Please have a look at the article on Breathing to get more of an idea about uses for the POWERbreathe.
POWERbreathe build Inspiratory Muscle Trainer's which have been scientifically proven to improve inspiratory muscle strength and endurance.
The muscles we use to breathe with will get training when exercising, but giving them specific loading training isn't something that is on a lot of people's agenda. However, it should be!
This article is the first of a few based around the latest addition to the excellent POWERbreathe range, the K5.
This will article a review of the K5, an unboxing process and my first session with then product.
Over the next few weeks I will be updating with my progress on my POWERbreathe training. Hopefully we will be seeing some improvement in my training and I will try and give you real world applications. By real world I mean my running!
There will also be an article introducing the other POWERbreathe products and how they might be suitable.
By training with a POWERbreathe it should:
• Improve Technique
• Reduce the metaboreflex (as the body gets tired, the lungs take all the blood destined for other parts of body, so you have to slow down. It is like a safety mechanism your body has to make sure you are always breathing!)
• Increase the ability of the lungs to remove CO2 from the body
The POWERbreathe K5
The K5 is the top of the line POWERbreathe unit, it ships with Breathe-Link software and it really is the ultimate in breathing training technology.
The K5 is very nicely presented in the a great orange and black colours the official IRONMAN colourway. Everything is neatly packaged in bed in its own compartment
In the box:
• K5 POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Trainer
• Mouth Piece
• USB Charging Cable
• USB Power Adaptor
• Soft Case
• Instruction manual
• Breathe-Link Software CD
• Cleansing Tablets Trial Pack
• Nose Clip
K5 POWERbreathe Unit
Large LCD Screen, an LED charging light rests between the two buttons
At the top of the back of the K5 is the Valve Head, this is where air flows in. The Charge Socket is underneath the K5.
The unit itself fits comfortably in one hand, and has an impressive build quality to it. The unique aspect of the K5 series is that it is an auto-optimising IMT device. With the original POWERbreathe series you had to set your own training level each workout. However, the K series uses a computer to work out your training settings depending on your first few breathes of the session. The great thing with this is that your training will be specific to the day.
The mouth piece is a plastic mouthpiece that fits onto the trainer to enable you to use it comfortably.
The K5 Ships with a nice stand so you can leave the K5 on there when charging or just to display it proudly on your desk.
There is also a nose clip in the pack, as some people find it easier to do the breathing training with the clip. However, I find it uncomfortable to use, but it is up to and it is nice that the option is there.
The K5 uses mini USB to connect to the computer and also charge. They also ship a power adaptor so you can charge your K5 unit up via the mains
There is a soft carry case you can put the POWERbreathe in to carry it around. The unit is strong enough that you shouldn't need anything more than the soft case. There is room in the bag for the unit, mouthpiece and the USB cable.
Instruction manual -- a detailed manual to help you get the best out of the K5
Cleansing Tablets Trial Pack -- A trial pack of the cleansing tablets is included to help cleaning the unit after use
Breathe Link Software -- The best part of the K5 is the Breathe Link software that comes included. More below.
The first thing you will want to do with the K5 is charge the unit, either bly pugging it into your computer or via the mains adaptor. The K5 will take unto 16 hours to charge and it will give you approximately 60 minutes of training. Whilst this doesn't sound that good, each session will last a maximum of 10 minutes, so that is 6 sessions on one charge. If you are using the Breathe-Link software, the unit will be plunged into the computer, and it will be charging as you train.
Once you have the K5 charging, or charged, you have to put the mouth piece on and you are ready to train.
There are two methods of training; the first is just training using the unit, the second is using the Breathe Link software to train with. I will explain both methods below.
Each Training session takes 30 breaths. The breathing cycles a quick and deep inhale, followed by a slow and deep exhale. The breathe cycle should take 4.5 seconds or more. The inhalation is the portion of the breath which training occurs. You must try and straighten your back and expand your chest as you breathe in. It certainly takes a few training sessions to get used to this process.
The first process you will do when you turn the unit on is to set up your profile up, this includes; units of measurement, age, weight height and gender. This information is used to help estimate your predicted inspiratory muscle strength.
The principle behind POWERbreathe is that it creates resistance to inhilation, and each session should be so that you can only just complete the full session of 30 breathes. To achieve this you need have the correct training load set. The K series allows you to set an automatic or manual method. The manual mode, as you can guess, means you set the training load, great if you know what setting you are looking for. Automatic mode is one of the key selling points to the K5, it wil estiame your load requirements at the beginning of reach training session. You can adjust the training intensity for automatic set up. I would try a week out on 'light' training mode, and if it is too easy then you can increase the mode. There are 5 intensities to choose from.
In unit only mode, the device has a pacing guidance mode. This can be turned on or off depending on your preference.
