Jongekrijg, L., Clancy, S., Murawske, J., & Davis, J. E. (2013). Effects of aerobic and anaerobic training on aerobic capacity and blood hematology at 3,400 meters. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 2173.

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"Many previous studies have examined the effects of aerobic training programs on aerobic capacity and blood hematology at altitude. However, to our knowledge, no studies have compared the benefits of aerobic and anaerobic training on these responses."

This study determined the differential effects of aerobic and anaerobic training on aerobic capacity and blood hematology during moderate altitude exposure. Ss (N = 5) were assigned to an aerobic training group, N = 4 to an anaerobic training group, and N = 5 to a control group. Testing occurred at five different times: i) sea-level, ii) upon acute exposure to 3,400 m, iii) after one week at altitude, iv) two weeks following acclimatization at 3,400 m, and v) upon return to sea-level. During each series of testing VO2max , hemoglobin concentration, hematocrit, maximum heart rate, and oxygen saturation were collected. Both the anaerobic and aerobic training protocols were five days in duration and completed on a cycle ergometer. The anaerobic training program consisted of 12 bouts of exercise at 120% VO2max for 30 seconds with 90 seconds rest, while the aerobic training included exercise at 55% of workload for 30 minutes.

Aerobic training increased VO2max to a greater extent after five days of training compared to an anaerobic program. After the training programs were completed and seven additional days of acclimatization, the anaerobic and aerobic groups increased their VO2max . However, there was a greater increase in the aerobic group than the anaerobic group. In all groups, hemoglobin concentration increased significantly from sea-level to after five days at altitude and after two weeks at altitude. The rate of increase of hemoglobin from acute exposure to after two-weeks at altitude was greatest in the aerobic group relative to the anaerobic and control groups (Aerobic = 1.5 .5 g/dl, Anaerobic = .8 .6 g/dl, Control = .9 .6 g/dl).

Implication. Completing an aerobic training program at altitude is important for increasing aerobic capacity at altitude. Although a hematological response was observed in all groups, aerobic training accelerates the response relative to no exercise or anaerobic exercise training.

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