Breathing trainers are respiratory-enhancing products or Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) systems that boost your lung capacity for optimal stamina, strength and performance.
Some people use breathing trainers to improve their overall health and reduce breathing problems such as shortness of breath or breathlessness. Others use breathing trainers to improve their athleticism or swimming ability. Even singers, athletes, pilots, and people with certain respiratory diseases may also use breathing exercises to train and strengthen lung muscles.
In 2023, now there are even some who are using breathing trainers to reduce the risk of the COVID-19 coronavirus. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. Some suggest that by boosting the health of your lungs, you reduce your risk of serious coronavirus symptoms. We advise against using breathing trainers for this purpose. As of right now, no supplement or alternative medical technology is scientifically proven to prevent or minimize the spread of COVID-19.
The best way to prevent illness during the COVID-19 epidemic is to regular wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and practice consistent social distancing. While hand sanitizers, face masks, ionizers, UV lights and even EMF blockers have peaked in popularity in light of the pandemic; many are exploring all possible ways to naturally boost not only immunity, but lung health capacity and these breathing exercisers are also catching the attention of those looking to improve respiratory fitness and muscle function.
Today, we’re highlighting some of the best breathing trainers and lung muscle respiratory exercisers available today, including information concerning the different devices, trainers, and technologies that consumers can use to improve their lung strength and efficiency. This guide will consolidate research on our top picks for lung trainers in 2023, as well as a frequently asked questions section about the technology.
Top 11 Best Lung Breathing Training Exercisers of 2023
As usual, these rankings are by no means objective. The products on this list include Advanced Living's top picks for lung trainers. But our priorities and preferences might not align with your own. For optimal use, consider this section to be a jumping-off point for your own individualized research. These picks are in no particular order.
The patented AirPhysio device is designed to help consumers improve their breathing with OPEP (Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure). With over 250,000 happy customers already using the device, it is meant to help consumers to improve lung clarity. That means it can positively impact wheezing, insomnia, sore throats, congestion, phlegmy coughs, or respiratory infections.
The mechanism of AirPhysio works similarly to an inhaler. All the user has to do is slowly inhale, though their exhalation should go through AirPhysio. The frequency of use will depend on the user’s needs, but most people end up performing the treatment several times a day to get the effects that they hope for. Drastic improvements happen relatively fast, and it is safe enough for children as young as 4 years old if they can follow instructions.
AirPhysio is a drug-free handheld device that clears airways, improves lung health, and boosts breathing. The device claims to reduce symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, COPD, emphysema, and many other respiratory conditions. It’s not just a breathing training system: it’s a device to relieve symptoms of certain medical conditions.
You use AirPhysio for up to 5 minutes once or twice per day. You breathe into the device, and AirPhysio exercises and detoxes your lungs. It also loosens mucus from your airway walls, helping push mucus up and out of the body.
The only way to get this device is to go through the official website, which offers up to 5 AirPhysio devices in a single package, though users can also get a single AirPhysio if that’s all they need. By ordering as many as possible, users drastically drop the price from $59.99 to $35.99 each, and there’s nothing else the user needs to make it work. While the website offers a 30-day return policy, users can also take advantage of the one-year warranty for any defects that might inhibit results.
Whether using AirPhysio on the recommendation of a doctor or just boosting your breathing, this made-in-Australia device is a popular option.
AirPhysio for Kids is fairly similar to the AirPhysio device it is based on, but it is only meant to be used by children (unlike the original model that can be used by kids and adults alike). Using this device isn’t painful, unsafe, or even scary, which means that consumers can gently encourage their children to safely use it in their routine. This medical-grade device is meant to help with many respiratory conditions in children, like asthma, COPD, atelectasis, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, pneumonia, and other problems. However, there are no side effects, and the device can last for years with the same performance.
The original device can work for consumers as young as 4 years old, but the model isn’t made to fit the smaller jawline of children. It is designed to work for children from ages 4 to 15, though they will need instruction and supervision from their parents to ensure that it works best for them. As a further safety measure, there’s a child-resistant cap that only adults can manage to open.
