BIASED ADVOCACY FOR ALTITUDE TRAINING
Miyashita, M. (1996). Key factors in success of altitude training for swimming. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 67, Supplement to issue 3, 76-78.
This is an article based on opinion; ". . . the author believes that there must be key factors for obtaining a positive effect of altitude training on athletic performance at sea level." (p. S-76).
This editor is somewhat amazed that an item like this would appear in an historically respected journal such as the RQES.
An argument is made: if physiological changes occur in athletes as a result of altitude acclimatization, and those changes are related to some of the changes that occur in exercise adaptation, then performance must be improved at sea level. To substantiate this belief, the only evidence presented is an anecdotal story that "a top Japanese swimmer demonstrated very well" that after training at altitude for three weeks a subsequent sea level performance improved. At altitude, the same event's performance was worse.
It is proposed that hard sea level training is more detrimental for swimmers than altitude training. This is based on the debatable proposal that sea level training produces a decrease in hemoglobin content and an increase in creatine phosphokinase. Thus, the benefit of altitude training would come from increased hemoglobin.
Further on in the article, the author reported conflicting results for effects of altitude training on sea level performances of Japanese team members. The article finally concludes with traditional parameters for successful altitude training experiences. Selected references that support the paper's central theme are included in the concluding section.
Implication. This is a biased testimony proposing that altitude training is a valuable experience for high level athletes. It has no scientific validity or structure. It is not an acceptable datum for supporting the assertion that altitude training benefits sea level performances.
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