In Out of Sight, Out of Mind? (Part 2), we started an exploration of the types of questions I ask to determine how to integrate a certain training strategy into The Flexible Periodization Method.

Part 2 took us through the beginning stages of RMT. Part 3 focuses on more advanced stages of RMT, including RMT with a resistive device, RMT integrated into circuit training and interval training, or endurance training.

Step 4: RMT with resistive device and poor man’s RMT integrated in endurance training

At the end of step 3, the athlete is able to perform 40 consecutive, complete, explosive inhalation-exhalation cycles with either diaphragmatic or chest breathing through one nostril.

What is the next logical and optimal progression?

In Step 4, we branch out into RMT with a resistive device and poor man’s RMT integrated in endurance training (including circuit training).

The type of resistive device used can affect both the breathing technique and the progression on “load” (size of the pipe that you inhale through). For example, the device called the power lung requires inhalation and exhalation through the mouth to experience resistance.

Generally, I lean towards recommending inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the nose or the mouth (more about that later) to maximize the downward movement of the diaphragm. (1)

The device that I acquired is called the training mask. It covers both the nose and the mouth. Thus, both nose breathing and mouth breathing is resisted. (Interestingly, the training mask is not one of the devices that has been investigated, according to the review that was covered in Part 1.)

The athlete now has good technical proficiency in explosive and complete inhalations and exhalations. Further, breathing through one nostril is out, for obvious reasons. Therefore, the focus in program C is beginning with the lowest resistance that the device allows and gradually working towards the highest resistance. This happens when the athlete can complete 40 inhalation-exhalation cycles with good form.

With the training mask, the resistance is adjusted through a combination of three valves that are placed on the front of the mask. The combination of valves allows for six levels of resistance, corresponding to breathing at 3,000, 6,000, 9,000, 12,000, 15,000 and 18,000-feet altitudes. It is not clear from the manual how these numbers are determined and it is not important either. The fact remains that the resistance is substantial as the athlete works through the levels.

Program C

A1. Diaphragmatic breathing (explosive inhalation-explosive exhalation), 1-2 x 40

B1. Chest breathing (explosive inhalation-explosive exhalation), 1-2 x 40

*Perform program C a total of 6-7 times per week.

Since the athlete has developed good breathing skill in Step 3, with the poor man’s RMT, it is possible to progress the poor man’s RMT to any type of endurance training or circuit training. The goal here is to build up to 15-30 minutes of continuous pure nose breathing. If it is an interval workout perform a similar amount of time with nose breathing only.

It is worth noting here that the reviewed studies (see part 1) exclusively investigated isolated RMT. Thus, by integrating RMT in endurance training or circuit training, we go a step beyond what was done in the studies. Theoretically, you could keep your athletes at program C with the resistive device and expect results.

In order to make the decision whether you want to integrate RMT in circuit training and endurance training, it might also be worth noting that author John Douillard of Body, Mind, Sport, reported great results by coaching his athletes to a point where they breathe in and out through the nose during all endurance events.

I will assume that most readers here on elitefts™ might be more interested in circuit training and interval training for MMA, football, strongman, and similar sports, rather than actual endurance training, such as running a marathon.

Below are some thoughts on integrating poor man’s RMT into circuit training or interval training:

  • It is recommended to breathe diaphragmatically through the nose (in and out) through this stage.
  • To initially breathe through the nose all the time would require the athlete to significantly reduce the intensity and potentially also the volume of the training, which, in my estimate, would be counterproductive in relation to overall performance. Thus, the starting point for integrating poor man’s RMT into circuit training and interval training is that the intensity and volume is what it would normally be. The length of each interval should also be what you would normally choose it to be.
  • As a consequence of the above, the volume of poor man’s RMT is increased gradually in a way that should be simple and corresponds to each individual’s rate of progress.

Here are a couple of specific progressions for circuit training for inspiration:

Repetitions Per Exercise

If the circuit is structured as a certain number of repetitions per exercise, you can divide the set into quarters and tell the athlete to inhale and exhale through the nose for the first quarter of the set, breathe regularly for the second quarter of the set, inhale and exhale through the nose for the third quarter of the set and breathe normally for the last quarter of the set. If the length of a set is 20 repetitions, that equals four segments of five breaths. Of course, you could start this system with smaller fragments, however, when an athlete performs all the intervals with a certain break down, the fragments are set to be longer (fifths, quarters, thirds, halves, etc).

NOTE: As famous biologist Bruce Lipton pointed out, “Stress makes us stupid.”(2) When we get stressed, blood disappears from the thinking part of the brain. Over the years I have, on occasion, seen incomplete training diaries and it is not always due to sloppiness. The consequence here is that you should not expect the athletes to remember a 2-2 split on one exercise, a 3-3 split on another exercise, and so forth. Pick one number!


If the circuit is structured on time, a certain number of repetitions per exercise, the system is similar, but you can instruct the athletes to start with one inhalation-exhalation through the nose followed by one “normal breath.” Every time the entire workout can be performed in that fashion, the number increases 2 -2, 3-3 and so forth until the entire training is performed with inhalation and exhalation through the nose.

Interval Training

If interval training is performed,help the athlete become aware of the number of steps, strides, etc., on the inhalation and the exhalation. For example, if sprinting, the athlete may find that four strides on the inhalation and four strides on the exhalation is a good rhythm. Instruct the athlete to inhale and exhale through the nose for as long as possible in each interval, while maintaining the rhythm of four strides on the inhalation and four strides on the exhalation.

When the athlete reaches a point where he or she can’t inhale or exhale through the nose anymore, then a shift is made to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.

In the most demanding training the athlete may have to finish the interval with inhaling and exhaling through the mouth.

Try to keep track of how long nose breathing can be maintained in each interval and try to make that part gradually longer. This technique has a mental component in the sense that the athlete will get a “second wind” by changing the breathing pattern.

Step 5: RMT with resistive device integrated in circuit training and interval training

Taking the resistive device off during an interval would break the rhythm. This is doable, but inconvenient. Putting the device back on during an interval, or set in a circuit is out of the question. Therefore, a slightly different approach is needed when the resistive device is used during interval training or circuit training.

Step 4 developed the athlete to a point where s/he can perform nose breathing for 15-30 minutes. Therefore, we can hope that in most cases the athlete is able to progress on interval circuits in the following way:

  • Begin with the lowest resistance on the resistive device.
  • Depending on the structure of the circuit/interval workout begin with, for example, one of four intervals with the device on, two out of four intervals with the device on, three out of four intervals with the device on, and then four out of four intervals with the device on.
  • When all intervals in the workout can be performed with a given resistance, the resistance is increased and the pattern is repeated.


This column introduced RMT with a resistive device and RMT with a resistive device integrated into circuit training and interval training. If you try the protocols with your athletes, feel free to comment below to let me know about your experiences.


  1. Yoshimura N, Abe T, Kushura N, Tomita T. Effect of nasal CPAP on human diaphragm position and lung volume. Nihon Kyobu Shikkan Gakkai Zasshi. 32(11), 1043-8. 1994. Abstract
  2. Lipton B. The Biology of Belief (Audio).