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The Best Ways to Mimic Elevation Training
Proponents of elevation training, an exercise technique conducted at high altitudes, claim that exercising in a low-oxygen environment can improve athletic performance by increasing the delivery of oxygen to your muscles. In response to the financial and logistical challenges of high-altitude training, some manufacturers have started to create masks and other devices to help mimic the bodily responses of elevation training.
Oxygen supply is a key component of elevation training. To mimic the effects of a low-oxygen environment, use a mask or breathing device that limits your intake of oxygen for your training purposes. This technique is based on the theory that low-oxygen environments increase the amount of erythropoietin hormone in your body, thereby stimulating the production of additional red blood cells, according to Altitude.org. Unfortunately, no studies have supported the claims suggested by manufacturers of elevation training products.
Elevation Training Mask
The elevation training mask is a basic altitude-simulation device that limits your intake of oxygen. In theory, these masks work by forcing your body to create additional red blood cells and capillaries to help circulate more oxygen. By wearing an elevation training mask during exercise, you may be able to mimic some of the effects of elevation training.
The Airfit program is one type of high-altitude simulation that involves 50 hours of oxygen restriction over a period of one year. The OC Fitness Source website advises beginning the program with a daily hour-long session for the first 15 days, followed by five one-hour session over the next six to eight weeks. Similar to the elevation training mask, Airlift uses breathing devices to mimic the aerobic and strength training benefits that proponents believe to accompany elevation training.
Any type of oxygen restriction can be dangerous and potentially fatal if practiced incorrectly. Since none of the benefits of elevation training are supported by science, it may be beneficial to focus on less dangerous workout methods and techniques. Always talk to your doctor before using any device that restricts oxygen, and limit the amount of intense aerobic exercise you perform while wearing a breathing device.
Based in the Appalachian Mountains, Brian Connolly is a certified nutritionist and has been writing professionally since 2000. He is a licensed yoga and martial arts instructor whose work regularly appears in “Metabolism,” “Verve” and publications throughout the East Coast. Connolly holds advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and the University of Virginia.