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By Daniel Pierce

dwight-howard.jpg

Before we get started, let me preface this article by saying we are not asking you to put on the Training Mask™ and go play full court basketball. This information will not make you Dwight Howard (shown in Training Mask 2.0 photo) overnight, but it can potentially give you an advantage over the next guy. With that said, these articles are intended to help you get the most out of using Training Mask. In order to do so, understanding the real world science and studies showing the benefits of normobaric hypoxia during sports specific training will help you get the most out of your Training Mask in your given sports discipline.

Basketball by nature, is considered an anaerobic sport requiring explosive movements with a high degree of agility and coordination to score points. However, a key component to basketball performance is the ability to recover in between sprints up and down the court and this requires a greater capacity for aerobic performance. With greater aerobic capacity, you can recover faster during the short rest intervals and continue to perform anaerobically at a high level.

Interestingly enough, there has been research done exploring the impact of normobaric hypoxic training on basketball players. Now if you’re serious about basketball conditioning, you know that it requires a strategy study, drills, and strength & conditioning off the court to build a complete player. Understanding this, researchers at the Jerzy Kuckuczka Academy of Physical Education in Katowice, Poland decided to put a hypoxic training protocol together for basketball players as one of many tactics to improve all-around performance.

Twelve male basketball players were asked to perform interval hypoxic training sessions within their 6 day per week practice regimen. These consisted of 4-5 bouts of 4 minute high intensity aerobic exercise hypoxic with 4 minutes rest in between bouts hypoxic. This protocol included warm-up and cool down in hypoxia. The results were somewhat staggering after 3 weeks of employing this protocol within their practice regimen. All in all, the players showed an 8% greater maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max) vs their baseline levels at the start of the study. 

FROM THE LAB TO BASKETBALL COURT APPLICATION
Here’s a breakdown of the protocol but remember, understanding your aerobic thresholds is key to succeeding with this protocol. This is not just putting on the Mask during a half court pick-up game. Ideally, this would fall somewhere in your normal strength and conditioning program three times per week. If you don’t know how to figure out your VO2max then please talk to a qualified coach or trainer to assist you.

Warm-up
Jog or Airdyne cycle at 60% VO2max for 10 minutes wearing the Mask increasing to 70% VO2max for 5 minutes

Working-Sets
Perform a set of 90% VO2max that is sustainable for 4 minutes followed by 4 minutes of sustainable 60% VO2max. Repeat this four times wearing the Mask.

Cool-down
A single set of 10 minutes sustainable 60% VO2max wearing the Mask.

Czuba, M. (2013). The Effects of High Intensity Interval Training in Normobaric Hypoxia on Aerobic Capacity in Basketball Players. Journal of Human Kinetics. doi:10.2478/hukin-2013-0073

DISCLAIMER
Please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise or exercise program. When undertaking any exercise activity, there is a risk of injury. You should be healthy and familiar with the proper form, techniques, and preparation for the exercises you undertake and the equipment you use. Always use safe techniques and protective equipment when engaging in exercise. If you are unfamiliar with the proper and safe techniques and equipment for the exercises you intend to perform, please seek advice and assistance before performing them. If you are in poor health, or are handicap, ask for the opinion of your physician or health care provider and exercise only under qualified supervision. Discontinue exercising if you experience any light headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, or discomfort and consult your physician or other health care provider.

*All rights and pictures reserved to their respectful owners.