Postural and respiratory training techniques to optimize performance

When it comes to training and maximizing our sports brands we overlook such key aspects as specific postural and respiratory training. However, spending ten minutes on breathing exercises and postural attitude can have positive consequences on physical-sport performance, explains Tamara Rial, Director of R & D at the International Hypopressive & Physical Therapy Institute and co-founder and developer of the methodology Low Pressure Fitness .
Rial gives us the essential reasons why any athlete should include in his postural and respiratory fitness recovery routines such as Low Pressure Fitness (LPF) and affirms that “it is a very focused training system for the reeducation of posture and respiratory work “. The most differentiating and innovative is the type of breathing pattern that is executed, since it is a paradoxical and unusual breathing .

“During his practice,” Rial adds, “the inspiratory muscles of the rib cage must be contracted while the lungs are in expiratory apnea (low lung volume). This fact has two main effects: that of the decrease in intra-pelvic pressure, and that of the effects of the so-called ” diving response”.

Thus, on the one hand we have:

A postural training that will produce stretching of the muscular tensions of the spine and pelvis.
A respiratory training and possible hypoxia that will produce short- and long-term adaptations in the cardiovascular system.

Tamara Rial says that training the respiratory muscles is much more important than we could imagine. They are increasingly used in the field of physical exercise and sport, specific training of this muscle to improve aerobic capacity and improved sports performance, especially in endurance sports.

Various researches have shown how proper planning of the respiratory muscles can increase their strength, endurance and thus improve efficiency during physical exertion. Respiratory muscle training can provide the following benefits:

Decreased heart rate in effort
Reduction of maximum respiratory effort for each breath
Deeper breathing
Greater post-effort recovery
Improve the perception of effort
Strengthens respiratory muscles
Improved respiratory efficiency
Improved performance and fitness
The specialist reminds us “that fatigue of the respiratory muscles leads to a mechanical and respiratory limitation, especially in activities that demand a great resistance aerobic and long-lasting as a marathon or long distance races.” The oxygen debt that occurs with prolonged physical exercise affects the large muscle groups as well as the muscles of respiration, which triple their effort by increasing the ventilatory frequency.

The Low Pressure Fitness specialist explains that, regarding sports performance, the hypoxic respiratory pattern is of special interest. It is an expiratory apnea breath that manifests the same changes as those observed in professional apneists.

Some authors think that training in low volume apnea, ie without air in the lungs, may be an alternative to typical hyperbaric or hypoxic training. So far to train under conditions of hypoxia athletes should move to areas of higher altitude, training in hyperbaric chambers, etc. This entails many expenses for little durability of the effects. That’s why sports coaches are testing alternatives in apnea to look for this hypoxia effect.

The exercise is performed in low volume apnea and intermittent apneas are maintained throughout the session. This leads to an arterial oxygen desaturation, a decrease in heart rate and an increase in peripheral vasoconstriction. It is what is known as mammal reflex or dive response. A new line of training is opened for those who wish to increase their aerobic and anaerobic performance by testing the most accessible apnea training on the market.


Tamara Rial affirms that “the systematic repetition of some sports gestures (posture in the bicycle, race, swimming, beating, jumping …) creates muscular imbalances and is one of the most important factors in the development of sports injuries”.

Therefore, recovery sessions and muscle balance are a fundamental part of sports planning by helping both in injury prevention and sports management. A fundamental part of injury prevention programs is the performance of spinal stabilization exercises and the body’s central muscles.

Incorporating these types of exercises into training is simple. It can be done at the end of the session during the return to calm or if it is preferred as an independent recovery session of 30 minutes during the week.

Ideally, always look for reference professionals who can adapt the exercise to your particular physical and sports needs, recommends the Low Pressure Fitness specialist.