Robertson, E. Y., Saunders, P. U., Pyne, D. B., Gore, C. J., & Anson, J. M. (2009). Effectiveness of intermittent training in hypoxia combined with live high/train low. A paper presented at the 14th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Oslo, Norway, June 24-27.

red line

This study assessed a combined approach of live high/train low plus some training high to enhance performance gains in a single altitude camp. Well-trained male and female runners (N = 17) trained in normobaric hypoxia for three weeks (2,200 m; four times per week). All other training was performed near sea-level (600 m).During this period, a live high/train high and low group (N = 8) spent 14 hours per day in a hypoxic chamber (3,000 m). The other group (N = 9) lived low (near sea-level 600m) and trained low except for the four ~2,200 m hypoxia simulations. Laboratory (treadmill, VO2max) and field (3-km time-trial) performance tests were completed before, and within 2-4 days of the completion of altitude training. A third 3-km time-trial was completed two weeks after altitude involvement. Hemoglobin mass was measured twice before, weekly, and one week after altitude training.

The live-high/train-low and low-high group substantially improved VO2max, hemoglobin mass, and time-trial performance immediately after altitude training. The live-low/train-high and low group improved VO2max, with only trivial changes in hemoglobin mass and time-trial performance. The magnitudes of improvements in the live-high/train-high group were substantially greater than in the added high training group. Neither group substantially improved 3-km time-trial two weeks after altitude training was completed.

Implication. Three weeks of combined live-high/train-high and low can induce substantial increases in VO2max and hemoglobin mass, and trivial to small improvements in time-trial performance. Three weeks of intermittent exposures to high training while living low was sufficient to improve VO2max, but hemoglobin mass and time-trial performances were essentially unchanged. Living and training high elicited greater enhancements in physiological capacities that underpin competitive performance than did intermittent training high. Those changes were not transferred to a 3-km time-trial performed two weeks after the experience.

Return to Table of Contents for this issue.

red line