sports gazette

What is altitude training?

Published: 31 May 2017

Sports Gazette spoke to Professor John Brewer about the effects of altitude training.

Altitude training is becoming more and more popular: athletes such as Mo Farah and Andy Murray are known to have undertaken it in order to perform to the best of their ability.

So how does it work?

The body needs to take in oxygen from the air to make the muscles work however during exercise less oxygen gets to the muscles which is why they then get sore. 

When you go to altitude there is less oxygen in the air and therefore less oxygen in the lungs. So when you take a breath  it is much harder for the blood to extract the oxygen and transport it to the muscles.

WATCH John Brewer explain how altitude training works:

Training at altitude has many advantages when the athletes returns to sea level. They now have the ability to take on more oxygen becasue of their higher oxygen carrying capacity and this means that the muscles work even more efficiently making them faster and able to run for longer without getting sore.

Of course the effects do not last forever and they start to wear off as soon as the altitude is left. This is why there has been a great development in altitude chambers which give all the effects of training at altitude but at sea level. 

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