Altitude Training and its Influence on Physical Endurance in Swimmers
It is possible to plan an altitude training (AT) period in such a way that the enhanced physical endurance obtained as a result of adaptation to hypoxia will appear and can be used to improve performance in competition. Yet finding rationales for usage of AT in highly trained swimmers is problematic. In practice AT, in its various forms, is still controversial, and an objective review of research concentrating on the advantages and disadvantages of AT has been presented in several scientific publications, including in no small part the observations of swimmers. The aim of this article is to review the various methods and present both the advantageous and unfavourable physiological changes that occur in athletes as a result of AT. Moreover, AT results in the sport of swimming have been collected. They include an approach towards primary models of altitude/hypoxic training: live high + train high, live high + train low, live low + train high, as well as subsequent methods: Intermittent Hypoxic Exposure (IHE) and Intermittent Hypoxic Training (IHT). Apnoea training, which is descended from freediving, is also mentioned, and which can be used with, or as a substitute for, the well-known IHE or IHT methods. In conclusion, swimmers who train using hypoxia may be among the best-trained athletes, and that even a slight improvement in physical endurance might result in the shortening of a swimming time in a given competition, and the achievement of a personal best, which is hard to obtain by normal training methods, when the personal results of the swimmer have reached a plateau.
Bailey DM, Davies B. Physiological implications of altitude training for endurance performance at sea level: a review. Br J Sports Med, 1997; 3:183-90.
Beguin, Y. The soluble transferrin receptor: biological aspects and clinical usefulness as quantitative measure of erythropoiesis. Haematologica, 1992; 77: 1-10.
Czuba M, Waskiewicz Z, Zajac A, et al. The effects of intermittent hypoxic training on aerobic capacity and endurance performance in cyclists. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 2011, 10: 175-183.
Eckardt KU, Dittmer J, Neumann R, et al. Decline of erythropoietin formation at continuous hypoxia is not due to feedback inhibition. Am J Physiol, 1990; 258: 1432-1437.
Espersen K, Frandsen H, Lorentzen T, et al. The human spleen as an erythrocyte reservoir in diving-related interventions. J Appl Physiol, 2002; 92: 2071-9.
Friedmann B, Frese F, Menold E, et al. Individual variation in the erythropoietic response to altitude training in elite junior swimmers. Br J Sports Med, 2005; 39: 148-153.
Friedmann B, Bärtsch P. Höhentraining: sinn, unsinn, trends. Orthopäde, 1997; 26: 987-992.
Green H. Altitude acclimatization, training and performance. Journal of Science and Medicinein Sport, 2000; 3: 299-312.
Green HJ, Roy B, Grant S, et al. Increases in submaximal cycling efficiency mediated by altitude acclimatization. J Appl Physiol, 2000b; 89: 1189-1197.
Gore CJ, Hahn AG, Aughey RJ, et al. Live high:train low increases muscle buffer capacity and submaximal cycling efficiency. Acta Physiol Scand, 2001: 173: 275-286.
Gore CJ, Clark SA, Saunders PU. Nonhematological mechanisms of improved sea-level performance after hypoxic exposure. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2007: 39: 1600-1609.
Gore CJ, Rodriguez FA, Truijens MJ, et al. Increased serum erythropoietin but not red cell production after 4 wk of intermittent hypobaric hypoxia (4,000-5,500 m). J Appl Physiol, 2006; 5: 1386-1393.
Gore C, Craig N, Hahn A, Rice A, et al. Altitude training at 2690m does not increase total hemoglobin mass or sea level VO2max in world champion track cyclists. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 1998; 1:156-170.
Gunga H-C, Kirsch KA, Roecker L, et al. Erythropoietin regulations in humans under different environmental and experimental conditions. Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, 2007; 158: 287-297.
Hakkinen K, Keskinen KL, Alen M, Komi PV, Kauhanen H. Serum hormone concentrations during prolonged training in elite endurance-trained and strength-trained athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol, 1989; 59: 233-238.
Heinicke K, Heinicke I, Schmidt W. A three-week traditional altitude training increases hemoglobin mass and red cell volume in elite biathlon athletes. Int J Sports Med, 2005; 26: 350-355.
