My Thoughts On The Altitude Training Mask

What is it?

The goal of the mask is to simulate training at high altitudes by limiting the airflow into the lungs making the workout more “efficient”.

I vaguely remember strolling into the zoo (big box gym) a few years back and seeing a guy with a Bane (batman) look-alike mask repping kipping pull-ups. I thought to myself:

“Damn he looks ridiculous!”

“I wonder if he has any idea of what that does or if its beneficial at all to the general population or athletes only?”

Last week I was asked on three consecutive days what I thought of these elevation-training masks which has lead me to write this blog post.

I first set about to research the topic that leads me straight to the main distributors wesbite, they claim the mask will increase: lung capacity, anaerobic threshold, oxygen efficiency, mental & physical stamina, energy production and mental focus.

Fairly big and outlandish claims for a $100 piece of equipment.

Side note: if it’s reached the masses in the way it has, the marketing department has done a great job selling the sh** out of it.

Other claims

·      Time spent training is cut by two-thirds

·      Surface area and elasticity of the alveoli increased

·      Helps transport more oxygen via red blood cells

·      Maximise oxygen absorption

·      Increase quality of life

·      Lower heart rate for the same load

·      Reduce medication and symptoms

·      Enhance your ability to recovery from injuries

Sounds to good to be true doesn’t it?

You’re telling me for $100ish I can get all those benefits?

Wow, sign me up!

Wait…

Ill spare you the science of each claim.

I’ve scoured the archives of research and found minimal articles relating the attitude training mask that aren’t associated with the various companies sponsoring a study. 

I’ve asked many credible sources in the field what their thoughts are, they all coincided with my original thought.

They are useless.

There are no studies that back up the claims stated throughout the marketing of the “altitude training mask”. It’s a circus of an industry where everyone is looking for a new fad.

You can’t replicate training at altitude when you’re not at altitude.

You can’t train for altitude in a gym.

To reap the benefits of altitude training it is suggested that you would need to spend an extended period of time at altitude (21+ days), with a height of around 3500m above sea level.

Once you come down from altitude the effects of altitude training slowly subside so unless you live on mountain, its going to diminish.

If that mask actually worked you would need to use it very consistently, to the end of your training life which is ridiculous!

Tim Frey MS.c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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