Professor Reveals Elite Athletes’ Secret Training Weapon

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How breathing muscle training improves performance and reduces injury

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The need for breathing to be considered as an integral part of functional movements is not widely understood. I want to plug this knowledge gap.

Breathing muscle training has helped elite athletes to gain a competitive edge for years, and now professor and Powerbreathe inventor Alison McConnell makes this well-kept training secret available to everyone in her book "Breathe Strong, Perform Better" (Human Kinetics, 2011). “The need for breathing to be considered as an integral part of functional movements is not widely understood,” McConnell says. “I want to plug this knowledge gap by giving people access to information that is normally the preserve of scientists, professional coaches, and elite athletes.”

Breathing muscle training can be used to maximize muscular strength, power, and endurance as well as reduce effort during exercise and increase breathing efficiency. According to McConnell, breathing training can also improve functional training, which has become popular for both rehabilitation and conditioning.

“The application of functional training techniques to a wide range of settings has become mainstream, but it lacks a vital component,” McConnell explains. “The missing link in functional training is the integration of breathing and the contribution of breathing muscles to functional movements.”

Functional breathing training not only enhances performance but also reduces the risk of injury by enabling the breathing muscles to accommodate their role in stabilizing the body’s core more effectively.

“Training your breathing muscles can make any physical challenge feel easier,” McConnell says. “So whether you’re participating in a 40K cycling time trial, an interval training session, or a step class, training your breathing muscles will help you breathe easier.”

"Breathe Strong, Perform Better" explains the physiology of breathing and the concepts underlying breathing training and presents more than 30 workouts for specific sports and fitness activities. For more information on "Breathe Strong, Perform Better" or other health and fitness resources, visit or call 800-747-4457.

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