High-altitude training is a proven method for increasing endurance. But let’s be honest—training at high altitudes is simply not an option for most athletes.
The Elevation Training Mask 2.0 is a valid substitute. The mask is designed to safely restrict airflow, simulating altitudes between 3,000 and 18,000 feet. To train at the equivalent of a high altitude, you won’t have to relocate your workout to a top of a mountain.
The Concept of High-Altitude Training
At higher altitudes, the amount of oxygen available to breathe is reduced. And when there’s less oxygen to breathe, the body has to work harder to perform. At first, you get tired faster and feel like you’re out of breath. That’s why it’s often difficult for visiting sports teams to play in cities like Denver—the mile-high city.
But over time, the body adapts and becomes more efficient at using oxygen—which basically means your conditioning improves. According to its manufacturer, the Training Mask “promotes increased lung capacity by forcing you to inhale fuller, deeper breaths. When your body adapts to the resistance, your lungs will be trained to take deeper breaths and use oxygen more efficiently.”
Then, when you perform without the mask—or at a lower altitude—your cardiorespiratory system works more effectively, shuttling the increased supply of oxygen to your muscles. It’s analogous to doing Push-Ups with a plate on your back, then suddenly the plate is taken off.
Working Out with the Mask
To put the mask on, simply place it over your mouth and nose and attach the Velcro straps around the back of your head. Two two holes in the straps allow them to wrap comfortably around your ears.
You adjust the simulated elevation by swapping out filters on each side of the mask per the instructions provided.
Training with the mask is a fairly standard affair. Go through your routine as you normally would. Right off the bat in your warm-up, you’ll probably notice that your breathing is a bit labored, and this will become more noticeable as your workout progresses.
If your workout goal is to lift heavy or powerfully, avoid using the mask and focus on your main priority. Wearing the mask may limit the amount of weight you can lift and how quickly you recover between sets.
However, the mask is a great way to instantly increase the intensity of sub-maximal lifts or fast-paced workouts like High-Intensity Interval Training. Always start at the lowest altitude and gradually work your way up. If you find yourself gasping for air at 3,000 feet, it’s OK to remove the mask and continue without it. Like with any exercise, you need to be patient and understand that progress comes slowly.
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