Hendriksen IJ, Meeuwsen T, The effect of intermittent training in hypobaric hypoxia on sea-level execise: a cross-over study in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2003; 88: 396-403.
Jelkmann W. Erythropoietin: structure, control of production, and function. Physiol Rev, 1992; 72: 449-489.
Jelkmann W. Molecular biology of erythropoietin. Internal Med, 2004; 43: 649-659.
Katayama K, Sato K, Matsuo H. Effect of intermittent hypoxia on oxygen uptake during submaximal exercise in endurance athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2004; 92: 75-83.
Koistinen PO, Rusko H, Irjala K, et al. EPO, red cells, and serum transferrin receptor in continuous andintermittent hypoxia. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2000; 32: 800-804.
Koistinen P, Takala T, Martikkala V, et al. Aerobic fitness influence the response of maximal oxygen uptake and lactate threshold in acute hypobaric hypoxia. Int J Sports Med, 1995; 26: 78-81.
Kozłowski S. Granice przystosowania. Wiedza Powszechna, Warszawa 1986, s 272-273.
Lemaître F, Joulia F, Chollet D. Apnea: A new training method in sport? Med Hypotheses, 2010; 74: 413-415.
Lemaître F, Seifert, L, Polin, D, et al. Apnea training effects on swimming coordination. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2009; 23: 1909-1914.
Lundby C, Calbet JA, Robach P. The response of skeletal muscle tissue to hypoxia. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 2009; 66: 3615-3623.
Martino M, Myers K, Bishop P. Effects of 21 days training at altitude on sea-level anaerobic performance in competitive swimmers (Abstract). Med Sci Sports Exerc, 1995: 27, (5) Supplement, s7
Meeuwsen T, Hendriksen IJM, Holewijn M. Training-induced increases in sea-level performance are enhanced by acute intermittent hypobaric hypoxia. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2001; 84: 283-290.
Mierzwa G, Augustyńska B, Czerwionka-Szaflarska M, et al. Iron status with particular consideration of soluble transferring receptors of children and youth with gastric with or without Helicobacter pylori infection. Polski Merkuriusz Lekarski, 2006; 21: 235-238.
Millet GP, Roels B, Schmitt L, et al. Combining hypoxic methods for peak performance. Sports Med, 2010; 40: 1-25.
Miyashita M, Mutoh Y, Yamamoto Y. Altitude training for improving swimming performance at sea level. The Japanese Society of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine, 1988; 37: 111-16.
Mizuno M, Savard GK, Areskog NH, et al. Skeletal muscle adaptations to prolonged exposure to extreme altitude: a role of physical activity? High Altitude Medicine & Biology, 2008; 9: 311-317.
Nieman D. Immune response to heavy exertion. J Appl Physiol, 1997; 82: 1385-1394.
Niess A, Fehrenbach E, Strobel et al. Evaluation of stress response to interval training at low and moderate altitudes. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2003; 35: 263-269.
Nomura T, Mankyu H, Ooba M. Repeated altitude training effects on elite swimmers. In: Biomechanics and Medicine of Swimming VIII, edited by Keskinen KL, Komi PV, Hollander AP. Jyvaskyla, Finland: Gummerus Printing, 1999, p. 417-422.
Nosaka K, Clarkson PM. Muscle damage following repeated bouts of high force eccentric exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 1995; 27: 1263-1269.
Ogita F. Energetics in competitive swimming and its application for training In: Biomedical. and Medicine of Swimming VIII, 2006; 6: 2, p. 117-121.
Ogita F, Tabata I. The effect of high-intensity intermittent training under a hypobaric hypoxic condition on anaerobic capacity and maximal oxygen uptake. In: Biomechanics and Medicine of Swimming VIII, edited by Keskinen KL, Komi PV, Hollander AP. Jyvaskyla, Finland: Gummerus Printing, 1999, p. 423-427.
Pyne D. Performance an physiological changes in highly trained swimmers during altitude training. Coaching and Sport Science journal, 1998; 3: 42-48.
Rice L, Alfrey CP. The negative regulation of red cell mass by neocytolysis: physiologic and pathophysiologic manifestations. Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry, 2005; 15: 245-250.
