Test - Powerbreathe
Company SVEMAT offers various types of Powerbreathe in its portfolio. There are mechanical models such as Classic and Plus or electronical model belonging to series K. Cycling Team Banská Bystrica riders were provided these breathing devices to try a different approach of preparation for races.
So what do these devices actually do? It’s a tool for training one’s breathing muscles. It’s like a weight lifting for lungs – works on the same rationale as normal weightlifting. Lungs should get inflated by air – the amount and correct functioning of the inspiratory system is dependent on many different muscles. A diaphragma, being the core of the breathing system, works as a piston. We destinguish two different types of breathing – dependent on whether one uses predominantly abdominal muscles or muscles of the ribcage while breathing. Women are more likely to use their ribcage muscles when breathing than men.
Both Powerbreathe Classic and Plus are simple mechanical devices with a membrane and a rubber sealing with chord. By changing the chord position, you either decrease or increase the resistance of the device during breathing. There’s a resistance only when breathing in. You can exhale easily through the device as there is no resistance or you’re free to breathe out with the tool taken out of your mouth. Breathing in requires activity of the body muscles whereas exhaling is done more automatically, by a pure tension in your chest. During a physical activity, also ribcage muscles act as an extra support to accelerate the exhalation. For these reasons, Powerbreathe focuses on improving your breathing in patterns. I also had a chance to try a device with a certain resistance when both breathing in and exhaling. I found it quite complicated with negligible positive impact – when using high resistance both ways, you feel an uncomfortale pressure in your eyes, nose and ears and get exhausted too fast. There is also a negative pressure in lungs, expanded ribcage automaticly pumps the air out during exhalation. As there’s only a very slight resistance when exhaling through the device, I advise you to breathe both in and out all the time through Powerbreathe tool. Exhaling using a certain small resistance imitates the worsened conditions in sporting activities.
You change the resistance level of mechanical devices by simply turning their scale from 0 to 10. The devices come in different resistance strength based on the chord strength – from Light (small resistance, designed for beginners), Medium (designed for intermediate users) to Heavy (designed for sportsmen, with a heavy resistance). Our racers use Heavy models Classic and Plus. The only difference there is between Classic and Plus models is their design – model Plus being more modern and easier to disassemble when cleaning. As far as their properties and efficiency is concerned, these two models are identical.
Despite our cyclists being exposed to high endurance activities daily, they all started using Powerbreathe at level 0. None of them got over level 3 even after 3 months of frequent usage. This fact is given by the fact that they all use devices with the strongest chord resistance. Use a noseclip as a prevention of breathing in by your nose. Training should be done when standing or sitting straight, with the resistance level set to a maximum sustainable level. Just like there are many different excercises when you go to the gym, there are many various breathing excercises with Powerbreathe – the core excercise being inhaling fast 30 times to the maximal capacity of your lungs followed by slow exhalation. This, of course, is only the basic excercise, rather fast and powerful. You can also breathe in in different patterns – changing the intensity, doing longer excercises to increase your endurance, using the device during a physical activity which simulates long climbs or time trials. There are many different examples of the use of Powerbreathe to be found on internet – different excercises suit different people, everyone should try to find what suits him/her the best. If you do your excercises twice a day and honestly, you should feel your power parametres improve in about a weeks‘ time. It’s really the same principle as with lifting weights – firt time in the gym is painful but you do see positive effects and cope better with the same loads every other time you come. All you need is practice and discipline. Just as fast as you get the muscles trained and see the good results, it’s by the same speed the atrophy comes, so you really should be persistent if looking for long-term results.
Powerbreathe is a very simple tool that comes in nice small textile bag. It’s small and portable, therefore you don’t need to limit yourself with your exercises when travelling. I would also like to stress the positive impact this device has on asthma cure and prevention. Asthmatics using Powerbreathe find it easier to breathe, their inbreath becomes longer and deeper, the breathlessness vanishes. Simply said, it’s a very useful tool not only for sportsmen – to whom I recommend the Heavy models, but also for less active people and for asthmatics who would appreciate the Light or Medium models with lower resistance.
