SUPPORT FOR LIVE-HIGH/TRAIN-LOW ENVIRONMENTS
Stray-Gundersen, J., & Levine, B. D. (1997). "Living high-training high and low" is equivalent to "living high-training low" for sea level performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 29(5), Supplement abstract 783.
"We have shown that living high at moderate altitude (2500 m) and training low (1250 m) (HI-LO) improves sea level endurance performance, due to both an increase in hemoglobin concentration and red cell mass volume (acclimatization effect) and the ability to maintain sea level interval training velocity (low altitude training effect). This approach, although successful, can be logistically inconvenient and is limited to relatively few geographic locations. Analysis of our previous data showed that the reduction in velocity of base training at altitude was unrelated to sea level 5 K performance. Therefore, we hypothesize that living at 2500 m, base training between 2000 and 3000 m, and intense training at 1250 m will be equally beneficial to sea level 5K performance." (p. S136)
Accomplished distance runners (N = 13) served as Ss. Two groups were formed and trained at sea level for six weeks. Two groups, one live-high/train-low and the other live-high/base-train-high/intense-train-low were formed and experienced their experimental conditions for four weeks. Base-training at altitude was primarily steady-state work while the low-training was more specific (for 5K) interval work.
There were no significant differences between the two groups. Both conditions improved 5K time and VO2max. Logistical difficulties were reduced in the base-train-high group.
Implication. Living high is a prerequisite for altitude acclimatization effects. However, the proportion of training that is non-specific does not need to be performed at sea level. Only when specific, velocity-important training needs to be performed should training be at sea level to ensure the greatest amount of specific benefit and carry-over to competitive performances. The option demonstrated here makes live-high/train-low a more feasible option for many teams.
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