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The effect of intermittent hypoxic training on performance

Hamlin, Michael J.
Marshall, Helen C.
Hellemans, J.
Ainslie, P. N.
Anglem, N.
Fields of Research
This study aimed to verify whether the “live low, train high” approach is beneficial for endurance and/or anaerobic cycling performance. Sixteen well-trained athletes completed 90 min of endurance training (60-70% of heart rate reserve) followed by two 30-s all-out sprints (Wingate test), daily for 10 consecutive days. Nine subjects (IHT group) trained with an F₁O₂ set to produce arterial oxygen saturations of ~88% to ~82%, while 7 subjects (placebo group) trained while breathing a normal gas mixture (F₁O₂ = 0.21). Four performance tests were conducted at sea-level including a familiarisation and baseline trial, followed by repeat trials at 2 and 9 days post-intervention. Relative to the placebo group mean power during the 30-s Wingate test increased by 3.0% (95% Confidence Limits, CL ± 3.5%) 2 days, and 1.7% (± 3.8%) 9 days post-IHT. Changes in other performance variables (30-s peak power, 20-km mean power, 20-km oxygen cost) were unclear. During the time trial the IHT participants‟ blood lactate concentration, RER and SpO₂ relative to the placebo group, was substantially increased at 2 days post-intervention. The addition of IHT into the normal training programme of well-trained athletes produced worthwhile gains in 30-s sprint performance possibly through enhanced glycolysis.
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