Let’s say that you’re going for a quiet jog in the park and suddenly, a fellow runner comes towards you, but you notice something unusual: he is wearing some kind of mask, which really reminds you of the first time you saw Darth Vader in Star Wars. Before thinking about anything else, you should know that he’s actually wearing it to boost his fitness performance and it’s very useful!
Specifically, we’re talking about an elevation training mask, which simulates training at higher altitudes, by limiting the air flow to the mouth and nose.
Ok, but why would you want to do such thing, to make it easier to breathe? Well, there is an explanation for this!
It appears that an oxygen-deprived environment increases red blood cell production, thus increasing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. And the latter has been linked with improvements in VO2 max and endurance performance!
While the positive effects of high-altitude training on athletic performance are obvious, scientists are trying to find out the best method to tap these effects. And by this, we also mean finding out if elevation training masks replicate the conditions and boost your performance.
According to a recent research, conducted by the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, the masks could indeed have some performance-boosting benefits!
The study which led to this results consisted in testing 24 moderately trained college students with a cycling ergometer test, while researchers measured their VO2 max, alongside ventilator threshold, respiratory compensation threshold, maximal heart rate, as well as the maximal power output. After this, all of them went through a six-week high-intensity cycling training program. 12 of them wore elevation training masks.
After the program was over, the initial tests were retaken.
The results have shown that VO2 max increase, alongside overall power output and lung capacity, didn’t increase that much. Still, the masks helped improving the amount of time each participant who had one could exercise without getting winded, but also the level of exercise intensity each person could handle without getting winded. Basically, these elevation training masks can help you go a bit longer and harder when it comes to your fitness sessions.
What’s worth mentioning is that these masks can’t exactly replicate the training conditions from higher altitudes, as the blood oxygen level is diluted by just 2 percent, which is way lower than the real feeling when you’re on top of a mountain.
However, being a better athlete doesn’t resume just to wearing a mask…
It’s about constantly trying to be better and break your own records, as well as the desire to take on new challenges! In a nutshell, that is.
If you want to become a better athlete, you can start by checking out Fitness 360’s location, in Clearwater, Florida. Here you can find all the equipment you need, as well as professional advice, well-needed in your path to looking your best and staying healthy.
Picture Credit: trainingmask