We’re always trying to stay on top of the latest tips and tricks to help make ourselves faster, and then we pass all, errr most, of them on to you.
If you’ve been using a respiratory trainer, scroll to the bottom of my Frequently Asked Questions and let us know which ones you’ve had, so that we can add them!
When an advertisement for Airofit popped up on social media, I was curious. I did some digging and contacted the company about some of the blogs that they posted.
If you haven’t checked out their basics on what to know about inspiratory training, read this one when you’re done.
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 the 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.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure exactly where to start, so I want to point this out: they are working on creating a better roadmap for use athletes to follow, but if you feel stuck, here’s what I did: I wanted to get a grasp on all of the different modules and types of breathing. I started with 2-minute sessions so that I could do about 5-10 exercises a day.
Once I got used to the breathing techniques, it was easy to see what I wasn’t good at. Train your weaknesses! I started focusing on Anaerobic Tolerance and Vital Lung Capacity. Once I started getting tired, I switched to Respiratory Strength, which is important for cyclists, and was just easier for me to complete when fatigued.
You might be overwhelmed by the options at first, but just like anything new, you’ll get into a groove and get used to it.
The initial programs are extremely 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 on my improvement with this respiratory trainer after just six weeks of training.
Initial Race Results With Airofit
I wanted to start using this before The Tour of Southland in New Zealand, one of the biggest cycling races in the South Pacific. I had hopes that I could get some added benefit before this huge stage race, which was going to test me more than most races, over the course of seven days and nearly 600 race miles.
There will be another blog about this, but if you’re following me on Strava, most of you saw my heavy diet of threshold, threshold bursts, and max aerobic (VO2Max) work, as I really wanted to try to make the break, and stick in one until the end of a stage.
While that didn’t happen, I was in the break all day on Stage 1, and won the Green Jersey and Most Combative award. The watts were amazing that day! For me at least; minuscule for the real pros.
First 45 minutes was 386W NP, until the rubber band finally snapped. I’ll get more into the story of the race in another post, but it was awesome to find myself in a 2 man break after a really tough start.
We then rode 57 miles, 2 hours 20mins at 365W NP! This was massive for me, only 10W off a lifetime power PR!
Caught by the lead group, I was then spit out, not having enough experience to get in the echelon and survive the crosswind.
Jumping to the last stage, Stage 7, I had an 18m time trial at 438W NP, 436W average. While I wasn’t aero enough at 6’5” and came in 31st place behind a load of hitters, I was so amazed at the power that day. This was on day 7, with almost 600 miles of racing in the legs!
I have no doubt that Airofit helped me achieve these results! But I noticed the results in my training beforehand as well.
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 3 main modules that I’ve been focusing on:
Vital Lung Capacity
Respiratory Strengthis going to improve your exhale strength, massively. The training is focused on strengthening your diaphram 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; 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!
There are other breathing trainer modules, such as Instant Performance, which are great for warming up, but the other 3 are the main respiratory training programs that I’ve undergone.
Below are some of the Advanced, Preprogrammed Modules that you can follow along with.
Empirical Results With Airofit