Volume 2(4): December, 1996

ALTITUDE TRAINING

Special Assistant Editor
Anthony A. Sucec, Ed.D.
Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences
San Diego State University

This fourth issue of Volume 2 of Coaching Science Abstracts reviews articles concerned with altitude training. It includes some discussion of responses which constitute altitude acclimatization and the effects of altitude exposure and acclimatization on performance.

In sports, the topic is heavily confounded by beliefs concerning altitude effects rather than a rational understanding of what actually occurs. This has partly been due to a considerable volume of inadequate research which has included confounding effects as well as inappropriate design. Many original studies were performed because of convenience, that is, an opportunity to do some measurements presented itself. That does not make for good science. It is only when real experiments are conducted according to accepted principles of design that findings can be given credence.

Research deficiencies were gradually eliminated over the years and the emergence of a lack of benefit of altitude acclimatization for enhancing sea-level performance became an acceptable statement of effect. However, with the emergence of the "Train low - live high" concept, the quality of research has taken a backward step in an effort to report on this phenomenon. It is remarkable that this scientific inadequacy has once again emerged in this topic.

It is advisable to be very cautious when listening to or reading about the benefits of variations of altitude training for sea-level performance.

Professor Anthony Sucec of the Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University is the Special Associate Editor for this issue. Dr. Sucec has extensive experience in the fields of altitude acclimatization and elite athlete performance. His currency in these areas lend an added degree of credibility about the accuracy of the interpretations offered in this issue of Coaching Science Abstracts.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ALTITUDE ADAPTATION

  1. GENERAL ADAPTATION PARAMETERS

    Rushall Thoughts, (1994).

  2. ADDITIONAL ALTITUDE TRAINING EFFECTS

    Fox, E., Bowers, R., & Foss, M. (1993). The physiological basis for exercise and sport. Madison, WI: Brown & Benchmark. [pp. 449-471].

  3. JOHN TROUP ON ALTITUDE TRAINING FOR SWIMMERS

    Troup, J. P. (1993). Altitude training. Swimming Technique, 29(3), 16.

  4. ALTITUDE TRAINING: WHO BENEFITS?

    Smith, M. H., & Sharkey, B. J. (1984). Altitude training: who benefits? The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 12, 48-62.

  5. COMMENTS ON ALTITUDE

    Rushall Thoughts, (1993).

  6. ALTITUDE EFFECTS NOT ALTERED BY ERYTHROCYTE REINFUSION (BLOOD DOPING)

    Young, A. J., Sawka, M. N., Cymerman, A., Muza, S. R., Freund, B., Lyons, T., Rock, P. B., Boushel, R., Pandolf, K. B., & Valeri, C. R. (1994). Erythrocyte reinfusion does not ameliorate the decrement in VO2max at high altitude (4300 m). Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 26(5), Supplement abstract 119.

  7. ALTITUDE USES MORE GLUCOSE THAN SEA-LEVEL

    Brooks, B. A., Roberts, A. C., Butterfield, G. E., Wolfel, E. E., & Reeves, J. T. (1994). Altitude exposure increases reliance on glucose. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 26(5), Supplement abstract 120.

  8. ALTITUDE DECREASES RELIANCE ON FREE FATTY ACIDS AND INCREASES DEPENDENCY ON BLOOD GLUCOSE

    Brooks, B. A., Roberts, A. C., Butterfield, G. E., Wolfel, E. E., & Reeves, J. T. (1994). Acclimatization to 4,300 m altitude decreases reliance on fat as a substrate and increases dependency on blood glucose. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 26(5), S21, Supplement abstract 121.

  9. MORE ON ALTITUDE TRAINING -- FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS

    Sutton, J. R. (1994). Exercise training at high altitude. Swimming Technique, February-April, 12-15.

  10. ALTITUDE SEVERITY AFFECTS DEGREE OF ACCLIMATIZATION

    Faulkner, J. A., Kollias, J., Favour, C. B., Buskirk, E. R., & Balke, B. (1968). Maximum aerobic capacity and running performance at altitude. Journal of Applied Physiology, 24, 685-691.

  11. ALTITUDE TRAINING BIASES

    Personal communication from Neil Ryan, 22 October, 1995 [reworded by Brent Rushall].

  12. TRAINED ATHLETES REACT TO ALTITUDE MORE SENSITIVELY THAN UNTRAINED INDIVIDUALS

    Gore, C. J., Hahn, A. G., Watson, D. B., Norton, K. I., Campbell, D. P., Scroop, G. S., Emonson, D. L., Wood, R. J., Ly, S. V., Bellenger, S. J., & Lawton, E. W. (1995). VO2max and arterial O2 saturation at sea level and 610 m. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 27(5), Supplement abstract 42.

  13. ALTITUDE CHANGES FUEL USE

    Butterfield, G. E., Mazzeo, R. S., Reeves, J. T., Wolfel, E. E., & Brookes, G. A. (1996). Exercise responses at high altitude: The Pikes Peak 1991 experiment. Medicine and Science in Exercise and Sports, 28(5), Supplement abstract 1.

  14. RED BLOOD CELL CONCENTRATIONS AT ALTITUDE

    Friedman, B., Jost, J., Rating, T., Mairbauri, H., & Bartsch, P. (1996). No increase in total red blood cell volume during three weeks of training at an altitude of 1,800 m. Medicine and Science in Exercise and Sports, 28(5), Supplement abstract 401.

  15. HEART RATE AT ALTITUDE

    Anholm, J. D., Bonjour, S., Brayley, K., Blackburn, R., Conde, J., Eichman, W., Sanders, K., Hughes, W., & Pettis, J. L. (1996). Heart rate profile during prolonged high intensity cycling at low and moderate altitudes. Medicine and Science in Exercise and Sports, 28(5), Supplement abstract 413.

