Repeated abdominal exercise induces respiratory muscle fatigue

Christopher L. Gomez, Lisa M. Strongoli, J. Richard Coast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Prolonged bouts of hyperpnea or resisted breathing are known to result in respiratory muscle fatigue, as are primarily non respiratory exercises such as maximal running and cycling. These exercises have a large ventilatory component, though, and can still be argued to be respiratory activities. Sit-up training has been used to increase respiratory muscle strength, but no studies have been done to determine whether this type of non-respiratory activity can lead to respiratory fatigue. The purpose of the study was to test the effect of sit-ups on various respiratory muscle strength and endurance parameters. Eight subjects performed pulmonary function, maximum inspiratory pressure (MIP) and maximum expiratory pressure (MEP) measurements, and an incremental breathing test before and after completing a one-time fatiguing exercise bout of sit-ups. Each subject acted as their own control performing the same measurements 3-5 days following the exercise bout, substituting rest for exercise. Following sit-up induced fatigue, significant decreases were measured in MIP [121.6 ± 26 to 113.8 ± 23 cmH2O (P <0.025)], and incremental breathing test duration [9.6 ± 1.5 to 8.5 ± 0.7 minutes (P <0.05)]. No significant decreases were observed from control pre-test to control post-test measurements. We conclude that after a one-time fatiguing sit-up exercise bout there is a reduction in respiratory muscle strength (MIP, MEP) and endurance (incremental breathing test duration) but not spirometric pulmonary function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-547
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Sports Science and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Endurance breathing test
  • Inspiratory muscles
  • Maximal inspiratory pressure
  • Sit-ups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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