In this two part article, we will discuss the increasing popularity of Intermittent Hypoxic Training and the underpinning physiology behind it, we will then move into the benefits and how the training intervention can improve your performance, regardless of your ability.

With endurance athletes becoming ever fitter, leaner and stronger through the evolution of sports science, various training methods have come into the lime light with the recent philosophy of ‘marginal gains’. One of the training methods now used by many elite athletes is Intermittent Hypoxic Training, and you can try it at OTE Performance Centre.


Introduction to Intermittent Hypoxic Training

Intermittent Hypoxic Training (IHT) is a relatively new method of training, having only been undertaken by athletes for the past two decades. IHT has become increasingly popular due to the advantages this training intervention holds over more traditional approaches to altitude training, such as live high – train low (LHTL) where athletes have to live in mountainous climates for prolonged durations. But unless we own a villa in the French Alps or on Mount Teide in Lanzarote, this is just not an option! Therefore IHT where high intensity interval training sessions (HIIT) are completed may unlock your full potential as an athlete without the commitment of a long training camp at altitude.

As traditional interval training at sea level produces improvements in muscular oxidative potential, endurance capacity, improved repeated sprint potential and max sprint power, the introduction of hypoxia (less oxygen) to interval training could yield a greater performance improvement in comparison to a traditional approach.1,2,3 

 


Current literature has shown that repeated bouts of hypoxic training could potentially boost both biochemical and structural alterations in skeletal muscle which improves the oxidative processes in muscle cells.9,10,11,12  When IHT is completed as part of a training block, an enhancement in oxygen utilization and an improved behaviour of fast twitch muscle fibres is seen. This is believed to be due to three potential mechanisms;

  1. Increased vasodilation in order to improve muscle blood flow to match that of sea level exercise.
  2. Improved microvascular oxygen delivery to fast twitch muscle fibres due to their high levels of fractional oxygen extraction.
  3. Specific molecular adaptations (such as Hypoxic inducible factor-1) for oxygen sensing pathways.13

In part two, we will discuss how IHT can have an improved impact on your training, whether that is anaerobic performance, aerobic performance or body compositional changes.

Interested in doing some altitude training at the OTE Performance Centre? Book online here.



An Introduction to Hypoxic Training
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Intermittent Hypoxic Training: Part Two
Read Article

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