Considering Altitude Training?
By The WEDŪ Team
Altitude Training Advantages for Athletes
For athletes, altitude training offers numerous advantages; most notably an increase in red blood cell production. Red blood cells carry oxygen to muscles for endurance sports; by training at altitude, your body adapts to lower oxygen levels by producing more red blood cells - increasing its ability to deliver oxygen directly to muscles for improved endurance and performance.
As previously discussed, altitude training increases the body's capacity to deliver oxygen directly to muscles, leading to improved endurance. Athletes who train at altitude are better able to maintain high performance over extended time periods and excel at endurance sports such as long-distance running, cycling, and triathlons.
Altitude Training Improves Recovery Time Altitude training has been demonstrated to speed recovery time for athletes. This is possible as training at altitude causes your body to produce more erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone which stimulates red blood cell production which in turn supplies oxygen directly to muscles which in turn aid in recovery from workouts or training sessions. Thus, increasing red blood cell production gives athletes better abilities to recover quickly following workouts or sessions.
Training at Altitude Can Increase Lung Capacity
Altitude training can also increase lung capacity. When training at altitude, the body is forced to work harder in delivering oxygen to muscles resulting in an increase in lung capacity that allows athletes to take in more oxygen per breath - this is especially useful when participating in endurance sports such as triathlon or running events where oxygen delivery to muscles is vitally important.
Training at altitude can also help athletes develop mental toughness. Altitude training presents physical and mental challenges for athletes who attempt to train at altitude; athletes must push themselves to adapt to reduced oxygen levels and develop mental toughness - essential skills in endurance sports competition.
Ways to Simulate Altitude Training
While training at altitude offers many benefits for athletes, it is not always feasible. Luckily, there are ways to simulate altitude training including:
Altitude masks are designed to mimic the effects of training at altitude by restricting how much oxygen an athlete takes in through breathing, forcing their bodies to work harder to provide oxygenated muscles with sufficient fuel. Although altitude masks do not provide quite as many benefits of altitude training, they still can provide some of its advantages.
Altitude tents offer another method for mimicking altitude training, simulating conditions like what athletes would experience at high altitudes. Athletes sleep in these tents so their bodies can adjust to lower oxygen levels gradually more over time. While these methods tend to be more cost- and time-effective than altitude masks, altitude tents require significant commitment as well.
Altitude rooms are like altitude tents in that they simulate high-altitude environments by simulating low oxygen environments allowing multiple athletes to train together in low oxygen environments. As with altitude tents, altitude rooms tend to be more effective than altitude masks while being more costly and time consuming to use.
Altitude Training Destinations
Altitude training does not need to be performed indoors - athletes can also train at high-altitude locations worldwide for maximum effect, taking advantage of low oxygen environments to benefit from altitude training. Examples of popular altitude training sites:
Flagstaff, Arizona - Situated at 7,000 feet (about 2.13 km) elevation, Flagstaff is a popular training location for runners, triathletes, and cyclists. The dry climate and high altitude provide ideal training conditions for endurance athletes looking to increase performance.
Mammoth Lakes, California - At an elevation of 8,000 feet (about 2.44 km), Mammoth Lakes has long been known as an attractive training destination for distance runners from Mammoth Track Club and other clubs, such as those at Mammoth Track Club who utilize it to train. Boasting stunning views of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, this picturesque setting makes Mammoth Lakes the perfect outdoor training ground.
St. Moritz, Switzerland - St. Moritz is an idyllic town nestled at an elevation of 6,000 feet (about 1.83 km) in Switzerland's Alps, popularly favored by elite athletes for training at altitude for over 100 years. Boasting breathtaking mountain vistas and access to world-class training facilities, St. Moritz makes an excellent spot for altitude training.
Albuquerque, New Mexico - Sitting atop an elevation of over 5,000 feet (about 1.52 km), Albuquerque has long been recognized as an ideal training location for athletes seeking to increase endurance. Thanks to its dry climate and ample outdoor training options, this city provides athletes with the perfect setting to strengthen their performance across distance runners, cyclists, and triathletes alike.
Iten, Kenya - Situated at an elevation of 7,000 feet (about 2.13 km) in Kenya's Great Rift Valley, Iten has become a favorite spot among distance runners from around the world to train at altitude and utilize Iten's high altitude training facilities.
Altitude training offers athletes many benefits, including increased red blood cell production, endurance improvement, faster recovery time, increased lung capacity, and mental toughness. While training at high altitudes is not always possible, athletes can simulate altitude training using masks, tents, or rooms to simulate its effects. There are also several high-altitude destinations around the world such as Flagstaff, Mammoth Lakes St Moritz Albuquerque Kenya which offer athletes access to low oxygen environments that give athletes access to these benefits of training low oxygen environments.