If you can’t get to the mountain then bring the mountain to you, and that’s how hypoxic training works – altitude training done at sea level.
The higher you train above sea level, the less oxygen there is. It works because when your kidneys sense there isn’t enough oxygen in the blood to fuel your exercise they release a hormone that prompts the body to make more red blood cells. They begin to carry the small amounts of oxygen that you’re getting from your lungs into your muscles.
After a few sessions this does lead to performance improvements, especially when you train at sea level because you’ll have more red blood cells floating in your blood. And they carry additional energy-yielding oxygen to your muscles.
Is this the exclusive pursuit of endurance aficionados or can everyone benefit? Read on to find out everything you need to get a chokehold on improving your performance.
How long do the effects does last?
Training with your head in the clouds doesn’t give never-ending endurance because the advantage only lasts for 10 to 15 days, found research in Journal of Applied Physiology. That’s because your body will eventually have to return to normal. This is why endurance athletes often live in high altitudes and compete at sea level.
The difference between hypoxic and altitude training
Hypoxic is altitude training at sea level, but living at high altitudes means there is no escape to normal levels of O2. Which is better?
Well, research in High Altitude Medicine and Biology compared altitude and hypoxic training and found that living in high altitudes rather than training at low altitudes improves VO2max by 13% (a benchmark for aerobic fitness) and can boost long to medium distance running times (events lasting more than 20 minutes).
Not everyone has a mountain-top gym so just make the best of what you have available.
Will it improve strength athletes?
This type of training is a well-known plaything of endurance athletes but it can also improve the size of your guns.
Research in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance found that it actually boosts anaerobic performance and might help you build more muscle and strength than training in normal environments.
There is some controversy to this because each person is likely to respond differently, so trial and error might be the best approach to see if it works for you.
Does it really burn more calories?
Doing your fat burning in a hypoxic chamber might deliver a leaner stomach.
Construction workers who worked at high altitudes reduced their body fat by 10.2% within one month of moving from a sea level site, found a study at the Research Center for High Altitude Medicine.
It’s thought this happens because high altitudes reduce your appetite while your body begins to rely more on stored carbs and fats for energy rather than just the food you eat. An awesome advantage of hypoxic training for those looking to hold on to visible abs year round
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