When it comes to training, your cardiorespiratory fitness is a major gatekeeper in relation to your performance. Think about it: if you can't catch your breath properly, how can you expect to complete your running route or power through a strength training session?
The clearest identifying factor to how efficiently you breathe mid-training is your maximal aerobic capacity (VO2 Max), which showcases your maximum attainable rate of oxygen consumption during physical exertion. But if you feel like each jog or lift leaves you gasping for air, how do you go about training for a better VO2 max?
Train the muscles you breathe with, of course.
Breath training is by no means a new practice, having served as a pivotal part of relaxation and mindfulness techniques for decades. Yet there are other, physical benefits to the discipline, including increased lung capacity and better circulation. All these relate back to strengthening the musculature surrounding your lungs...but unlike a bicep, understanding how to work these muscles is a little foggy. Sure, you could ramp up your training intensity again and again to create stress across your lungs, but this can leave you tired and exhausted in a hurry without zoning in on the target muscle area.
Thankfully, devices like the Airofit Pro 2.0 exist that offer precise training opportunities for your respiratory musculature without all the huffing and puffing. Serving as a resistance machine for your lungs, this petite accessory filters your air intake as you inhale and exhale, creating a load across your lungs that's more achievable and effective than aiming for a higher heart rate mid-training. The device connects to a companion app via Bluetooth to give you a clear visualization of your output as you breeze through each prescribed daily workout.
Before we dive into the effectiveness and practice of training with the Airofit Pro 2.0, it can be helpful to understand why breath training with a device can be vital to your fitness journey, and which athletes in particular should consider adopting the discipline as part of their normal routine.
Why Train With a Breath Trainer?
The main benefit to working your lung capacity and VO2 max with a breath training device is the precision and specificity the tool brings to your routine. "If you are training super high intensity and breathing at maximum inhalation and exhalation, you're going to get that overload," says Airofit Partnership Manager Mike Bennet. "But then, you need to be in that zone there so your heart rate is up around 180, 190, and I don't know who wants to do that every day, day in and day out."
Using devices like the Airofit Pro 2.0 allow you, instead, to save your joints and energy levels by focusing on just breathing against resistance. You don't need to sign up for lengthy cardio sessions or embark on a day-long training regimen; just a few minutes from the comfort of your couch can be enough to spark progress in terms of your capabilities. "We like to think it's like a dumbbell for your diaphragm meaning that it's super fixated on the musculature," says Bennet.
Who Can Benefit from Breath Training?
Naturally, the athletes that can benefit most from heightened breath training are those that employ their lungs the most during exercise. Endurance athletes, runners and cyclists rely on their lung capacity and respiratory system more so than the average gym goer to help propel them through sessions with higher mileage or distances. Bennet does note that the biggest benefits seen through Airofit come from these types of athletes. "They're the ones who need their respiratory musculature to work time and time and time again over prolonged periods."
With that said, however, it's not like athletes following other disciplines can't benefit from a stronger respiratory musculature system. After all, we all breathe day in and day out, so why wouldn't we want to improve that? More efficient breathing can be a great way to preserve energy, increase focus and maintain cognitive function, regardless of your preferred exercise.
To see if the Airofit Pro 2.0 could deliver all these perceived benefits, I used its training platform for several weeks. I witnessed how streamlined the exercises were in relation to my typical schedule, as well as how much of a hassle the practice could be, right down to the care and maintenance of the device itself. If you're interested in reimagining your breathing tactics and want to add the Airofit Pro 2.0 to your regimen, here's what you can expect.
What’s Good About the Airofit Pro 2.0?
The companion app makes following along a breeze.
Taking on any new training discipline brings with it a handful of insecurities, but when focusing on my breathing, I was admittedly more anxious than usual. The progress is less visible than, say, getting stronger arms — so how would I know if my performance was actually improving?
Thankfully, the companion Airofit app put all these questions to bed, providing a clear and concise picture of my readings through each workout. The data was digestible, serving up immediate feedback on where I could improve; I also enjoyed the daily logs that showcased my progression over the days and weeks of training.
