Frese, F., Eisenkolb, E., Schmidt, W. F., Bartsch, P., & Friedmann, B. (2008). Effects of repetitive training at low altitude on erythropoiesis in elite 400m and 800m runners. ACSM 55th Annual Meeting Indianapolis, Presentation Number, 1266.

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This study evaluated if repetitive low altitude training camps cause an increase in erythropoiesis and total blood hemoglobin. Elite 400 m and 800 m runners (M = 4; F = 4) performed training camps in South Africa (1,300 m) and Namibia (1,650 m) for 20 and 22 days, interspersed by 19 days of sea-level training. A control group (N = 9) of well-trained runners (M = 6; F = 3) experienced comparable sea-level training.

Total blood hemoglobin increased over the two altitude training camps but did not change in the sea level control group. Erythropoietin was significantly increased by 28% on days 10 and 17 in South Africa and by 33-45% on days 2, 10, and 17 compared to the values measured after altitude training.

Implication. Repetitive training at low altitude (1,300-1,650 m) induces an increase in erythropoiesis and an augmentation of total blood hemoglobin. [Whether these changes translate into improved performances at sea level or low altitude was not determined.]

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