Truijens, M. J., Rodriguez, F., Townsend, N. E., Stray-Gundersen, J., Gore, C., & Levine, B. D. (2008). The effect of intermittent hypobaric hypoxic exposure and sea level training on submaximal economy in well-trained swimmers and runners. Journal of Applied Physiology, 104, 328-338.

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This study evaluated the effect of intermittent hypobaric hypoxia combined with sea level training on exercise economy Well-trained athletes (13 swimmers, 10 runners) were assigned to either hypobaric hypoxia (simulated altitude of 4,000-5,500 m) or normobaric normoxia (0- 500 m) in a randomized, double-blind design. Both groups rested in a hypobaric chamber three hours per day, five days per week for four weeks. Submaximal economy was measured twice before and after the treatment period using sport-specific protocols. Economy was estimated both from the relationship between oxygen uptake (VO2) and speed, and from the absolute VO2 at each speed using sport-specific protocols. VO2 was measured during the last 60 seconds of each 3-4 minute stage using Douglas bags. Ventilation, heart rate, and capillary lactate concentration were measured during each stage. VO2max was used as a functional indicator of changes in economy.

There was no change in economy within or between groups. No differences in submaximal heart rate, ventilation, or velocity at VO2max were found between groups.

Implication. Four weeks of intermittent hypobaric hypoxia does not improve submaximal performance economy in well-trained athletes.

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