What is Altitude Training?

Altitude training or simulation of altitude training is accomplished, by living in less oxygen, giving less oxygen, or somehow inducing hypoxia (low oxygen availability). Hypoxic training, or the practice of limiting oxygen availability while training, has been used for decades to improve performance. The United States Olympic Training Center and many other training facilities use hypoxic training to significantly increase the speed of gains in performance. A period of altitude training can be helpful to athletes, but it can be a real art to know how long to stay at altitude or a hypoxic environment and when to get out. Most of my athletes will train at altitude or use altitude simulated training blocks for 2-8 weeks at a time.

How To Use Hyperoxygenation & Hypoxia

I coach my athletes to train with oxygen concentrators (also known as Exercise with Oxygen, or EWOT). Using a mask delivery system, athletes can perform exercise intervals in the presence of high oxygen or low oxygen. Usually, these type of intervals are done on an indoor trainer or treadmill.

Exercise with oxygen therapy can increase exercise capacity and lead to performance gains, and this effect is most pronounced at high altitudes. On the flip side, an athlete can use a hypoxic generator to simulate a certain altitude and prepare for elevation competition. Training in a hypoxic environment boosts the production of red blood cells and causes the other adaptations.

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