Is it possible to train the respiratory muscles?

In general, it seems that exercise does not have any significant on static lung volumes in marathon runners or rowers. However, one group of athletes’ which display significant respiratory muscle control are swimmers. Elite level swimmers have a greater total lung capacity and lower resting heart rate during breath holding. Non-elite level athletes cannot increase lung volumes while lowering heart rate!

Respiratory muscle training therefore may be an effective way to control heart rate and enhance total lung capacity during exercise. We will show you how to specifically training the deep respiratory muscles in a future post.

Bjurstrom et al. (1987)