All mechanical models are made of simple plastic parts. This tool can be disassembled easily and cleaned by a normal dish-washing liquids or desinfected using a water-soluble capsule. This devide is practicaly indestructible and will last for years. The only perishable part is the rubber mouthpiece that can be replaced for only 6€. I advice buying an extra piece of mouthpiece also if the device is used by different people.
There is a more sophisticated model belonging to Product Line K for more demanding customers. It’s equipped with a digital display and has many electronical features. It can be used to explore the current state and parametres of one’s breathing system. Based on a trial usage, the system evaluates it and comes up with a simple training programme suited for your needs. All the excercises are stored in a memory and with the top models K4 and K5, you can also download the data to your computer and evaluate them in a specially designed programme which is also included in the pack. These models can truly be used as a 3 in 1 - diagnosis, cure and training tool in one. The downside of these models is their high price and the need to recharge battery.
As far as the resistance training is concerned, both these systems – the mechanical ones as well as the digital ones – provide you with the same result. Mechanical devices are convinient for their price (44,90€ Classic, 64,90€ Plus). You need to pay some extra money for the model line K (starting at 285€ for K1 up to 525€ for K5) – this model, though, is really designed for diagnostic and evaluative purposes and provides you with up-to-date feedback.
Increasing strength of your inspiratory muscles is one of the best things you can do not only to increase your performance level in sport, but to improve your health state in general. The only limitation there is in Powerbreathe is the absence of a control mechanism, therefore people tend to flunk their training off, but they’re only cheating on themselves. This is normal and very human indeed, all activities demanding a certain effort are trying to be avoided in time. Doing excercises with Powerbreathe is really not sophisticated nor on a super-scientific level, therefore very easy and user-friendly. No results can be awaited without a proper effort – doing simple exercises with this tool is really just minimum of no-real effort what you can do for your body whether you are a sportsman or not.
"I use my Powerbreathe daily. I can see how much I improved from the day when I started. Who knows, it might be this little extra effort that helped me already many times to stay in the leading group instead of riding in the grupetto in a race." were impressions of Lukáš Bátora.
Martin Haring appreciates different aspect of the device: "I see the best potential of Powerbreathe in improving my starts during races – especially in XC or cyclocross races where you need to go at your full potential from the very start. Powerbreathe helps me to prepare and warm up my inspiratory system before the actual race performance.“
"Everyone tries to enhance their performance slightly by any given possibility these days. Cycling becomes faster each year with almost everyone having the same professional approach: everyone is using the same legal supplements enhancing and boosting power, is equipped with the same top level of bike and bike accessories, and everybody stick to a healthy way of living. Powerbreathe is neither a miracle nor something revolutional on the market, just a small little extra that you can add to your improvement. I would like to stress especially the positive effect it has on one’s health in general. Me personally, I am a light asthmatic and I see the improvement this tool has had on the depth of my inbreath.“ commented Martin Fraňo.
"I try to use my Powerbreathe daily. Just like everyone else, I am lazy and tend to forget, but when I am consistent in my training, I do see the positive effects of PB. The breathlessness in a race is less noticable and improvements are also proved by my ameliorated results each week. It’s easier to do exercise when you see positive results.” shared Lívia Hanesová her experience with PB.
All fans and CT BB supporters can profit of a 5% discount of any products of Powerbreathe, Compex or Enervit applicable to their first order from SVEMAT. Just don’t forget to write the ‘password’ Cycling Team Banská Bystrica in your comment to the online order.
Anyone interested in trying a Powerbreathe tool is welcome to the finish area of Tour de Volcano where it will be presented all day during the race. First potential customers who wanted to try the device could have done so during a regular Tuesday Road Race League in Šturec past week