Powerbreather is a SwimSwam partner.
Most swimmers would like to swim faster. While there are a variety of tools to help improve technique, symmetric snorkels are one of the most powerful. Symmetric snorkels come in two forms. Center-mount snorkels have one tube that sits in front of the swimmer’s nose. These have become well-established in swim programs around the country. Recently, engineers have improved upon this design by creating snorkels with two air tubes, such as the Powerbreather snorkel. This snorkel has a tube for each side of the head, joined by a mouthpiece for exhaling.
Why is this such a significant improvement? With a single tube, you inhale a mixture of carbon dioxide and oxygen. In contrast, the Powerbreather allows you to breath fresh air through the two tubes and exhale CO2 through the mouthpiece, ensuring the oxygen needed for peak performance. Additionally, by enabling you to breathe underwater, symmetric snorkels help you identify and fix technique flaws that you didn’t know you had. In particular, symmetric snorkels like the Powerbreather do the following:
1 – Reinforce good technique
Many swimmers find that using the Powerbreather to focus on technique in the warm-up results in their carrying the good technique into the main set, and hence swimming faster.
2 – Develop hip drive
Most swimmers could benefit from engaging their abdominal muscles more and having more hip drive. By allowing the swimmer to breathe face-down, the Powerbreather lets the swimmer engage the abs and hips more to power the stroke.
3 – Equalize hip rotation
Because each swimmer tends to have a favourite side to breathe, we tend to have slightly asymmetric strokes. You probably rotate more toward your favourite side for breathing, which causes other parts of the stroke to compensate for the over-rotation (for instance, a slight scissor in the kick). By eliminating the need to rotate to breathe, the Powerbreather reinforces equal rotation on each side.
4 – Help establish good head position
Lifting your head even a millimeter forces your hips down and contributes to poor body position. Because there is no need to rotate to breathe with the Powerbreather, you can practice swimming with a stable head, nose pointing at the bottom of the pool.
5 – Make for faster flip turns
Many swimmers turn their head to breathe before a turn, which decreases speed going into the wall and hence slows the turn down. Training with the Powerbreather helps swimmers become accustomed to going directly into a turn. Additionally, the Powerbreather has valves on the tubes which help prevent water from entering the snorkel. Unlike center snorkels which require you to blow out water after your flip turn, the Powerbreather allows you to exhale under water like you would without a snorkel and then immediately breathe in when you break the surface.
6 – Teach you how to exhale
If you’ve ever had someone who is fit from some other sport tell you that swimming left them “breathless” immediately, it is probably because that person did not exhale underwater. A key part of good swimming is to exhale completely while your face is in the water so that when you turn to breathe, you only have to inhale (if you must exhale first, you lose precious time). This is excellent practice for exhaling during normal swimming. Additionally, with the Powerbreather you exhale through the mouthpiece, which causes bubbles to float past you face and ears, just like when you exhale underwater without a snorkel.
7 – Provide lung and diaphragm training
The membranes on the intake tubes of the Powerbreather have one-way membranes that allow air to flow in but prevent water from entering the tubes. These membranes provide a slight resistance that when breathing in provide the added benefit of strengthening your diaphragm and increasing your lung capacity.
Let you breathe oxygen, not carbon dioxide. Center snorkels have one tube, which means that when you exhale and then inhale, you are inhaling some of the carbon dioxide you just inhaled. The dual tubes of the Powerbreather allow you to inhale pure air, which delivers the optimal oxygen your muscles demand during your training.
In my next article, I’ll explain how to use the Powerbreather and some of my favourite sets.
The Powerbreather system was developed by Mathias Weigner, an enthusiastic swimmer who believed that there must be some way for “man moving easily and freely in the water”. Several years later, in partnership with Ameo, they were able to develop the Powerbreather system. Powerbreather’s goal is to expand the possibilities underwater for triathletes, professional swimmers, amateurs, and wildlife explorers like never before. Powerbreather is designed in Germany and comes in 3 configurations starting at $109.99. To learn more and get your own Powerbreather, go to www.PowerbreatherUSA.com
Swimming gear news is courtesy of POWERBREATHER, a SwimSwam partner.