Whenever jogging for long distances after some time I feel my breathing is quite laboured. The only solution is to slow down my pace for a while before proceeding. I have checked with my GP and I don't have asthma.

Are there any exercises or techniques I can use to improve my breathing or lung capacity that will be a benefit while I'm jogging?

  • 1
    How 'fit' are you? Because there's huge difference in lung capacity between a marathon runner and a couch potato! If you're really worried, you could get a check up to have a VO2max test, where they monitor your heart, blood and lungs. That should help you detect any 'bottlenecks'
    – Ivo Flipse
    Mar 3, 2011 at 22:32

2 Answers 2


Plyometric exercises are specialized, high intensity training techniques used to develop athletic power (strength and speed). Plyometric training involves high-intensity, explosive muscular contractions that invoke the stretch reflex (stretching the muscle before it contracts so that it contracts with greater force). The most common plyometric exercises include hops, jumps and bounding movements. One popular plyometric exercise is jumping off a box and rebounding off the floor and onto another, higher box. These exercises typically increase speed and strength and build power.

If you combine Plyometric sessions while maximizing the cardio side of it with minimal rest time, you can achieve high lung capacity. The small window of rest with these sessions will increase your heart rate and force your body to adjust to the right breathing pattern (of course done w/ moderation and safety in mind). Plyometric is considered a must in all athletic training. Soccer players recovering from ACL surgery participate in Plyometric to get back into competition shape. Plyometric will increase your performance in any sports including running if it is done right.


The way to increase you lung capacity (vo2 max) is to perform interval training and sprinting, one technique is known as Fartleks. The more you push your lungs (and get out of breath for short periods), the greater your capacity becomes, at least up to a point.

One interesting device that is a fairly cheap that claims to improve your inspiratory muscles is the Powerbreathe. It works by you blowing into the device, and it providing resistance for both. Like push ups or press ups, you increase the amount you do each day, and also increase the resistance.


It has various studies to back it up but from experience is a bit of a pain to clean - you have to buy baby milk bottle sterializer to clean them with.

  • do you have any experience that you can share how this has improved your performance? Jun 25, 2012 at 19:33
  • @RyanMiller it's helped a lot, it works really well if you do the breathing exercises before you do the run
    – Chris S
    Jun 26, 2012 at 8:37
  • Can you please describe how you would use it? Like a step by step description?
    – KJYe.Name
    Mar 1, 2013 at 23:43
  • 1
    Afaik there have no neutral studies been done on those devices to prove them useful: "I would suspect that the lack of data is because the research itself may involve greater risks than most researchers would ethically want to take. And those that have done "studies" are the same ones selling the masks," from an answer at skeptics.SE.
    – Baarn
    Mar 2, 2013 at 22:37
  • 1
    @Informaficker there's 2 or 3 ones done for cyclists based on IMT devices. I wouldn't dismiss it outright without trying it as we're not talking about Olympic performance improvements here. However interval training is by far the most effective way of increasing vo2 max and your lungs for running (which my original answer didn't have), I would suggest the device as an interesting addition rather than an alternative.
    – Chris S
    Mar 3, 2013 at 12:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.