Buying AirPhysio for Kids can only be done on the official website, though the pricing is the same as the original device. Users will have to cover the cost of shipping and handling for each one. Since users are not supposed to share the devices, it is important to buy an AirPhysio for each child that might use it. If the device doesn’t help the child in their breathing, it can be returned within 30 days to get a full refund.
The Breather is a hand-held inspiratory expiratory muscle trainer designed for respiratory therapy. The manufacturer describes it as “the ultimate device for respiratory care.” The Breather helps consumers to strengthen their breathing for better airflow, deeper breaths, and improved quality of life. According to many studies, engaging in RMT (Respiratory Muscle Training) is incredibly helpful in improving the muscles that impact breathing. Most users start to experience improved quality of life within 2-4 weeks of maintaining their use of the Breather. It is so easy and helpful to use that it can be used by kids as young as 8 years old with positive results.
When using this device, customers only need to train their respiratory muscles for 5-10 minutes a day. While sitting upright, users place the mouthpiece between their lips. Then, they just need to breathe in and out, using their diaphragm. While some people might cough while using the Breather, it’s a good sign. The coughing actually helps consumers to release some of the phlegm that could reduce their breathing abilities. This phlegm should be released instead of being swallowed, and it won’t halt the ability to use the Breather. With over 1.5 million customers around the world,
The Breather is more expensive than most other breathing trainers listed here. However, it also has multiple difficulty options, letting you customize the system however you like. And, unlike certain breathing masks, the device is lightweight and portable.
The Breather was created by PN Medical. The company offers online video training for therapists and patients using the device. It’s marketed as a drug-free respiratory therapy device for patients with COPD, CHF, and dysphagia. The company claims that continued use of the device has been shown to improve dyspnea, peak cough flow, laryngeal function, QOL, vent weaning, and speech and swallowing performance.
The only way to order The Breather is to go through the official website, but users can order up to 5 Breathers in one purchase to save significantly. At its lowest price, The Breather could cost less than $40 each, but users will need to order the largest package possible for savings. All orders come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, as well as a one-year warranty.
Hale Breathing Aid
The Hale Breathing Aid is used to open the user’s nostrils with a W-shaped device. This device doesn’t require any customized fitting, but it is meant to go directly into the nose to keep the airway open. Unlike other devices that might encourage users to exercise the muscles that control breathing, this device just opens the nostrils for the user. Plus, some consumers use it with their CPAP device to amplify its effects of it.
Even though this device is stuffed up the user’s nostrils, they don’t have to worry that it will get stuck. The two sides are connected in the middle with a clear band, which also makes it easy to remove later. While it may feel obvious to other people that Hale is being worn, it is far enough into the nose that it can’t be seen.
On the official website, users can get 1, 2, or 3 Hale Breathing Kits. Users get the best deal when they order 3 kits, bringing down the cost to less than $30 per kit. The kits include three breathing aids (in small, medium, and large), a carrying case with a mirror, tools to insert and remove the breathing aids, and a microfiber cleaning cloth. The purchase comes with a money-back guarantee for the first 30 days, allowing users to get their money back if it doesn’t work for their needs.
Purifair helps consumers to get clean and clear air in any environment. Users don’t have to wear anything directly, giving them the freedom and comfort that they want. With this invisible barrier, consumers can take away the irritants that can make it harder to breathe. With the ability to eliminate pathogens, carcinogens, and allergens, users will breathe better wherever they go. Each device covers a space of 200 square feet, though they can increase the number of Purifair devices in larger spaces for coverage.
All the user needs to do is press a button. Users will need to keep Purifair plugged in to keep it working, using air ionization to clear contaminants. While this technology may seem like a new concept for some people, it has been used in hospitals and laboratories for decades to keep the area pure. Purification begins from the moment that the device is activated, taking a short time to eliminate the contaminants from the air around it.
The only way that consumers will be able to purchase the Purifair device is if they shop on the official website. The website includes a few packages, ranging from 1-5 devices each. Users save the most by ordering in bulk, but the total cost is no more than $49.99 at its highest. There’s a 30-day return policy for anyone who wants something different from their purification device.
