For those of you who have gone hiking up a mountain at least once, you probably know the feeling of being out of breath faster than normal. This phenomenon is called the altitude effect. When it comes to training, the concept remains the same. The training activity, which is most relevant to the experience of the altitude effect, is altitude training.
What Is Altitude Training?
Altitude training involves athletes increasing their performance by training at higher altitudes that have lower concentrations of oxygen. In high-altitude environments, you draw in less oxygen per breath than you would at lower altitudes. That means each breath will deliver less oxygen to your muscles resulting in greater exertions.
It may sound like a case of unnecessary deprivation, but living at higher altitudes and getting used to breathing “thinner” air can enhance athletes’ athletic performance in competitions at lower altitudes.
How Altitude Training Helps Athletes
During workouts at high altitude, athletes have to increase the effort they put in to obtain the same results they would otherwise get more easily when working out closer to sea level. The increased rate of perceived exertion is caused by altitude-induced hypoxia, in which the amount of oxygen being delivered to the muscles to burn fuel and create energy is decreased.
There have been several studies that prove that this phenomenon increases muscle hypertrophy by up to 27%! For an athlete competing against other equally well-trained athletes, this difference can be a game-changer.
As athletes acclimate to high altitude, they produce more red blood cells which allow their blood to carry more oxygen. When they compete at lower altitudes, they get a natural boost to the muscles during competitions when additional oxygen is available.
The Controversy Around Altitude Training
Altitude training does alter the physiology of the body for a competitive edge. However, it is not appropriate to lump the program into the same class as doping. Altitude training gives elite athletes who want to play by the rules a chance to compete against their rivals on an equal footing.
It is different from doping because it does not use artificial substances to enhance performance. On the contrary, altitude training is tough work, and an athlete has to endure this extra difficulty to benefit from it.
Challenges of Traditional Altitude Training
While altitude training is a good way to increase performance, there are some downsides to it as well if not done correctly. Following are some common drawbacks of the traditional altitude training method.
- The athlete may need to physically move to a higher altitude that may not be convenient or practical.
- While training at high altitudes is helpful, sleeping at higher altitudes is not ideal. During sleep, our bodies primarily focus on the repair process from the day’s training. Sleeping in a relatively oxygen-deficient environment will slow this healing process and make future training more difficult. Many coaches advocate the train high, sleep low idea but thiscan also be challenging or impractical.
- Athletes can’t perform at their maximum power output or recover as quickly between working sets.
- Many of the cues athletes use to judge how hard they’re training – tired muscles, labored breath, how fast they’re covering ground – change at high altitude. This change leads to overtraining if the athlete is not aware of when to stop, and overtraining at that altitude is likely to cause problems.
Simulated Altitude Training
To provide the benefits of altitude training without the drawbacks, BoostO2 used learnings from the latest researches about oxygen therapy to create simulated altitude training. The program aims to facilitate the athletes looking to improve their performance by making this method safe and practical for them.
BoostO2’s Simulated Altitude Training
The Boost O2 Performance Program uses the Adaptive Contrast system, to simulate the oxygen levels at 11,000 - 22,000 feet of elevation using a hypoxic generator and mask system. This technology gives the exact same effects on the body as training at elevation but with the added benefit of oxygen-assisted recovery.
Benefits of Simulated Altitude Training
Whether you are an athlete or not, if you want to opt for altitude training, below are some of the main benefits of BoostO2’s Performance Program:
- You can train as if you were at a higher elevation regardless of your physical location, which is more efficient than traveling back and forth to higher elevations.
- All of the recovery downsides of altitude training are solved with simulated altitude training since you can sleep at your home elevation while also enhancing recovery with oxygen assisted recovery protocols at the end of every training session.
- Athletes can also do more work quickly due to enhanced recovery between working sets with the Adaptive Contrast oxygen setting.
To sum up, altitude training is a good way to help someone, especially an athlete, increase their performance. It helps them train their bodies to get a competitive edge over others, helping them win competitions and reach their desired goals.
While there are challenges in altitude training, they can be overcome by choosing alternative programs like BoostO2’s simulated altitude training. Using the latest research in oxygen therapy and comprehensive knowledge about altitude training, BoostO2 has designed the perfect program that helps athletes gain the benefits of training without the drawbacks.
For more information about BoostO2’s simulated altitude training program, check out our website.