Many years ago, I ventured out to the Colorado Rockies to do some Mountain biking, climbing and Skydiving. I read that training or exercising at a much higher altitude would be difficult initially and required an adaptation process at the cellular level. My initial response to living in the different altitude was about 3 days of fatigue, some dizziness, headache, and lethargic. My body adapted quickly to this change and the experience was invigorating. I also heard that many endurance athletes would train at higher altitudes to improve their performance, but with travel and convenience issues that was done by only a few of the select elite athletes.
The human body adapts to stressors and changes in the environments in order to survive and live. High altitude training, the reduction of Oxygen greater than 5,000 ft above sea level the promotes an altered muscle metabolism and increased mass of hemoglobin and Red Blood Cells. The body adapts by increasing the size of the cells and optimizes how muscles work more efficiently in this environment.
Recently, advancements in training have given the rise to multiple options in altitude simulation tents or rooms and the most effective is the mask based hypoxicator system (Elevation Training Mask). Altitude training is called Hypoxic training which involves living and or training at a reduced oxygen level for the purpose of improved athletic performance or health benefits. The mask reduces the partial pressure of oxygen while keeping the barometric pressure the same with the convenience of training at home or gym. A Finland scientist, Heikki Rusko, concluded that a high altitude house which controls the partial pressure of the oxygen which was equivalent to O2 levels at higher altitudes, showed improvements in EPO and red blood cells with performance improvements in speed, strength, endurance and recovery.
While living at a high altitude does show changes in physiology, the intensity of the workouts are altered due to reduced oxygen and the inability to train at high levels of exertion in higher altitudes. Factor variations in training programs, time spent and individual athlete in multiple studies showed different results and the benefits occurred mostly with endurance aerobic type athletes. Atmospheric pressure is the primary difference in the benefit of attitude training. At sea level, the air is denser with more particles of gas per liter while a higher altitude has less molecules of gas and the air is much denser. Higher altitudes cause a physiological change in the body by reducing the partial pressure of gases that are in the body. Specific athletic performancements are caused by these survival adaptation processes in the body.
American Researchers claim this is primarily due to increased red blood cell volume, while Australian and New England Researchers believe that this is caused by optimizing the body’s ability to use oxygen more effienctly. Increased Red Blood cell volume occurs when with a decreased oxygen saturation of hemoglobin; the body produces additional red blood cells. This is thru EPO secretion by the kidneys which causes the bone marrow to produce RBC. This stressor adaption causes improved oxygen delivery and hemoglobin saturation levels. This process will occur over time, but it is uncertain of this adaption process timeframe. More effective use of oxygen by the muscular system are also related to ph regulation, glucose transport, growth of new blood cell vessels (angiogenesis), glucose metabolic breakdown and ATP utilization in the Krebs Cycle. In the Journal of Applied Physiology, Researchers concluded that genetic changes occur and that properties of the mitochondrial skeletal muscle adjust to the environment. Research concluded in Switzerland revealed that high level intensity exercises under this altitude hypoxia training causes structural and molecular changes that improve oxygen transport and the utilization by skeletal muscles. The human body is capable of adapting to stressors or environments to work more efficiently and improve how it performs cellular or athletically. I have found that simulated Altitude training while using the Elevation Training mask will do several things to our workouts which are performance based, physiological and mental focus also. The above research conclusions speak for the validity of using the MASK to improve your workouts and training intensities. The MASK is a highly effective device that changes your cellular and structural mechanisms and has improved my performance and health on the road and in the gym.
Below is a highlighted copy of (RBC) Red Blood Cell Counts being raised by using the Elevation Training Mask for 6 weeks
Subject used the Elevation Training Mask 5 times weekly for 45 Minute intervals during normal cardio sessions.
This concludes the ELEVATION TRAINING MASK DR. JOSEPH SHEPPAR CLINICAL