LifeVac offers a quick way for anyone to remove an obstruction from their airway in a choking emergency. This patented device is highly effective, and it works for adults and children alike. The customer service team is dedicated to showing how effective this device is, which is why they ask that anyone who saves a victim’s life fill out a Saved Life Report, which will give them a free LifeVac as a complimentary gift.
To use LifeVac, place it over the mouth and nose of the person choking. When the user presses down the one-way valve, nothing gets pushed further, but pulling it back up will remove the food or other objects that they are choking on. The obstruction is removed in a few seconds without putting the user through the Heimlich maneuver, which is often improperly done. It can even be used when the customer is on their own, taking away the panic that comes with it. These devices are only meant for single use, so customers will need to throw out LifeVac once it has performed its purpose.
Purchasing LifeVac can only be done through the official website, which offers packages of 1-5 LifeVac home kits. With prices as low as $41.97 each, users will receive a suction device with practice masks for adults and children for the best fit. This product comes with a brief 10-day return policy for unopened packages.
Expand-A-Lung claims to be the #1 breathing fitness exerciser for athletes, respiratory care, and individuals with COPD. It’s also the system used by the Navy SEALS to improve lung capacity. The made-in-the-USA system provides all levels of resistance for inhaling and exhaling exercise.
Expand-A-Lung consists of a silicone mouthpiece that slides into your mouth. You breathe through that mouthpiece, adjusting the valve based on your preferences. The device claims to strengthen your lung muscles and improve endurance, increasing the volume of lung oxygen intake. The result is deeper, easier, and better breathing for better performance.
Overall, Expand-A-Lung markets itself as an effective, proven, and easy to use breathing training system that provides immediate benefits (opening up airways into your lungs that have been partially obstructed over the years) and long term benefits (improving respiratory muscle strength).
POWERbreathe is a series of breathing trainers used worldwide to improve lung strength and stamina while reducing breathlessness. The devices work by creating resistance as you breathe in, strengthening your breathing muscles by making them work harder – similar to how Expand-A-Lung works. POWERbreathe calls this inspiratory muscle training, or IMT, and claims it’s “like dumbbells for your diaphragm”.
POWERbreathe is available in three breathing levels. Unlike Expand-A-Lung, you cannot adjust difficulty on-the-go.
There are Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced devices. There are seven POWERbreathe devices in total, including the Classic, Plus, K1, K2, K3, K4, and K5. The Classic and Plus are entry level, mechanical devices. The K1 and K2 are entry level electronic devices. And the K3, K4, and K5 are advanced electronic devices.
Price: $45 to $700
Ultrabreathe looks similar to the devices listed above. You place your mouth on an anti-bacterial, medical-grade, PVC mouthpiece, then breathe as normal. The device resists your breath, strengthening your lungs over time. You can rotate the cap of the Ultrabreathe to adjust the difficulty.
Ultrabreathe claims to be the world’s number one selling respiratory trainer. The device is patented and has hundreds of thousands of users worldwide. It’s also manufactured in the United Kingdom and abides by all EU safety standards.
There’s only one Ultrabreathe, although it’s available in multiple colors (including white, red, orange/black, and metallic grey). You can also buy replacement mouthpieces online, or buy a variety pack with multiple colors.
TrainingMask VENT Filtration Breathing Trainer
TrainingMask’s VENT Filtration Breathing Trainer looks like an N95 mask or other protective mask. However, it’s a breathing trainer and carbon filter rolled into one. You can walk around a city protected while improving your lung strength.
TrainingMask’s VENT trainer uses active carbon filters that claim to filter 99.9% of contaminants. Your purchase comes with 10 filters in the box. The air passes through four one-way discharge valves, and a zero saturation filtration system keeps you breathing clean air.
VENT has three modes, including a pure carbon filter mode with no resistance. There’s also a breathing trainer mode with no filters or a breathing trainer mode with filters. Whether you want a filter mask, a breathing training mask, or both, VENT may be the right choice for you.
Airofit is a high-end breathing trainer priced at around $275. It’s marketed primarily to athletes seeking to boost performance. The manufacturer claims their device can boost performance by up to 8% within 8 weeks, and they’ve even performed studies proving that claim. All you have to do is train with the device for 5-10 minutes twice a day. You can improve lung strength in a few short weeks.
