In this review, the classification of respiratory muscle fatigue from the perspective of its origin is presented. The fatigue is classified as central or peripheral, and the latter further subdivided into high- and low-frequency fatigue. However, muscle fatigue is a complex process and all three types of fatigue probably occur simultaneously in the overloaded respiratory muscles. The relative importance of each type depends on the duration of respiratory loading and other physiological variables. However, central and high-frequency fatigue resolve rapidly once muscle overload is removed, whereas low-frequency fatigue persists over long time.