Additionally, the various exercises and modules call for a number of different breathing rhythms and intensities. While it might seem simple to inhale at full capacity or completely expel your lungs at the end, having that visual cue made it all the more feasible. Plus, Airofit conveniently includes audible instructions for each step for a streamlined practice that doesn't require you to stare at your phone through an entire session. (I still recommend keeping your screen in your line of sight, though, to better analyze your breathing performance in each repetition.)
Maintenance is simple.
You're breathing in and out of the Airofit Pro 2.0 with each exercise, and a main byproduct of all that is saliva. You'd expect a small, intricate device to be a pain to clean and maintain, but I was happy to find it surprisingly approachable.
The mouthpiece attachment clips off of the main chamber compartment with a quick tug, and both pieces can be washed under hot water without any fine adjustments or heightened focus. Just remember to snap off the battery pack and sensor before running the pieces under water, though.
The "2.0" in the Airofit Pro 2.0 also indicates that this is the latest generation of the device, and in this iteration, it appears the brand has upgraded the charging port to a magnetic housing over the previous plug-and-play opening. This lends itself to more efficient maintenance, eliminating a crevice for errant saliva to get into over extended use.
I appreciated this update, as it made clear that Airofit had thought of nearly everything in regards to the device's composition. According to Bennet, the brand designs silhouettes as one-purchase entities — meaning as long as you care for the device correctly, it should last forever. Forgoing a port that could potentially fry your device with rogue spit is a definite testament to that notion, in my opinion.
What’s Not Ideal About the Airofit Pro 2.0?
It can be a struggle to maintain a proper training schedule.
While I was invested in training my respiratory musculature, I did experience some hurdles when it came to maintaining a proper training regimen. For one, the app recommends breaking up the two prescribed sessions throughout your day, meaning you should look to sign in and work out twice throughout your normal schedule. Admittedly, this wasn't too much of an issue, as the training circuits are only a few minutes long, but I did have some days where I forgot to follow up with my second session until later. The app does have a notification setting, but it can only provide one notification per day at a set time, which puts the responsibility on you to schedule and complete your given regimen.
I also found that keeping spirits high throughout my training was a bit of a struggle, particularly because it can be difficult to see the fruits of your labor. We breathe every day instinctively, but the performance aspects you train for with the Airofit Pro 2.0 are really only employed when in higher intensity activities. You can't see your lung capacity grow like you would a bicep or pectoral, leading to the notion of training being lost in afterthought. I definitely recommend making Airofit training part of your daily morning routine to help maintain that proper schedule without losing motivation, and opt to set your notification for later in the day to round out that second circuit.
Some might feel the benefits don’t match the price tag.
The Airofit Pro 2.0 made training my lung capacity and cardiorespiratory fitness more convenient...but is that convenience worth the $350 price tag? That depends on what you want out of your breath training journey.
For athletes that regularly partake in endurance sports or routinely run or ride races, I can see how the benefits merit shelling out the coin. For average gym goers, however, I think the price tag may be too tall to justify. It might be better and more cost-efficient to employ a higher intensity during training at first; this can give a better understanding of your capabilities and growth in a more well-rounded fashion, rather than dropping a large sum on a product that may be overkill for your overall fitness goals. Then, if you do find that you want a more efficient breathing structure, then by all means opt for the Airofit Pro 2.0.
To think of it in another light: picture a high-performance pair of marathon shoes. Is the tech able to be enjoyed by all athletes? Yes. Are these high-performance sneakers must-have gear for every runner? No.
Airofit Pro 2.0: The Verdict
After experiencing the intuitiveness and convenience of the Airofit Pro 2.0 over multiple weeks, I think this is a fantastic fitness product...for the right athlete. While I think there's plenty to be gained for endurance athletes or those that sign up for more cardio-taxing disciplines, I think the heightened price tag is just too exorbitant to call this a must-have for every fitness enthusiast.
If you're curious and determined to improve your VO2 max and aerobic performance, this can be an excellent tool for the task. But if you just want to get healthier and train your respiratory musculature from time to time, it might be best to just mix in some high-intensity sessions throughout the week.