Note: This is a review written by Brendan Housler from EVOQ BIKE
Airofit’s Benefits of Respiratory Breathing Trainers
STRONGER BREATHING MUSCLES
Think of this as endurance work. With most of the focus on the diaphragm, endurance athletes can benefit from respiratory trainers because it will prolong the time until we fatigue, which prolongs the oxygen supply to motor muscles.
BETTER ANAEROBIC TOLERANCE
This was the biggest attraction to me, claiming an improvement in anaerobic tolerance, simply because going anaerobic SUCKS!!!! I’ll take any help that I can get.
IMPROVED VITAL LUNG CAPACITY
This means that more air can get into your lungs to be utilized by the muscles. How? Stretching your diaphragm and intercostal muscles allows you to decrease the residual volume and increase the amount of usable air.
Respiratory Trainer History
So why haven’t we heard more about this? If the respiratory system can be trained, why aren’t we already doing this?
Think about cycling power meters. The knowledge about endurance physiology came out, but there was no WKO4 or Training Peaks software. Just because the knowledge was out there, no one had built the hardware, software, or diagnostics to make improvements.
Think about how hard it is to be the first person to make a power meter. And then, you have to be the first person to make the analysis software. That’s a massive undertaking!
Airofit was initially created for patients with asthma and COPD, so it wasn’t directed at us cyclists or endurance athletes. First comes the device, THEN they saw the need for the software. It was later used for classical music singers, and years later, the founder used it on his sons who were competing in swim meets.
Check out the video here on more history.
Airofit Initial Review
Initial Thoughts: Holy crap, this is HARD!
That’s what I kept thinking as I started diving into the exercises.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the app is very straightforward and after picking cycling as my focus, it automatically enrolled me in a 28-day training program. It includes 2 sessions per day which take about 5-10 minutes and train different aspects of my breathing.
The program took me through exercises targeting my Anaerobic Tolerance, Vital Lung Capacity, and my Respiratory Strength. On days were I felt especially motivated, I completed some additional sessions outside of the suggested program.
The initial programs were highly challenging, and it made me think that I’d never get through them.
I would go two minutes, and almost be gasping for air, taking the device out of my mouth to catch my breath. Don’t worry! Just like in cycling, work on your weaknesses and they improve with time. I’m so stoked about my improvement with this respiratory trainer after just six weeks of training.
If you want to read what others think about Airofit, read more reviews here.
Initial Respiratory Trainer Results With Airofit
I really want to break this into anecdotal evidence, and evidence based on the results from the respiratory trainer mobile app.
As I mentioned in the first sentence, initially everything was hard. I noticed that I easily got “caught up” in my breathing. It wasn’t always smooth or controlled.
There are three main areas of improvement that the Airofit allows me to tackle:
- Respiratory Strength
- Anaerobic Tolerance
- Vital Lung Capacity
Respiratory strength is going to improve your exhale strength, massively. The training is focused on strengthening your diaphragm so that you inhale and exhale more air in a given amount of time. The big factor for cyclists is that your muscle fatigue resistance will increase, so you’ll spend less energy breathing.
Anaerobic Tolerance will teach you how to exhale and then hold your breath; it’s more of hypoxic training when you consider it all. Studies show that prolonged breath-holding induces additional blood vessel growth, which significantly boosts muscle oxygenation. This prolongs the period in which you stay within aerobic metabolism, reducing lactic buildup, which allows you to perform at higher intensities for longer. Not to mention, hypoxia directly correlates to reduced heart rate, which then means increased lifetime, but more importantly, a greater ability to within extremely hard and extended efforts.
Vital Lung Capacity allows you to both inhale and exhale more air, improving your body’s oxygenation.
This is where I anecdotally saw my first improvement. As I was railing 98-105% FTP efforts, my breathing was much easier; my heart rate was lower; I felt in control of the efforts, rather than the efforts dictating my feelings.
It was an incredibly empowering feeling that really helped me push harder when the interval duration exceeded 15 minutes. I felt focused, confident, and controlled.
Max Aerobic, or VO2Max, efforts also seemed more manageable. There was less gasping for air, and when things got tough, I felt like I could breathe deeper and more fully. It was incredible!
Empirical Results With Airofit
My Vital Lung Capacity has seriously improved! I went from 4L to almost over 7L!!
I used to never be able to complete the breath-holding exercises in Anaerobic Tolerance, and I just finished my first Intermediate, 4 minute, continuous session yesterday morning!
My training took a hit when I went to New Zealand, as I was so tired from the stage race. When you are competing, you want to go down one level (expert to intermediate, intermediate to beginner) and shorten the duration of each session, with more rest time. Just like in cycling; taper it.
I’m back at it, shooting for at least 20 minutes a day, and can’t wait to see what other results come from this!
When To Train With Airofit
Just so there is no confusion, the respiratory trainer is NOT used while cycling. You also do not do the training while doing chores around the house. The Airofit device requires 100% of your attention and physical capabilities.
I split my training to morning and afternoon. I try to avoid doing it at night when I’m already tired. I break my sessions into 3 x 4m, in order to hit 24m in a day. Sometimes I have to cut it short.
Here is a more recent update from Brendan on his breath training journey: