Journal of Trainology



April 2013; Vol. 2, No. 1: Pages 6-9

Is resistance exercise with controlled frequency breathing superior to training of the same program with normal breathing? – future challenges

Takashi Abe, Jeremy P. Loenneke, Kosuke Kojima, Hsuan-Yu Wan, Robert S. Thiebaud, Joel M. Stager


The specific internal environment in the body during exercise can influence the muscle hypertrophy and strength response. Unlike chronic hypoxic exposure, exercise training under intermittent hypoxia may lead to muscle hypertrophy with relatively low workloads. Objectives: The purpose of this brief review is to discuss how a hypoxic condition can be attained without providing ambient inspiratory hypoxic gases or inducing hypobaric hypoxia. Design and Methods: Evidence-based implications and future challenges. Results: Pulse oximetry is a simple method that measures percutaneous oxygen saturation (SpO2). Several studies reported that hypoxia is produced with increasing duration of apnea, especially in the last half of the breath-hold, with SpO2 reaching levels as low as 80%. Similarly, studies have reported changes in SpO2 during dynamic exercise at various workloads with controlled frequency breathing. Conclusions and future challenges: These results suggest a possibility that moderate- or high-intensity exercise combined with controlled frequency breathing may produce a low level of SpO2, which may be a model for muscle hypertrophy by moderate- or high-intensity exercise training with hypoxia. However, there are no published studies on the effects of resistance exercise with controlled frequency breathing on muscle size and function. Additionally, it is unclear the magnitude change in SpO2 during resistance exercise with a combination of different frequencies of breathing and various workloads. Furthermore, the safety of such a technique, particularly with respect to arterial pressures, is also unknown and should be investigated further.

Received March 11, 2013, accepted: April 12, 2013