You might have seen people doing the workout with elevation training mask, but do elevation training masks work, let us find out what is this mask.
There are many people who use elevation training mask in the gym while working out, you might have seen many and wanted to try, but don’t know whether this is effective or people just copy a Bane from Batman.
Elevation training mask is a device in which a multi-level resistance system is used, aimed at reducing air flow in the person’s airways.
A serious athlete must strive to push his limits, using various ways of complicating his own training to achieve new goals. Beginners will hardly be able to raise their weight, and the old athletes has to use a different kind of weighting. When this is not enough, people heard about a magic training mask and immediately buy it. But if there really any benefit from training with this mask, which, according to marketers, is trying to strengthen the cardiorespiratory system, imitating a low level of oxygen?
The truth is that training masks do not imitate the workout at altitude (in the mountains) to improve endurance, as the advertisement claims. In combine, some athletes, in general, wear them, performing strength training (bodybuilding, powerlifting), which are built on an entirely different system anaerobic metabolism, which does not depend on the level of oxygen entering the lungs. In this case, it is even less useful.
Mask and imitation of altitude
Based on the school physics program, the higher we climb the mountains, the less atmospheric pressure becomes. The influence of oxygen or the whole amount of oxygen also becomes smaller. In other words, the air there is much more sparse, so in the mountains and breathing difficulties. On this basis, there is a decrease in oxygen content of a blood, which drives to the fact that a smaller amount of oxygen is transported and used by the working muscle fibers.
When the organism undergoes a lowering partial stress at altitude, it reacts with an increase in the content of myoglobin, hemoglobin, the density of the capillaries and, consequently, increases the delivery of oxygen to the muscles. These adaptations can give you an advantage in performance.
Nevertheless, this method takes a long time, of life and exercise at high altitude, rather than 40 minutes rowing with an expensive analogue gas mask!
In addition, while you are not adapted to the altitude, performance is reduced. VO2 max (the indicator of the maximum volume of oxygen per kilogram of weight) truly reduces by approximately 10% every 100 meter. In addition, the power and volume of training are reduced, which leads to a decrease in the quality of training and reduces the effectiveness of work.
If a person trains at high altitude for long enough, then adapts to low partial pressure. Of course, this gives some advantages for the athlete’s endurance, such as improved hemoglobin concentration, enhanced capillary density, developed mitochondrial and improved buffer capacity.
However, the disadvantage of training at high altitude is that any adaptation usually disappears within 3 to 4 weeks. Importantly, the results of training the change in characteristics after training and adaptation in attempts to simulate a hypoxic environment are at best mixed (ambiguous), with most of them showing no advantage.
Mask for aerobics or running
Reduced partial air pressure at altitude, this is far from the same as the limitation of air supply with a masks. In fact, there is no one even with a superficial knowledge of the physiology of the body, which can confirm the ability of masks to increase the concentration of hemoglobin in the blood.
Training of the basic respiratory muscles is an amazingly useful and well-used medium in people with the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD ). This can lead to an increase in the tone of the muscles of inspiration and endurance.
Several studies confirm the view that training the muscles of respiratory function improves in athletes. However, the problem is that training the muscles of the respiratory system brings little to improve the efficiency of the exercise intensity.
Undoubtedly, mask training will be more difficult than usual, your heart rate will get increased, you will breathe more intensively, and you will have a greater concentration of lactate in the blood with submaximal exercises. All this can be expected. Restricting oxygen, you make your body much more efficient at any given load. Nevertheless, the strength and workload that can be achieved without a training mask would be much better than any exercise with it.
It increases your diaphragm power and being able to breathe out and breathe more powerful, you do zero for your aerobic ability or strength. View at elite athletes, they are incredibly effective in metabolism, and their progress depends on it. A powerful diaphragm and stronger breathing decrease this effectiveness, effectively inhibiting work.
Regardless of your type of training, most likely, you want to improve your fitness. Exercise to develop your maximum oxygen volume, strength and speed and anything that can improve your endurance. All these actions are aimed at improving the fitness level, and none of them is improved by an elevation training mask.
Anaerobic (Strength) Workouts with mask
This leads us to the use of masks and power exercises. Let’s use warm-up before training as an illustration. A set of 15 to 20 sit-ups takes about 20 seconds. The use of oxygen is not the main determining factor for such short-term, high intensity work approaches. However, with a mask, your training is likely to suffer because of your limited breathing while the ascent.
Instead of long, qualitative breathing, synchronized with each rise, you get small breaths that do absolutely nothing and do not help. You cannot perform the respiration accurately because you cannot get sufficient air to equalize the pressure.
There is zero evidence that masks will help you in strength training. You will undoubtedly achieve a higher intensity and quality of training, breathing easily than if you want to lift less weight and make fewer approaches because of the mask.
So, do elevation training masks work
Almost all the articles about the benefits of training masks, such as “Elevation training mask 2.0”, “Phantom training mask”, if something just the benefit, it is primarily a study conducted in Japan by the Institute of Sports Science in 2014. It showed an increase in endurance, muscle mass and strength. But what is interesting is that the subjects used not mask, but special pressure chambers with liquefied air. In addition, other similar studies were not so unambiguous.
But more than a large study on the effectiveness of training masks, conducted in the US in 2016, did not confirm their benefit in increasing the above-mentioned indicators. As his results say, the mask does not imitate the altitude, but works, possibly, as a breathing simulator. But its wearing did not improve the function of the lungs, the inspiration force, and even less stimulated changes in the level of hemoglobin or hematocrit.
So, is it worth buying elevation training mask? The price for them varies widely, depending on the country and model. Usually, the highest quality original Elevation 2.0 masks cost about $ 50. You can buy them both in your country and order international delivery from Amazon.com. Cheaper models or non-original products start at about $ 20. But, do elevation training masks work.
If you want to take advantage of the high altitude, for example, to increase the number of red blood cells, then you should lead a fairly stationary life at altitudes, and then do training at lower heights to notice a significant difference in training.
As the air becomes denser at higher altitudes, your body reacts by generating more RBC to increase oxygen exchange even if you just sit or sleep. This rise in oxygen concentration in the blood can helps you in your training, but training at high height will result in reduced productivity and slow progress.
From the physiological point of view, there is no research or evidence of the usefulness of the elevation training masks, and they in no way affect the conditions of training at altitude. Your money and reserve of power can be better spent elsewhere.