Airofit is trusted and endorsed by athletes, doctors, and even a former Navy SEAL. The Denmark-based company behind Airofit has also created an app-based training program tailored to your age, gender, size, and physical abilities.
Airfot is ideal for athletes who want more that just a basic resistance-based breathing device. It’s particularly popular among track cyclists and other competitive athletes, where even a small advantage can have a huge impact.
All of that technology comes with a higher price, however. The Airofit Breathing Trainer is priced at $275. Your purchase comes with an Airofit Carry Case and the Virtual Breathing Coach mobile app (available for iOS and Android).
Bas Rutten O2 Trainer
Dutch-American fighter and actor Bas Rutten has launched his own inspiratory muscle trainer called the O2 Trainer. Designed by Bas Rutten himself, the device claims to increase inspiratory (inhalation) muscle endurance. You place the device over your mouth, and it regulates your air intake while improving muscle oxygen efficiency during exercise.
As with most other breathing training devices here, the O2 Trainer is not designed for use during exercise. You spend four minutes using the device to strengthen your lungs and diaphragm. It’s a lightweight, portable unit that can be used anytime, anywhere to boost breathing.
PowerLung Trainer PLT-K100
The PowerLung Trainer PLT-K100 looks more like a garden hose attachment than a professional breathing trainer, although it’s an effective training system that could increase lung capacity and boost oxygen intake. The device is marketed to athletes who want to boost their training and exercise regimen. It’s also advertised to artists, singers, and musicians who want to improve lung capacity.
The PowerLung Trainer is straightforward to use. Place the end over your mouth, then twist the nozzle to increase or decrease difficulty. Like other devices listed here, you use it when at rest for several minutes per day to enhance lung capacity and strength.
Aduro Sport Adurance Breathing Exercise Device
Aduro Sport’s Adurance Breathing Exercise Device claims to expand and improve lung capacity without the need for tons of cardio. The adjustable resistance dial makes simple tasks tougher and workouts more intense. And, priced at just $25, Adurance is one of the most affordable options on our list.
Unlike most other breathing trainers listed here, Adurance is specifically recommended for use while exercising. Marketing images show people running with Adurance in their mouth, for example, using the device to improve respiratory power and supercharge breathing muscles. Whether using it at rest or during training, you can use Adurance to complete powerful breathing exercises.
BreatheEasy is a lung exerciser and expander that comes in a one size fits all design. You can use BreatheEasy to complete two exercises: one for exhaling (expiratory) and the other for inhaling (inspiratory). Find your resistance level, then repeat the process several times as needed, practicing once or twice per day to improve breathing.
BreatheEasy features a pure, silicone mouthpiece. You can clean the device repeatedly as needed. At $30, it’s also one of the most affordable breathing trainers on our list.
How We Ranked the Most Popular Lung Exercisers
All breathing trainers claim to boost lung capacity in various ways. We separated good and bad breathing trainers based on the following:
Scientific Evidence: The best breathing trainers are backed by plenty of scientific evidence. We preferred breathing trainers that had a proven ability to work in real-world settings.
Ease of Use: Swimming to the bottom of the ocean repeatedly might improve lung capacity, but it’s not realistic for most people. We preferred breathing trainers that were easy to use and easy to follow.
Safety: You need oxygen to breathe. We don’t want to recommend devices, systems, or exercises that are unsafe. We preferred breathing trainers with a proven history of safety and efficacy.
Advertised Health Claims: Some breathing trainers exaggerate their health claims, claiming to cure coronavirus or provide other unproven benefits. We preferred breathing trainers that were honest and factual with their health benefits.
Type of Breathing Trainer: Breathing trainers vary widely in terms of type. There are certain masks that act as breathing trainers, for example. Other breathing trainers are mouthpieces designed for use while exercising. We featured a range of breathing trainer types to accommodate different preferences.
Price & Value: Breathing trainers listed above range from $25 to $300. We featured a range of breathing trainers for all prices, although we emphasized good value across all systems.
Who Should Use Breathing Trainers?
Breathing trainers are used by a spectrum of people.
