19th December 2012
Could a simple strategically placed belt improve your race performances? The Respibelt was used by Mo Farah in his build up to the Olympics and this alone should be enough to make endurance athletes everywhere sit-up and take note.
You are probably familiar with a product called Powerbreathe which has been around for a few years now and is designed to train your respiratory, or more precisely your inspiratory, muscles basically by making it harder to breathe in.
There are some big claims afforded to it and no doubt it does have an effect, but one of the weaknesses of that product is that it is designed to be clasped in the mouth or handheld. Whilst you could possibly employ it on the turbo trainer, its certainly not practical whilst riding around on the bike, and so you must train your inspiratory muscles in isolation from your other training.
There is another product called the Elevation Training Mask, which resembles one of those anti-pollution masks which were all the rage with commuters a few years ago, but again you might use it on the turbo or even a very cold winter’s day, but we can’t imagine wanting to ride around in one on a regular basis.
Luckily the innovative team at Progressive Sports Technologies, a company based at Loughborough University’s Sports Technology Institute, realised that was a major issue and have come up with a simple yet novel solution – the Respibelt.
It is basically an elasticated belt that fits around the base of the chest to provide resistance to the breathing muscles without restricting the ribcage. As with the Powerbreathe, by working the inspiratory muscles you can improve breathing efficiency, meaning more oxygen can reach your exercising muscles leading to performance gains.
The advantage of the Respibelt over other respiration trainers is that you can wear it whilst out training and the belt can be adjusted to alter the resistance depending on the duration of the session you are doing.
It all sounds very simple and it is. If it works for runners like Mo Farah you can be sure that it would be applicable to cyclists.
The belt is being manufactured and sold by OPRO360 in the UK and costs £59.99
Here’s a running biased video which nonetheless offers a good explanation of the belt’s benefits.