Kenpo training with the XenAir Lung Exerciser
Whether you're an endurance athlete, an extreme athlete, an elite athlete, a physical trainer, personal trainer, or Kenpo instructor, xenon gas training can improve your performance and VO2 Max. Kenpo instructors and students, like all athletes, will find that using xenon gas as a training enhancement will improve your breathing capacity, endurance and ability to workout.
At 76 I'm not an endurance athlete, but I've used XenAir off and on now since it came out on July 14, and the results, for me, are impressive, as I explain below. (After starting XenAir I was out of the country, and then out of town and unable to use it to its fullest potential - until now.
What is xenon gas?
"Xenon is a chemical element with the symbol Xe and atomic number 54. It is a colorless, heavy, odorless noble gas, that occurs in the Earth's atmosphere in trace amounts."1
To put that in perspective, 99% of the air gasses we breathe is made up of nitrogen and oxygen. In simple non-scientific terms, oxygen weighs what I will say is 16 units, (15.9994 ± 0.0004 u) while nitrogen weight about 14 units. Xenon weighs 131 units - 5 times heavier than oxygen (Xe 131.293 g/mol). But xenon is so rare in the atmosphere (trace amounts) that it is not measured in percentage, but in parts per million - 0.087 parts per million. Some scientists make it one part in 20,000,000, but 1 part in 8,700,000 or 1 part in 20,000,000 makes it a very rare gas, and another way of looking at it is xenon is about 9 parts per billion.
For all practical purposes, where breathing xenon gas is concerned, xenon does not react with anything, nor is it metabolized in the body. When inhaled, xenon enters your repertory system, and blood, and your bodies react to xenon in some ways, which are as yet unknown. What is know is breathing xenon, even in high amounts, is harmless, and in many cases beneficial. However, most of the xenon is exhaled, so only a small amount is taken into your body with each breath, and it does not stay in the body for long. 100% of the xenon an athlete absorbs will usually be out of the body within 96 hours.
How the XenAir Lung Exerciser Works
Every athlete who trains with xenon gas, knows it improves their lung functions. Just how it does this, we do not know. But one thing we do know, is xenon is 5 times heavier than air, and that weight may have something to do with how it functions in our lungs. However xenon works, I am so impressed with what XenOx has done for me, I am recommending to every Kenpoka, and serious athlete; and I have asked XenAir to give my readers a special 15% discount when they purchase XenOx.
Xenon Lung Exercise
15% DISCOUNT promoution code KENPO15
Since xenon is a noble,inert, non-toxic, gas with no known adverse effects, athletes usually inhale xenon in a mixture of about 50% xenon and 50% oxygen. See XenAir FAQ. Russian athletes have been breathing xenon for over ten years, and the Russian military, which has been using xenon even longer, breathe it through an open system. That is, they breathe the xenon/oxygen in and exhale oxygen, carbon dioxide, and most of the xenon into the atmosphere.
Just how much xenon is taken into the body with each breath depends on the individual, but it is unlikely that it is more than 10%. That means that 90% or more of the xenon in a 50/50 xenon oxygen mixture is exhaled into the atmosphere with each breath. At $30 - $40 a liter, that can get very expensive.
The XenAir Lung Exerciser works differently, as it is a closed system. Instead of the xenon/oxygen gas being delivered through a high pressure bottle (cylinder), and exhaled into the atmosphere, XenAir's XenOx comes in an aluminum bag that has an attachable rebreather, which allows you to rebreathe the oxygen and xenon you do not consume, over and over.
The rebreather consists of a 2 inch diameter heavy glass cylinder, which is filled with a carbon dioxide scrubber (calcium hydroxide/ sodium hydroxide). A filter and mouthpiece attach to the rebreather and the user breaths in and out through the mouth. The bag, which has 3 liters of 50/50 XenOx, deflates as you inhale and inflates as you exhale. While not required, it is advisable that you use a nose clip to keep from inhaling and exhaling through your nose. This can happen unconsciously, and will result in the loss of xenon, and inflating the XenOx bag with outside air. The carbon dioxide you exhale will be absorbed in the rebreather. Since you will be consuming some of the xenon and oxygen with each breath, if you are breathing only through the mouthpiece, the bag should be receiving less and less exhaled XenOx.
A 6 liter supplemental XenOx bag with 10% xenon and 90% oxygen is used to replenish the xenon as it is absorbed by the body and the oxygen as it is consumed and turned into carbon dioxide. The tube leading from the supplemental bag attaches to the top of the rebreather, so the 10/70 xenon/oxygen mix will be breathed in ahead of the XenOx from the main bag. A small valve attached to the supplemental 10/90 XenOx bag is used to increase or decrease its XenOx flow.
