What is Expiratory Muscle Training?

What is Expiratory Muscle Training?

During sleep or rest, breathing in and out seems natural because the body’s nervous system passively controls this process. However, conscious control of respiration needs training for efficient release of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the body and intake of enough oxygen (O2) on the next breathing cycle.

Better oxygenation of the body is necessary during physical exercise, disease conditions, and maximum performances.

Expiratory Muscle Training (EMT) is part of Respiratory Muscle Training (RMT) that focuses on strengthening muscles for exhalation.

With stronger expiratory muscles, breathing becomes more efficient for O2-CO2 gas exchange and normal body processes like speaking, coughing, and swallowing. EMT trains the upper airway muscles necessary for speech, airway clearance, and expectoration. At the same time, EMT works with the trunk muscles for the body’s flexibility and rotation.

Mechanism of EMT

What is Expiratory Muscle TrainingAfter breathing in the O2, the elastic recoil of the lungs, ribcage, and diaphragm moves to expel the CO2 out. In the expiration process, airflow pressure exercises the surrounding muscles in the upper airway responsible for voice, cough, and swallow functions. These muscles are called the hyolaryngeal complex, which is the target muscle group of EMT.

Like Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT), EMT works by activating its target respiratory muscles for better power, strength, and endurance. Resistive devices like The Breather have adjustable knobs with specific EMT resistance for training and strengthening the hyolaryngeal complex, including the larynx or voice box.

Through RMT, increased air capacity and pressure allow enough airflow to get through the vocal cords and produce vibrations for speaking. These stronger respiratory muscles also support active breath-cough-swallow reflex to prevent foreign objects from passing through the airway.

Benefits of EMT

Patients with underlying disease conditions that affect speech, swallowing, and coughing functions benefit most from EMT.

People with neuromuscular diseases like Parkinson’s disease (PD) have difficulty in speaking (dysphonia), swallowing (dysphagia), and coughing. Studies show that EMT helps PD patients for audible voice production, effective breathe-swallow and cough pattern, and prevents aspiration pneumonia (AP) for better health, clear communication, and improved quality of life (QoL).

In support of physical therapy, EMT benefits paralytic or stroke patients by strengthening their face, throat, neck, lips, and shoulder muscles during training.

For asthma and allergy cases, EMT improves airway clearance by removing mucus build-up through productive coughing.

Additionally, musicians and public speakers can reach their full potential during competition and stage performances with the help of EMT.


The Breather and Breather Fit, Luft for Life’s recommended respiratory muscle training devices, offer both inspiratory AND expiratory muscle training, and help you to achieve all of these benefits, with just a few minutes of training per day. It allows you to adjust the IMT intensity independently of the EMT level, while simultaneously working on both aspects of the breath cycle. Performing RMT at a perceived 60-70% of your maximum capacity, measurable improvements should become noticeable in as early as two to three weeks.