Many athletes use breathing trainers to increase their lung capacity, for example. Better lung capacity means more oxygen, and more oxygen means more fuel for your muscles. Lung capacity is beneficial in virtually any athletic activity.
Many swimmers use breathing trainers for similar reasons. Breathing trainers boost athletic ability, but they also make it easier to stay underwater during periods of intense athletic activity – like a swim race.
Divers, water polo players, and other watersport athletes may also use breathing trainers for similar reasons. You can boost athletic performance and lung capacity at the same time.
You don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from a breathing trainer. Some people simply want to run faster or improve gym performance.
Others use breathing trainers to feel healthier. If you frequently feel out of breath after exercise, for example, then you may use a breathing trainer to boost lung capacity.
With that in mind, some just want to use breathing trainers to improve stamina. If you have poor endurance, then a breathing trainer may help you stay active for longer.
Or, some people have trouble breathing naturally. You may struggle to breathe normally while in a smoggy city, for example, or at high altitudes.
A smoker (or former smoker) may use a breathing trainer to recover lost lung capacity. Smoking decreases lung capacity and can impair breathing. A breathing trainer may be able to help.
Or, someone with asthma, emphysema, or other breathing issues may have impaired lung capacity. With the advice of a doctor, a breathing trainer may improve certain symptoms.
Some breathing trainer advocates also recommend using them to fight respiratory diseases. Respiratory diseases attack the lungs, and unhealthy bodies may be more susceptible to the serious side effects of these diseases. Some use breathing trainers to prepare their bodies for breathing difficulties.
Many singers, artists, and musicians use breathing trainers. Better lung capacity can improve musical performance whether singing or playing certain instruments. Acapella singers, rappers, opera singers, and others can particularly benefit from breathing trainers.
Some pilots also use breathing trainers. Pilots can improve lung capacity with a breathing trainer, making it easier to fly at high altitudes or experience strong G-forces without passing out.
Most breathing trainers are designed for beginner, intermediate, and expert users. You slide the resistance knob up or down based on your desired intensity. It’s a one size fits all design suited for people with breathing conditions, weekend warriors, and professional endurance athletes.
Most breathing trainer manufacturers recommend using the device at rest. However, many people use the device while exercising for maximum effectiveness. You might want to run with it in your mouth, for example. However, this should only be done by trained athletes or anyone under supervision of a medical professional.
In 2023, we’ve seen a surge in breathing trainer activity. A growing number of people are using breathing trainers to protect themselves from the Covid-19 coronavirus. Although there’s limited evidence suggesting breathing trainers can specifically reduce your risk of coronavirus, that hasn’t stopped people from buying breathing trainers in record numbers.
Whether improving athletic performance or boosting lung capacity, there are plenty of good reasons to buy a breathing trainer.
How Do Breathing Trainers Work?
Most breathing trainers work by increasing the difficulty of inhaling and exhaling. By increasing the difficulty, it forces your lungs to work harder, strengthening your lung muscles, diaphragm, and rib cage muscles over time.
Just like lifting weights forces your muscles to work harder, breathing trainers force your lungs to work harder. When used repeatedly over time, you can strengthen your muscles, boost lung capacity, and enjoy better breathing.
Many people find that breathing trainers even tone their abs!
Breathing trainers are based on two exercises, including exhaling (expiratory) and inhaling (inspiratory). You place the device over your mouth, then breath, experiencing resistance.
Most breathing trainers have adjustable resistance. You find the resistance level where your exhale finishes at the same time as you get the impulse to inhale. Repeat several times and rest in between.
Most of the breathing trainers above are backed by science. Some of the higher-quality products have completed their own scientific testing. This testing has shown athletic improvements as high as 8% when used over an 8-week period. That may not sound like much, but in professional athletes and competitive sports, it can give a significant edge.
How can you tell if your breathing trainer is working as advertised? Consider buying a sensor that measures peak flow (PEF) and forced expiratory volume (FEV1). These devices are mostly built for those with respiratory issues, but they can also be used to measure anyone’s lung capacity and strength.
Free Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) Breathing Exercises
Breathing trainers don’t have to be products or services. Instead, you can find plenty of great, free breathing exercises online.