A typical first XenAir lung training breathing session last 2-3 minutes, with subsequent sessions ranging from 5 minutes 10 minutes or more, and the supplemental XenOx bag will typically last between 12 and 20 minutes.
A Theory behind the XenAir Lung Exerciser
It is reasonable that, just as with weight lifting, which exercises muscles and tendons, the heavier xenon gas will exercise the lungs through resistance, both on inhalation and exhalation. And because your lungs have never breathed heavy gas before, they will be exercised in, as yet, some unexplained ways. However, it is also reasonable to assume that the effort of the lungs pushing against the heavier xenon would be a form of resistance training, or as I call it, "weight lifting for your lungs."
The heavy xenon gas may also block the alveoli, thus keeping oxygen from entering alveolar capillaries and forcing the lungs to work harder. This would be true with a 30%, 10% or 5% xenon blend; and, as with power lifting, the lesser and greater weights have different effects. However, the lungs do not absorb a large amount of xenon with each breath. That is why the XenAir exercises will range between 3 and 20 minutes, depending on your goal.
My Experience With XenAir Lung Exerciser
This feeling was strongest the first time I used the 50/50 XenOx, which I breathed for 3 minutes. My next session, three days later, was for 5 minutes. I used the same 3 liter bag of XenOx, which, of course had been somewhat depleted of xenon from the first use. (The 50/50 bags are intended to be used with the supplemental 10/90 XenOx bags for two weeks, with a session every 2-3 days.)
There were two things that were familiar, but the way xenon produced them was different, and unexpected. The first was going hypoxic, most likely due to xenon's hypoxia-inducible factor-1a (HIF-1a). SEE National Institute of Health. And europepmc.org. And it may also have been in part due to the alveoli being blocked.
The second familiar thing was related to what in Cantonese is called Hai Mun, the air door, which is the third step in most ways that are employed to gain Chi/Qi (Prana in Yoga). But, for anyone who is not familiar with Hai Mun, this would be meaningless, and not relevant in Kenpo training.
At about 3 minutes I began to sweat. Those using an open system report the same thing, which indicates it is most likely related to inhaling xenon. One reason for that is xenon does not conduct heat. That means, in both an open and closed system, the xenon will not remove heat from your lungs as oxygen and nitrogen do.
However, with the XenOx closed system you are rebreathing air that passes through the glass tube where a chemical reaction to the rebreather material causes heat. The glass cylinder becomes warm, and even hot towards the end of a breathing session. This heat is transferred to the XenOx as it passes through the cylinder, and into your lungs.
But there is something more. The amount of heat (and sweating) decreases as the XenOx becomes depleted over the two weeks the 50/50 bag and 10/90 XenAir bags are used. When I began a 5 minute training session with a new 50/50 bag of XenOx, I again began sweating profusely at about two minutes. This took longer in subsequent session, and it is my opinion that this is caused by the way my body reacts to the higher 50/50 XenAir.
My next session, 2 days later was quite different. I began at 99% blood oxygen, and was at 90% at about 2 minutes, but as I dropped to 83% I began to breathe harder, and felt like I was not be able to get enough air. It was almost as though I was suffocating. I turned the supplemental bag on to regulate my blood oxygen, which I could maintain at 87% with no problem, and if I did not want to go hypoxic, I could increase the flow from the supplement bag to have my blood oxygen at 100%.
XenAir Hypoxic Training
The Earth's atmosphere contains 20.9% oxygen. This is true at sea level and at the top of Mount Everest. However the pressure at higher altitudes is less; and, at 18,000 feet there is only about ½ as much air as at sea level, while oxygen is still 20.9% of that air.
There is more than 2X as much oxygen in the 50/50 XenOx breather, and by using an oximeter to monitor your blood oxygen level, you can also use it to a lesser degree for hypoxic training. (Amazon.com has oximeters for around $20) If you do not use the XenOx 10% xenon 90% oxygen supplemental bag, you will most likely go hypoxic (blood oxygen level 93% or lower) within 2-3 minutes; and, of course, you can then regulate your blood oxygen level by controlling the flow of XenOx from the supplemental bag.
What XenOx Training Has Done For Me
There is a hill on my property 200 feet from the back of my house, where I have 60 steps with a rise of 8 inches and a run of 14 inches. Prior to using XenOx I limited the number of times I went down and up the hill to when I became out of breath. After the first XenOx 3 minute training session, I was able to increase my hill "climbs" by two times, when my legs burned so badly that they shook. Yet, I was not out of breath, and it only took me walking 50 feet back toward my house before I was breathing normally. This has also been the case with my other exercises. And even better, despite an increased workout, and adding new exercises to my routine, I have not had any sore muscles. This means that, for me, lactic acid built up in my muscles, but there was no inflammatory-repair response, or if there was xenon helped with immediate muscle cell repair.
