Resistance breathing training for better blood pressure and 12% aerobic boost for endurance athletes?

Have you seen ads for devices that look like an asthma inhaler and are supposed to help with breathing and blood pressure? I thought they were just another gadget gimmick, but a new clinical study finds that resistance breathing can lower blood pressure by 9 points. High blood pressure is significantly lowered with breath training : Shots - Health News : NPR

Perhaps more interesting for cyclists is another study (linked in the NPR article) finding that resistance breath training can increase aerobic exercise tolerance in endurance athletes by 12% - measured as TTE (time to exhaustion) Where do I sign up?!

There are a few other threads on the forum about such devices….the general consensus is that these devices are pretty much bunk, but some anecdotal evidence that some have benefited from them.

I’d like to see more details about the studies mentioned din the article.

huge advocate of airofit. made gains within the app and have had the best vo2max and threshold efforts of my life at age 40. Started using this gimmicks in 2019.

(DISCLAIMER, sponsored by Airofit because the device is that good!)

everyone always wants a study for everything these days, however, athletes don’t live in a lab to get tested on everything. It’s quite crazy to require a study for everything in cycling. “Those intervals don’t work, there’s no data on them”. ummmm, ok!


The study of over 50 subjects didn’t say if any were recreational athletes, so I assume they were not.
The theory of resistance training for the lungs makes sense, but I’d like to see a study of cyclists and other athletes to see if the TTE gain is achieved for that group. We are already taxing our lungs during exercise, especially threshold and above intervals.

There is a wide price range of devices, so I will probably try one of the less expensive devices to start.
Since the study says it did not improve VO2 Max, I’d have to figure out a good TTE workout for before/after comparison, maybe the dreaded Ramp Test?

I know right! I’m the bad guy for asking that a product manufacturer have evidence about their marketing claims!

Maybe manufacturers shouldn’t make claims they are not willing to backup with evidence. In the case of sport science a robust study is the gold standard.

No offense intended, but your testimonial actually makes me less likely to buy a product with your statement regarding studies.


that’s totally cool, do you! i’m not saying studies aren’t great or necessary for products, they are; but if there isn’t a study for something (esp in cycling), people disregard it.

Airofit has studies. As an athlete, those are great to see, but I also want to hear from someone who’s used in it the field, training and racing, and can validate it.

1 Like

Peer reviewed studies > anecdotes.

Someone saying they used a product and had great results is correlation, not causation. WAY too many other variables to consider. IME, most times when these stories pop up, the athlete in question has usually made other changes to their training (often more volume or intensity) which makes it impossible to determine the efficacy of the device.

1 Like

I’ll go one further, even if a study does not find efficacy, it doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Alternatively, if a study does find efficacy, it doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Fundamentally, RCTs only tell you whether there was a difference in the average treatment effect between the treated population and the control population. As such, once you take the average treatment effect for something that works in e.g., 50% of the population, it might not be statistically different than the control group. The reverse is also true

The most well known example of this is the drug clopidogrel. It is very effective unless you happen to be a poor CYP2C19 metabolizer, which is ~20% of the population. This has been recognized by the FDA, FYI.

This does not mean you should go out and buy debunked supplements, it just means you should consider your unique situation when assessing whether you want to try something. For me, I am not a good belly breather. I feel that airofit could have benefits for me. I haven’t tried it yet, but I intend to as I think it will help my breathing during vo2 intervals.

For anyone interested in reading about RCTs and how to properly apply results, this paper is excellent. Angus Deaton is a Nobel Laureate economist, and Nancy Cartwright is a very well known philosopher.

I located a study using trained cyclists (“mean +/- SEM VO2max 64 +/- 2”), which found a 3.8% to 4.6% improvement in their 20K and 40K TT performance. Inspiratory muscle fatigue in trained cyclists: effects of inspiratory muscle training - PubMed. This seems to indicate that gains can be made by trained athletes, not just untrained subjects.

The PowerBreathe device was used in the BP study. Because the price is $65, I plan to start out with that rather than the more expensive Airofit.

1 Like

Theyve been proven to be completely ineffective.

I agree. I’m not saying the opposite. But everything isn’t always studied, and people throw something out the window if there “isn’t a study”

The other option is to nose breath while riding (inhale and exhale). After you can do that for threshold efforts, try a device, but until you can, i wouldnt spend money on a device when your nose is all the challenge you need.

I would say context is huge when evaluating both peer reviewed studies and personal endorsements. There are riders I know who take a measured and analytical approach to everything they try, have no affiliations to any company or product, and whose opinions I therefore place quite a lot of weight on, especially as their advice always comes with appropriate caveats. I know other people who take a much more haphazard approach to their cycling and I’m honestly not sure they know themselves what makes them faster or slower. And people who work for or are sponsored by a brand or company that they will always recommend (and will then shamelessly switch to recommending different products when they change sponsor or job!). Obviously place little or no weight on advice from the latter 2 types of people.

Similar with studies. A lot of them have a small sample size, nearly all of them only look at a fairly short timeframe and many also have subjects that don’t bear much resemblance to me in terms of age or training history. Doesn’t mean I ignore them completely but I look at that detail and decide for myself how much weight to put on their findings as they apply to me and whether something is worth me giving my time and/or money to try out.

FWIW I’ve always found @brendanhousler to offer pretty sound advice on this forum. For somebody who makes his money from coaching and presumably has a number of product sponsorships/affiliations I think this is the closest I’ve ever seen him come to recommending something that could benefit him in any way and even so he declared his Airofit sponsorship before doing so!

It doesn’t seem like expensive devices are necessary for this kind of training, should be really easy to replicate with either existing belly breathing exercises or pushing air into something you have lying around. I think they talked about this on AACC, but some musical instruments probably replicate this. (Reading as fast as you can out loud for 10-15 minutes probably gets the job done too, easy to track progress by word count if you use the same text)

was definitely just trying to share my experience as a fellow athlete in the forum and not shill the product. hey, it’s better for me if people don’t use it, i rather win than make $0.02 from someone buying it! (thx for the nice words about the advice, cheers)