Better yet, many people combine free breathing exercises with the products above. You can strengthen your lungs with a professional breathing trainer, then improve your lung capacity with free breathing exercises.
Here are some of the best-rated breathing exercises to improve lung capacity:
Some people are shallow chest breathers instead of deep stomach breathers. You may not even realize it. Then, when a stressful situation hits, a chest breather seems out of breath, while a stomach breather is able to get enough oxygen.
Practice belly breathing exercises to strengthen your muscles, getting you accustomed to breathing from your diaphragm instead of your chest.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach
- Take a deep breath, causing the hand on your stomach to rise
- Breathe out and feel your stomach relaxing
- Repeat for three counts of each
Pranayam Breathing Techniques
According to The Times of India, the first coronavirus patient in Delhi spent time doing Pranayam breathing strategies while undergoing treatment. He survived.
Pranayam is a type of yogic breathing that purportedly makes you happier and healthier. Some claim Pranayam soothes anxiety. Others claim it reduces respiratory issues, digestive disorders, lung-related problems, or even heart issues.
The best way to practice Pranayam breathing techniques is by contacting a certified yoga instructor. However, some basic Pranayam breathing techniques to use at home include:
Kapalbhati Pranayam: Sit with a straight spine and empty all the air from your lungs. Take a short breath using both nostrils and exhale sharply as you pull your navel towards your spine. Make your exhalation short and quick.
Anuloma Vilom: Alternate nostril breathing. Using the right thumb, block the right nostril. Inhale through your left nostril for 2 seconds. Now, block both nostrils and hold the breath for 4 seconds. Keep the left nostril blocked and release the right nostril. Exhale through the right nostril for 2 seconds. Block both the nostrils and hold the breath for 4 seconds. Keep the right nostril blocked, then release the left nostril. Exhale for 2 seconds from the left nostril, then block both nostrils again. Hold the breath in suspension for 2 seconds to complete 1 round. Repeat for 10 rounds. If you have hypertension or heart issues, you should avoid this breathing strategy.
Breathing Retention: Inhale a deep breath and hold for as long as you can. This boosts oxygen supply and absorption. Again, if you have hypertension or heart issues, you should avoid this breathing strategy.
More advanced Pranayam breathing techniques, like Suyra Bhedi (right-to-right nostril breathing) or Chandra Bhedi Pranayam (left-to-left breathing) can target specific issues, although they should be done under supervision of a practitioner.
Interval Training Circuits
Interval training can be extremely effective for your lungs. Look up interval training routines online, then pick one that works for you. Ideally, your interval training circuit will have a mix of strength training and cardiovascular exercises. Aim to perform four exercises for 30 seconds each, taking a 30-second break between every two. Possible interval training options for lung capacity include:
Jogging or Running: Jogging or running can increase your lung capacity and strengthen your lungs. Don’t feel like leaving the house? Stuck in quarantine? Run in place by kicking your knees up to your glutes, moving briskly on the spot.
Jumping Jacks: Jump with your arms and legs out wide. Keep your core engaged throughout the exercise. When done correctly, jumping jacks can be an effective type of cardio and strengthen lung capacity.
Jump Squat: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Stand up and jump off the ground, then lower yourself to the same position.
Scientific Evidence for Breathing Trainers
Evidence tells us breathing trainers work. Many studies have shown that breathing trainers can improve lung capacity, boost strength, raise endurance, and reduce symptoms of certain respiratory conditions.
However, breathing trainers are somewhat controversial. Some studies have found no benefit from using breathing trainers compared to a placebo, for example.
This Australian study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2014 divided young recreational male soccer players into three groups. One group used the POWERbreathe breathing trainer twice a day (30 breaths at a time). The second group used a disabled POWERbreathe breathing trainer. A third group used no device. The first two groups completed pre-season soccer training. After six weeks, the active device group had an improvement in distance running, although there were no improvements in other fitness-related measurements.
Similarly, this Russian study published in Body Metabolism and Exercise in 2015 analyzed the effect of breathing trainers on young fit men cycling to exhaustion with or without the POWERbreathe system. Researchers found that exercise performance improved after using the device and that respiratory muscle fatigue was delayed.