TAI CHI BREATHING: There are 33 breaths taken in the Yang Cheng Fu First Set; and when done properly with Tai Chi Breathing, it should take five and a half minutes to complete the set (5 minutes if you continue on to the Second Set.) and that is how long it took me before my debilitating back injury in 1999. I went for 175# to over 200# by 2001, and then to 245 after a kidney operation for stage 2 Renal Cell Carcinoma, and then a torn rotator cuff operation, and the best I had been able to d do was just over 3 minute for the First Set, making my breathing rate about 5.5 seconds. After my first XenOx session, I was breathing at one breath every 10 seconds - 5:30 minutes for the set, and, I am able to easily continue with 1 breath every 10 seconds through the Second Set and Third Set.
Exercise breathing, on the other hand, is done through the mouth, using diaphragmatic, or belly breathing. And to paraphrase running expert Mindy Solkin "this ain't no Tai Chi class". After all, you want to take in as much oxygen, and exhale as much air as possible, and if you are doing XenOx training, you should find that you take in more oxygen.
Not being out of breath can be an advantage in Kenpo, or any extreme martial arts training. When I trained with Ed Parker, and taught Kenpo, everyone in the class was exhausted long before the class ended. That was even true of the private sessions I taught. But then, I taught Traditional Kenpo which did not emphasize forms. It was more like MMA training today, although we had discontinued Ju Jitsu because no insurance company would cover us
But think of what XenOx exercising would do for an MMA fighter. How many fighters begin to breath hard after giving and receiving just a few kicks and punches. But what if one of them didn't get as tired after three rounds, or if he was not exhausted after a five round title fight?
If you have watched NBC Television's "America Ninja Warriors" you have watched some of the finest elite athletes struggle through some of the most arduous obstacles imaginable. Many tire to the point near exhaustion just half way through the course. And of the few who make it to the end where they confront the 14 foot high warped wall, most are so exhausted they fail the moment they begin their run to the wall. All the training in the world will not help at the wall if the contestant is exhausted. On the other hand, there is an excellent chance that the Xenon Warrior would not be exhausted, and if they had trained on a warped wall they would reach the top as easily as if the wall were near the beginning or middle of the course. In other words, the Xenon Warrior would have gone through lung conditioning and training - "power lifting for your lungs" - and not be exhausted.
However, you, need to be aware that if you are not respiratorily exhausted, your muscles may be close to their endurance limits, and that could lead to strained muscles. That is why, in my opinion, you need to have a program that reconditions your body to a new breathing pattern.
But how to train?
When I was teaching Kenpo ten hours a day (yes I had that many students) and trained in Hung Gar, I always pushed myself to go to the next level.
Weight lifting? I was an instructor/manager of the Pasadena American Health Studios when I first began training with Ed Parker, and I would train with Chuck Pranke twice a week. Later, I took a page from Milo of Croton, of whom it was said he trained by lifting a calf on his shoulders each day, and as the calf grew, so did his strength so that he was able to carry a full grown bull on his shoulders. I took a similar approach and began carrying my lions on my shoulders until they were full grown. Pu Kung Yin (Dandy Lion) was 260 pounds, and I weighed 139 pounds when the photo was taken in 1969.
Every extreme, elite and serious athlete has a training method that uses weight in one form or another, and most also have some form of lung exercise. Original Kenpo had breathing exercise, but Ed Parker only taught those to advanced students, because, being a Mormon, he did not want people to think he was teaching mediation. And meditation was one of the major factors in Ed Parker not wanting to teach James Mitose's Kenpo-Yoga.
Most of us develop our lungs through wind-sprints, and other forms of vigorous exercises that leaves us gasping for air. And we develope breath control theough Tai Chi, Yoga and other similar methods.
For me, the difference between stamina and endurance, had always been: Stamina was the ability to continue to your limit. Endurance was the ability to go beyond, to endure the pain and exhaustion beyond your physical limitations. After all, the greatest battle we each must face is against our greatest foe, ourselves, and that battle is from within.
I say, "had always been," because, for a large percentage of those who use the XenAir Lung Exerciser, we do not become exhausted.
Retraining Your Body With XenAir
From the moment we draw our first breath we begin conditioning our body to the way we breath. It is a conditioning where our lungs and circulatory system give out before our physical - muscular - system collapses. We get cramps from lack of oxygen to our muscles long before we strain them to destruction. Weight lifters know they tear down their muscles so they can rebuild them. "No pain, no gain." Cyclists "suffer" through their training. But they never intentionally train to rip their muscles apart or from their tendons.
We warm up to stretch and get our muscles flexible and ready for how they will be used. And when we don't warm up, we often pay the price in cramps or strained or "torn" muscles.