  16. ACCLIMATIZATION TIME-COURSE IN RUNNERS TO ALTITUDE

    Sucec, A. A., Hodgdon, J. A., Roy, B. A., & Hazard, A. A. (1996). Time course of acclimatization to altitude (2440 m) in female and male runners, and its effects on VO2max and performance. Medicine and Science in Exercise and Sports, 28(5), Supplement abstract 417.

  17. ALTITUDE TRAINING AND PHYSIOLOGICAL MEASURES

    Rusko, H. H., Kirvesniemi, H., Paavolainen, L., Vahasoyrinki, P., & Kyro, K.-P. (1996). Effect of altitude training on sea level aerobic and anaerobic power of elite athletes. Medicine and Science in Exercise and Sports, 28(5), Supplement abstract 739.

    ALTITUDE AND PERFORMANCE

  18. ALTITUDE TRAINING AND PERFORMANCE

    Telford, R. D., Graham, K. S., Sutton, J. R., Hahn, A. G., Campbell, D. A., Creighton, S. W., Cunningham, R. B., Davis, P. G., Gore, C. J., Smith, J. A., & Tumilty, D. McA. (1996). Medium altitude training and sea-level performance. Medicine and Science in Exercise and Sports, 28(5), Supplement abstract 741.

  19. ABOUT THE KENYAN'S TRAINING PROGRAM FOR RUNNERS

    Phillips, E. (1992). No simple explanation for Kenyan's dominance -- Running. San Diego Union-Tribune,17 June, p. D-2.

  20. SPRINTING IMPROVES AT ALTITUDE

    Karvonen, J., Petola, E., & Saarela, J. (1986). The effect of sprint training performed in a hypoxic environment on specific performance capacity. Journal of Sports Medicine, 26, 219-224.

  21. ALTITUDE QUESTIONS

    Rushall Thoughts, 1994.

  22. ALTITUDE BENEFITS: THE CONTROVERSIAL DERIVATIVE PAPER

    Daniels, J., & Oldridge, N. (1970). The effects of alternate exposure to altitude and sea level on world-class middle distance runners. Medicine and Science in Sports, 2(3), 107-112.

  23. ALTITUDE TRAINING OF NO BENEFIT TO RUNNERS

    Levine, B., & Stray-Gundersen, J. (1992). Altitude training does not improve running performance more than equivalent training near sea level in trained runners. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 24(5), Supplement abstract 569.

  24. ANAEROBIC SWIMMING PERFORMANCE AT SEA LEVEL AND ALTITUDE

    Martino, M., Myers, K., & Bishop, P. (1995). Effects of 21 days of altitude on sea-level anaerobic performance in competitive swimmers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 27(5), Supplement abstract 37.

  25. STILL NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE OF ALTITUDE BENEFITS

    Wolski, L. A., McKenzie, D. C., & Wenger, H. A. (1996). Altitude training for improvements in sea level performance: Is there scientific evidence of benefit? Sports Medicine, 22, 251-263.

  26. RUNNING, ALTITUDE, AND THE MEXICO OLYMPICS

    Sucec, A. (July, 1996). The effect of moderate altitude on endurance running events in the Mexico Olympics. A paper presented at The 1996 International Pre-Olympic Scientific Congress, Dallas, TX. (Abstract 2007).

    LIVE HIGH -- TRAIN LOW

  27. LIVING HIGH AND TRAINING LOW: AN EARLY STUDY

    Levine, B. D., Engfred, K., Friedman, D., Kjaer, M., Saltin, B., Clifford, P. S., & Secher, N. H. (1990). High altitude endurance training: Effect on aerobic capacity and work performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 22(5), Supplement abstract 209.

  28. LIVE HIGH, TRAIN LOW: ONE STUDY

    Rusko, H., Leppavuori, A., Makela, P., & Leppaluoto, J. (1995). Living high, training low: A new approach to altitude training at sea level in athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 27(5), Supplement abstract 36.

  29. LIVING HIGH, TRAINING LOW

    Nummela, A., Jouste, P., & Rusko, H. (1996). Effect of living high and training low on sea level performance in runners. Medicine and Science in Exercise and Sports, 28(5), Supplement abstract 740.

  30. HIGH-LOW TRAINING EFFECTS

    Levine, B. D., Friedman, B., & Stray-Gundersen, J. (1996). Confirmation of the "high-low" hypothesis: Living at altitude - training near sea level improves sea level performance. Medicine and Science in Exercise and Sports, 28(5), Supplement abstract 742.

  31. MORE ON LIVING HIGH -- TRAINING LOW

    Mattila, V., & Rusko, H. (1996). Effect of living high and training low on sea level performance in cyclists. Medicine and Science in Exercise and Sports, 28(5), Supplement abstract 928.

  32. LIVING HIGH -- TRAINING LOW RESPONSES

    Puranen, A. S., & Rusko, H. K. (1996). On- and off-responses of EPO, reticulocytes, 2,3-DPG and plasma volume to living high, training low. Medicine and Science in Exercise and Sports, 28(5), Supplement abstract 947.

    SUMMARY

  33. ALTITUDE TRAINING AND ITS EFFECTS ON HIGHLY-TRAINED SWIMMERS

    Rushall, B. S. (1996). Pre-publication abstract: Altitude training and its effects on highly-trained swimmers. Carlile Coaches' Forum, 3(4), 1-4.

Return to Coaching Science Abstracts' Main Table of Contents.