A Training Session
To start a training session, turn the K5 on. You will then be presented with the menu
Navigate using 'Right arrow' button, confirm your selection using the 'power' button
Select Start from the main menu, and you will get the following graphic on the screen
The number of breathes remaining is shown in the middle of the unit
After you have trained you will want to see the all important results. There are four pieces of data you can get from the results section;
Load - This is a measure of the resistance to inhalation. Imagine it as the weight you have bench pressed. It is measured in cmH2O. The load shown is the highest load achieved during your session.
Power - This is a measure of muscle performance. It combines strength and speed of movement.
Volume - This measure indicates the average amount of air inhaled per breath during a training session. The deeper you inhale, the higher the value, show in litres.
Energy - This is a measure of the mechanical work of breathing during your breathing training session. The higher the value, the longer and harder you have worked the inspiratory muscles.
The K5 has a number of different modes you can use as well as the training mode
Test - A quick test to assess your respiratory muscle performance. It is a one breath test and gives you three pieces of data
S-Index - measure of your inspiratory muscle strength
Flow - measurement of the maximum rate at which you can inhale air into your lungs
Volume - measure of the amount of air inhaled during the test breath.
Warm - This is a warm up mode designed warm up the breathing muscles, which are often neglected during a warm up phase. The session consists of 30 breaths at approximately 80% of normal training intensity.
Cool - A Cool down mode designed to reduce lactic acid and aid recovery. It is a 60 breath session at a very low level load.
Custom - Custom is the mode you need to go to if you want to access a custom training session created on the Breathe-Link software.
I enjoy training on the K5 unit, it is very simple to do, especially with automatic loading. I am looking forward to trying the Warm up and Cool down modes in the next few weeks before key session and maybe even a race.
The K5 unit comes into its own when you connect it to the Breathe-Link Software and that is the process I will look at now.
This custom software has been designed to get the most out of the POWERbreathe unit and it really is fantastic. The software only works on Windows, and there are no plans to make it mac osx compatible in the future. As a massive Apple fanboy this news was obviously very disappointing but with all the emulator software available for the mac it is very easy to run a virtual version of Windows on your mac so this shouldn't be seen as a stumbling block. I have installed the software on my macbook air 11" using VMWare Fusion 4 with a copy of Windows 7. I have had no problems with connecting the POWERbreathe K5 or using the software.
Put the CD in to install the software, and connect your POWERbreathe K5 via the supplied mini USB cable.
Once installed you will have to select the user
By default there is a "Sample Test" user, pressing 'New User' brings up a short form to fill in.
Once your vital statistics are added, you will be taken back into the login screen and able to select your new user
It is possible to add a number of users on the Breathe-Link software. You can really see how this software would be fantastic for a sports team. Each player could have his/her own profile and their own valve head. Only one POWERbreathe unit is needed and you can furnish a lot of people. One issue is that the Users are organised by date created, not alphabetically.
The Tabs across the top take you to different sections of the software. Top right you can see the User selected, and next to it is the option to Disconnect the K5 unit.
Selecting the Train Tab brings up the training part of the Breathe-Link software, as you would expect. There are two views, a basic and pro view.
Basic view is my preferred choice of view at the moment, it shows me everything that I need during the session and I haven't learnt enough about the Pro view yet to use it to its full capability. What it does offer is a huge range of options and fully customisable. I will look into the views in more detail during a future post. For each view the top row is the same.
When you have finished the workout, the software will present you with the following screen, from which you can save the training, or not if you so choose. You also get the chance to rate the workout via a selection of 'Smily' faces, there are 5 to choose from; ranging from Very Happy to Very Unhappy!
The Breathe-Link software allows you to perform a test. Once selected, the following screen will display. One difference between this testing mode and that when just using K5 unit is you can do more than one breath, in fact you can do unto 30 if you would like. After you have done a Test, the Test mode will show you your PB if you want, so it is possible to compare the session to your PB and try and beat it!
A great part of the Breathe-Link software is that you can really see your results, and get to know exactly what you have done during the session. Go to Review and you will see your results. As I do more training and testing I will get more screen shots for future articles.
This is a breakdown of a single session, it is also possible to see full training history and your test history.
Customise is the mode you go to if you want to create your own training session, and then send it to your K5. There are a lot of options here, from the number of Breaths (10 - 60) and you just have to drag each Breath up or down to increase the Load. To upload to your device, just press UPLOAD button. There is no confirmation or anything but the session will be sent to your unit.
The POWERbreathe should be regularly cleaned, and you can even rinse the valve head. To remove it, just slide it off.
That is the POWERbreathe K5 and Breathe-Link software. It feels and looks like a great unit and I cannot wait to test it over the coming weeks. So, please stop by as I update the blog and let you know how the training is going and also if it has made any difference.