The XenAir Lung Exerciser works against our life-long breath conditioning. It's "power lifting for your lungs." We have never breathed such heavy air, so we are not prepared for the changes that might occur. It is, therefore, not really our breathing we need to retrain, but how we recognize the changes brought about by XenOx. This training takes place after you have used the XenAir Lung Exerciser, for a few days. But you may never notice you are not getting exhausted, or breathing hard, after doing Kenpo, because you are not pushing yourself to your limits. But the principles of Kenpo still apply, as it is a mental training of introspection where you become attuned to your body changes. You move from gaging your endurance by how hard you breathe, to the more subtle insight of how your body is reacting.
Elite and serious athletes will know thirty seconds to a minute before they become winded, and will adjust their pace accordingly. Heart rate monitors are not as good as the body system, but they are great when the athletes are working toward knowing their body's limits.
However, when you do not become winded, as may happen with XenOx, you need some other gauge as to when your body will go into crisis mode or experience muscular fatigue, deterioration and collapse; and, the best way to do that is to have a set routines where you can gradually increase your energy output, and VO2 Max.
All organized group workout classes are useless for this. Unlike Ed Parker's 1957-61 advanced Kenpo classes, which were two hours long, any 50 minute physical training class will not give you the flexibility to push yourself longer. So essentially, you are on your own.
The serious athlete will use XenOx every other day, or every day, and should begin to feel its effects after the second day. But each individual is different, and it may work only for elite and serious athletes who know their limitations in advance.
A good gage of whether XenOx is working for you is training on your bike with a Wahoo bike powered generator that will produce at least 400 watts. You can, of course, run (not jog) a set course to establish your base VO2 Max. But that only gives you a rough idea as to your ability. The bike generator gives you an accurate max watt output, and you will be able to time your endurance.
Setting your base max watt output is important, and having a training program that builds to your max is equally important. It does not matter whether your base is 100 watts or 300 watts, you should know within two days whether XenOx has improved either your time, or your max watt output. But it is important to remember that breathing xenon gas will do nothing for your max watt output. Your training program will do that, because it is your training, not the xenon that builds your muscles. What XenOx should do, provided it works for you, is allow you to keep from tired while building your muscles for max watt output. It is, there, important to reach your max watt output before using the XenAir Lung Exerciser, so you will have that as your base from which to judge your progress.
The Kenpoka has no way of judging the effects of XenOx, because there is no one technique or Kenpo movement by which improvement can be accurately gaged, and you will need to cross train in other sports to really improve you Kenpo skills. Cyclists, swimmers and long distance runners have that gage, and triathletes have all three activities as gages. Parkour and American Ninja Warriors trainees have physical obstacles by which they can judge any improved abilities, and this may also apply to dancer who have to practice for hours, and especially with contestants trying out for Fox television's, So you think you can dance, many of whom are exhausted during their grueling hours of practice.
While it is the elite, extreme and serious athlete who will most likely benefit from breathing xenon gas, any improvement in lung function would probably (in theory anyway) effect our body in ways that are not readily seen. It may make Kenpo, or Tai Chi, walking, or American Kenpo, with its limited techniques, or any activity less tiring, allowing one to exercise longer, and that in itself might well improve ones overall health.
WADA Ban on Breathing Xenon
For everyone else, including college students under the NCAA, there are no restrictions, and you can take advantage of what xenon gas can do for you.
It is unclear why the World Anti-Doping Association (the same international anti-doping association that banned caffeine until 2012) banned inhalation of xenon and argon gas, as the ban is not based on any scientific studies, but rather on junk science, and comes mostly from an article in The Economist which does not cite any scientific studies.
It appears that WADA is against just about anything that improves an athlete's performance, as the Economist states, "The benefits, the (Russian) manual suggests, include increasing heart and lung capacity, preventing muscle fatigue, boosting testosterone and improving an athlete's mood. Similar benefits have been noted in papers in Russian scientific journals, and in conference presentations describing tests of xenon on mountain climbers, paddlers, soldiers and pilots." And there is no doubt that the "purists" at WADA would also ban artificial hypoxic training if they could.
That, however, begs the question, if xenon gas is so dangerous to professional athletes, why didn't the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) also ban xenon. After all, if there was an actual danger, then college students, who would be far more susceptible to that danger, and who far outnumber those covered by WADA, would be at a far greater risk. The fact is, the USADA did look at xenon and found no danger in its use.
So if the Russians are right, then xenon gas will, at the very least, increase lung capacity. That may be, as my own experience with XenOx, has certainly given me a greater repertory ability, but there appears to be more, and it may also be that xenon affects oxygen utilization. That is, xenon may burn oxygen at afaster rate. SEE Oxford Journals