Denmark-based Airofit published a paper in February 2020 reviewing available evidence for breathing trainers. The paper cites 13 studies published between 1956 and 1988 linking breathing trainers to various benefits. After reviewing available evidence, including human clinical trials, the author concluded that breathing training significantly improved strength, endurance, athletic performance, and lung capacity in multiple studies – especially when using the device for eight weeks.
There’s evidence that breathing trainers can alleviate symptoms of certain medical conditions.
Respiratory muscle training (RMT), for example, was found to significantly improve symptoms in patients with COPD, for example. After using a breathing training system, patients experienced significant improvements in dyspnea and breathlessness, fatigue, and health-related quality of life. Similar COPD benefits were observed in this study published in Respiratory Medicine in 2007.
Other studies have shown that breathing trainers could benefit asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, dysphagia, vocal fold pathologies, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, cerebral vascular accident, congestive heart failure, muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, weaning off mechanical ventilation, spinal cord injury, hypertension, and back pain, among other issues.
Other studies, however, have found little difference between people who use and don’t use breathing trainers. This study published in 2011, for example, found that breathing trainers improved respiratory strength, although this did not lead to significant improvements in 2000m rowing performance.
Overall, certain studies have shown breathing trainers work as advertised. However, these studies are generally small and led by breathing trainer manufacturers. However, there’s some evidence showing medical breathing trainers can alleviate certain conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Breathing Trainers
Breathing trainers are a relatively new technology available to average consumers. As such, many users might have trouble finding scientific and accurate information on the effectiveness and nature of these devices. This section should keep readers informed by answering some of the most commonly asked questions about breathing trainers.
Q: What are breathing trainers?
A: Breathing trainers are systems or devices that might improve your lung capacity or strength. Most breathing trainers are mouthpieces that increase the difficulty of breathing, forcing your lungs to work harder. The strain of this harder work helps to strengthen the lungs, functioning much like traditional weight resistance training does.
Q: When should you use breathing trainers?
A: Most manufacturers recommend using breathing trainers when at rest, like while you're watching TV or sitting at the computer. However, some consumers also use breathing trainers when working out, as this has been known to potentially increase the effectiveness of these devices in strengthening the lungs.
Q: How long should you use a breathing trainer?
A: Most breathing trainer manufacturers recommend 2 five-minute sessions per day. However, some may increase to 2 x 10 minute sessions per day for optimal training. Generally, your usage should be heavily dependent on your own health, expectations, and needs.
Q: Can you clean a breathing trainer?
A: Most breathing trainers have silicone mouthpieces that can easily be cleaned. However, some breathing trainers come with reusable or replaceable mouthpieces. The answer to this question depends on the product being used.
Q: How do you clean a breathing trainer?
A: Check your product’s instructions for more information. Generally, you remove the mouthpiece, then wash it with warm water and soap. Some manufacturers have their own cleaning tablets. POWERbreathe sells POWERbreathe Cleansing Tablets, for example.
Q: Can breathing trainers be cleaned in a dishwasher or microwave?
A: Most breathing trainers cannot be placed in the dishwasher or microwave. However, check instructions before use, as some products might be cleaned this way.
Q: How do you hold the trainer during use?
A: Stand or sit up straight. Hold the trainer with your hand, then place it in your mouth. Make sure your lips cover the outer shield of the mouthpiece and form a seal. Look straight forward while breathing through the device, as looking down can cause drooling.
Q: Do breathing trainers increase VO2max?
A: It’s possible. Most breathing trainers do not technically increase VO2, although better inspiratory muscle training might improve blood flow to other working muscles (legs and arms), allowing you to exercise for longer without feeling fatigued or tired.
Q: Should you feel your center back muscles while using the breathing trainer?
A: Feeling back muscles during training is generally normal. Your lung muscles are being put to work.
Q: Should you feel your core muscles while using the breathing trainer?
A: Yes. Most people will feel pressure in their core muscles while using their breathing trainer. If you feel your core muscles, it means you’re breathing through your diaphragm with proper form while using the device. Otherwise, you might be using the device incorrectly.
