort.
High-intensity IMT set at 80% of maximal effort resulted in increased MIP and SMIP, lung volumes, work capacity, and power output in individuals who were healthy, whereas IMT at 60% of maximal effort increased work capacity and power output only. Inspiratory muscle training intensities lower than 40% of maximal effort do not translate into quantitative functional outcomes.