Powerful New Metric Pushes Aerobic Performance Beyond VO2max
November 5, 2021
Unmatched aerobic performance increase in weeks instead of years
/ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – Bob Prichard, president of Somax Performance Institute, has discovered a new metric that improves aerobic performance in a few weeks–far beyond years of fitness training.
Chest expansion (how much the chest expands from full exhale to full inhale divided by its circumference), not VO2max, is the major limiting factor in endurance sports like running, cycling, swimming, soccer, lacrosse and tennis.
“Every endurance coach and athlete needs to measure breathing ranges,’ says Prichard, “because 98% of endurance athletes have chest restrictions that have reduced their lung capacity up to 33%, preventing them from optimally filling their lungs with fresh air and oxygen during training and competition.”
“Researchers have made the mistake of just looking at the physiological aspects of fitness and, as a result, have overlooked something as simple as how much the stomach, diaphragm and chest expand during the deep breathing encountered during competition,” explains Prichard. “Instead, we have measured chest expansion in all our athletes before and after we released microfibers around the stomach, diaphragm and chest. We have been surprised by how constricted elite athletes are in their chest and how flexible they can be.”
Prichard measures the circumference of the stomach, diaphragm and chest, then measures how much each area expands from full exhale to full inhale and finally divides each expansion by its circumference to get a size-adjusted range.
The top 2% of endurance athletes expand 15-20% of their circumference. The biggest expansion Prichard has measured was 9” in a national record holder.
Most endurance athletes expand only 2-3” or 5-10% of their circumference. As Prichard doubled their expansion, their lung capacity increased up to 33% and their performance skyrocketed.
“We have found that chest expansion must be at least doubled to have any aerobic impact, which is why yoga or stretching alone do not make much of an impact on lung capacity,” explains Prichard. “The one six-week yoga study we found recorded an increase in chest expansion of only 18%, while our Microfiber Reduction program has increased chest expansion from 100-1,000% in just four weeks.”
Prichard improves aerobic performance by releasing microfibers (mild scar tissue) and tension that are restricting chest expansion (flexibility). His athletes have won 44 Gold Medals and set 11 World Records after completing his four-week program.
Here are a few examples of his athletes’ results:
- A local cyclist who could not keep up with the lead pack on a weekly 2500-foot hill climb ‘rode them into the ground’ after his chest expansion was increased from 1 inch to 5 inches in four weeks. He later made the Olympic Trials.
- An Olympic swimmer who was a National Record holder in the 50 free was never competitive in the 100 free. After Prichard released the microfibers restricting her chest expansion, she won the 100 free at the Olympic Trials and then won 4 Gold Medals at the Olympics, three of them in 100 meter events.
- A long distance swimmer who simultaneously held World Records in the 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle had a VO2max of only 56, compared to her competitors with a VO2max of 70-80. The VO2max of a couch potato is 46. She was thus closer to a couch potato than an elite swimmer. But her chest expansion was 16%, or 50% greater than her competitors.
- A pro soccer player went from playing from the bench to starting 31 of 32 games after his chest expansion was increased from 1/2″ inch to 5 inches. He then led his team to the national championship and three years later, at age 41, was voted league MVP. He reported he no longer got winded during a game.
- An elite tennis player renowned for her ‘fitness’ had 20% expansion in her stomach, diaphragm and chest. She did not understand ‘why the other girls got tired’. Their chest expansion was 5-10%.
- A college golfer increased his lung capacity 33% after his chest expansion was doubled from 2” to 4”. He found he could do his homework in half the time, improved his grades from his C+ average and transferred to a full university where he graduated with A’s in two majors and two minors. Doubling chest expansion helps the brain as much as the muscles.
- A runner who worked as a senior software engineer in Silicon Valley received two promotions and three raises in pay after his chest expansion was doubled.
For endurance athletes under 30, the most common source of chest tightness is carrying a school backpack. 8 studies from around the world have documented that wearing a school backpack reduces lung capacity up to 40%. Prichard has found this becomes permanent unless the resulting microfibers and tension are released. Other causes of chest tightness include bench presses, core work (sit-ups, crunches), impacts to the chest and stomach, bike and auto accidents, early allergies, bronchitis, pneumonia, trunk surgeries and screen apnea (breath-holding while texting and using a computer).
More information on Microfiber Reduction can be found on the Somax website www.somaxsports.com