Q: Should you use a breathing trainer every day?
A: Most manufacturers and experts recommend using your breathing trainer like you would use any workout device, using it as much as you feel comfortable while still taking occasional breaks. Many manufacturers recommend 4 or 5 uses per week, although most people can safely perform breathing exercises every day.
Q: Should you stop using a breathing trainer when you get dizzy?
A: You should immediately stop use if you get dizzy while using a breathing trainer. Lower the resistance and avoid pushing yourself too hard. Talk to a medical professional before use, as breathing trouble can be symptomatic of a serious breathing condition.
Q: Is a breathing trainer like altitude training?
A: Breathing trainers may achieve similar effects to altitude training, improving lung capacity. However, they work in different ways. When using a breathing trainer, you will always have enough oxygen. At high altitudes, there is just less oxygen in the air. Even when breathing deep, hard, and fast at high altitudes, you may not get your normal oxygen intake. This effect is difficult to imitate with a lung training device.
Q: When will you experience results with a breathing trainer?
A: Most studies show results within as little as 4 weeks, with significant improvements after 8 weeks. However, results will depend heavily on a number of individual factors, so users should manage their expectations.
Q: How do you know if a lung trainer is working?
A: You can buy a meter to test your respiratory measurements. Otherwise, you can measure your endurance or cardiovascular performance and compare it to previous limits.
Q: Which sports can benefit from breathing training?
A: Athletes in any sport may benefit from breathing training. Most published evidence on breathing trainers, however, involves endurance sports like cycling, running, rowing, and swimming. Generally, anything that requires you to breathe and move a lot can become easier if you use regular breathing training exercises and devices.
Q: Do breathing trainers make my lungs bigger?
A: No, breathing trainers do not make your lungs bigger, despite what some manufacturers claim. Research does not show an increase in lung size after using these devices. Lung size is controlled by anatomy, not training.
Q: Do breathing trainers help people with asthma?
A: Breathing trainers may help people with asthma improve symptoms. However, talk to a doctor before using a breathing trainer, and be sure to get their advice on the effectiveness of whichever products you're thinking about buying.
Q: When should you not use a breathing trainer?
A: Talk with your physician before using a breathing trainer. Even if you don't have any major breathing conditions, the advice and guidance of your physician is always an excellent choice.
Q: Why do you feel lightheaded when using a breathing trainer?
A: Most people feel lightheaded when new to breathing trainers. Your body needs to adjust to the increased exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. When you feel lightheaded during a session, pause for a few minutes and breathe normally. Stop using it if you feel dizzy. It may take 1-2 weeks of training for light-headedness to subside during use.
Q: Why would someone coughing while using a breathing trainer?
A: The breathing trainer might make you cough because you are working against the resistance while exhaling. Remove the trainer until you finish coughing. If coughing persists or becomes problematic, contact your physician for more information.
A: Most manufacturers advise against sharing breathing trainers. Sharing a trainer could contribute to the spread of phlegm, bacteria, and illnesses, which easily gather in the moist conditions of a breathing trainer mouthpiece while being used.
Q: How often should you replace my breathing trainer?
A: Most breathing trainers can safely be used for about 2 years with regular cleaning and normal use. However, the length of time before cleaning is necessary will often depend on the specific brand and manufacturer being used.
Q: Which medical conditions does the breathing trainer treat?
A: Breathing trainer studies have shown possible relief for COPD, asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, dysphagia, vocal fold pathologies, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, cerebral vascular accident, congestive heart failure, muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, weaning off mechanical ventilation, spinal cord injury, hypertension, and back pain, among other issues.
Breathing trainers are products, exercises, or systems that improve lung capacity. Today, many athletes use breathing trainers to boost lung ability. Some people also use lung exercisers to reduce the risk of respiratory illness, such as the COVID-19 virus, although the CDC maintains that these solutions fail to address the underlying realities of COVID-19.
No matter why you want to improve lung capacity, the breathing trainers listed above may help. Thanks for reading the research on the top lung muscle respiratory exercisers and the ranking reviews of the best breathing trainers of this year. As more solutions become available, Advanced Living will update our review on the top 11 best breathing trainers of 2023.