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Olympic 10,000m medallists train with Loughborough’s breathing aid

07 August 2012

A breathing training device developed at Loughborough University has helped to prepare Britain’s Mo Farah and America’s Galen Rupp for the men’s 10,000m.

The innovative device fits around the lower chest and ribcage to provide a training load to the breathing muscles as the chest expands during breathing. The Nike Oregon Project Team of athletes including Farah and Rupp uses RespiBelt as part of the athletes' training preparations. The multi-national running team is directed by world-leading coach Alberto Salazar.

“RespiBelt acts like a dumbbell for the breathing muscles, loading them without restricting the ribcage. Improved breathing muscle efficiency means more oxygen reaches the exercising muscles leading to increased strength, power and endurance,” said Ross Weir, co-founder and innovation director at Progressive Sports Technologies, a spin-out company from Loughborough University Sports Technology Institute.  He continued: “Athletes can adjust the belt to vary the intensity; pulled tighter for a higher load brings strength and power gains while exercising at a lower load for longer benefits endurance events such as the 10,000 metres.”

The device has been developed over several years at Loughborough and tested with elite athletes including members of the British Triathlon team, based on the University campus. “The benefits of training the breathing muscles have been well researched and validated,” said Professor Mike Caine, co-founder of Progressive Sports Technologies.

He continued: “Building on the extensive research supporting the use of mouth-held inspiratory muscle training devices such as Powerbreathe (of which Caine is co-developer), we explored whether similar results could be achieved using RespiBelt. Results have been really encouraging and we are excited that athletes across a wide range of sports are starting to adopt the product."

“We’re delighted with the epic achievements of Mo Farah and Galen Rupp on Saturday; both produced a killer kick in the final crucial stages to secure their medals and it’s wonderful to know that our invention may have helped them to realise their Olympic dreams,” concluded Ross Weir.

RespiBelt is manufactured in the UK by OPRO 360 the sports equipment division of leading sports mouthguard and Queen's Award for Innovation recipient.

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