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Altitude training

Today’s #Sciencefriday is about altitude training. What positive effects can we expect and how long can we expect them? If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us!  

What is altitude training?

  • Targeted use of oxygen deficiency (hypoxia)

What does altitude training do?

  • Increased performance
  • Withstand higher load intensities
  • More efficient oxygen production and supply
  • Improved endurance capacity

How does altitude training work?

  • With increasing altitude the air pressure decreases → body adapts 
  • Breathing is accelerated, pulse increases
  • Erythropoietin (EPO) hormone is released
  • EPO stimulates the bone marrow to produce new red blood cells 
  • More hemoglobin is available, which binds oxygen 
  • Oxygen transport capacity is increased and thus the endurance performance 
  • Training economy is improved at lower altitudes/ sea level 

How can altitude training help the athlete?

  • Better oxygen supply to muscles
  • Faster regeneration time 
  • Improved fat metabolism

How long should an athlete train at altitude?

  • Minimum stay: 7 – 10 days
  • Optimal duration: three to five weeks
  • If you train intensively during this time, it is very likely that the above mentioned effects can be achieved

How long do the effects last?

  • Final effect: 3-5 weeks, sometimes longer
  • The lifespan of red blood cells is limited (120 days) → longer effects of altitude training are not possible 

Are there also negative effects of altitude training?

  • Performance slumps are possible due to an increased training load or as a negative effect to altitude

Sources

  1. Schuetz, F. (2017). Web. Höhentraining-Grundlagen, Tipps und für wen es sich lohnt.  Aufgerufen am 17. August 2020 unter: https://www.bergfreunde.de/basislager/hoehentraining-tipps-tricks/
  2. Grüning, M. (2019). Web. Das bringt Höhentraining wirklich.  Aufgerufen am 17. August 2020 unter: https://www.runnersworld.de/training-basiswissen/das-bringt-hoehentraining-wirklich/
  3. Häußer, J. (2017). Web. Wie funktioniert Höhentraining und wie reagiert der Körper auf die Hypoxie? Aufgerufen am 17. August 2020 unter: https://sportsandmedicine.com/de/2017/02/wie-funktioniert-hoehentraining-hypoxie/
  4. Friedmann, B. (2000). Web. Enticklungen im Höhentraining: Trends und Fragen. Aufgerufen am 19. August 2020 unter: https://www.germanjournalsportsmedicine.com/fileadmin/content/archiv2000/heft12/a06_1200.pdf