Risso A, Turello Marina, Bofoni Franco et al. Red blood cell senescence and neocytolysis in humans after high altitude acclimatization. Blood Cell Mol Dis, 2007; 38: 83-92.
Robach P, Fulla Y, Westerterp KR, Richalet JP. Comparative response of EPO and soluble transferrin receptor at high altitude. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2004: 36: 1493-1498.
Robach P, Schmitt L, Brugniaux JV, et al. Living high-training low: effect on erythropoiesis and aerobic performance in highly-trained swimmers. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2006; 96: 423-433.
Robergs RA, Quintana R, Parker DL et al: Multiple variables explain the variability in the decrement in VO2max during acute hypobaric hypoxia. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 1998; 30: 869-879.
Robertson EY, Aughey RJ, Anson JM, et al. Effects of simulated and real altitude exposure in elite swimmers. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2010; 24: 487-493.
Rodriguez FA, Ventura JL, Casas M, et al. Erythropoietin acute reaction and haematological adaptations to short, intermittent hypobaric hypoxia. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2000; 82: 170-7.
Rodriguez FA, Truijens MJ, Townsend NE, et al. Effects of four weeks of intermittent hypobaric hypoxia on sea level running and swimming performance (Abstract). Med Sci in Sports Exerc, 2004; 36: s338.
Rodríguez FA, Truijens MJ, Townsend NE, et al. Performance of runners and swimmers after four weeks of intermittent hypobaric hypoxic exposure plus sea level training. J Appl Physiol, 2007; 103: 1523-1535.
Roels B, Hellard P, Schmitt L, et al. Is it more effective for highly trained swimmers to live and train at 1200 m than at 1850 m in terms of performance and hematological benefits? Br J Sports Med, 2006; 40: 1-5.
Roels B, Bentley DJ, Coste O, et al. Effects of intermittent hypoxic training on cycling performance in well-trained athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2007; 101: 359-368.
Rusko H, Leppavuori P, Makla P, Leppaluoto J. Living high, training low. A new approach to altitude training at sea level in athletes (Supplemental Abstract). Med Sci Sports Exerc, 1995; 27: 6.
Saunders PU, Telford RD, Pyne DB et al. Improved running economy and increased hemoglobin mass in elite runners after extended moderate altitude exposure. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2009; 12: 67-72.
Schagatay E, Haughey H, Reimers J. Speed of spleen volume changes evoked by serial apneas. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2005; 93: 447-52.
Schmitt L, Millet G, Robach P, et al. Influence of "living high-training low" on aerobic performance and economy of work in elite athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2006; 97: 627-636.
Semenza GL. HIF-1: mediator of physiological and pathophysiological responses to hypoxia. J Appl Physiol, 2000; 88: 1474-1480.
Szygula Z. Erythrocytic system under the influence of physical training and exercise. Sports Med, 1990; 10: 181-197.
Tachi M, Okuno K, Wakayoshi K. Repeated high altitude training for the Sydney Olympic Games. In: Biomechanics and Medicine of Swimming IX, edited by Chatard JC, Publications de I' Universitê de Saint-Ètienne 2002, p. 415-419.
Truijens MJ, Toussaint HM, Dow J, Levine BD. Effect of high-intensity hypoxic training on sea-level swimming performances. J Appl Physiol, 2003; 94: 733-743.
Truijens MJ, Rodríguez FA, Townsend NE, et al. The effect of intermittent hypobaric hypoxic exposure and sea level training on submaximal economy in well-trained swimmers and runners. J Appl Physiol, 2008; 104: 328-37.
Vogt M, Hoppeler H. Is Hypoxia Training Good for Muscles and Exercise Performance? Prog Cardiovasc Dis, 2010; 52: 525-533.
Vogt M, Puntschart A, Geiser J, et al. Molecular adaptations in human skeletal muscle endurance training under simulated hypoxic conditions. J Appl Physiol 2001, 91: 173-182.
Wehrlin JP, Zuest P, Hallen J, Marti B. Live high-train low for 24 days increases hemoglobin mass and red cell volume in elite endurance athletes. J Appl Physiol, 2006; 100: 1938-1945.
Wehrlin JP, Hallen J: Linear decrease in VO2max and performance with increasing altitude in endurance athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2006, 96: 404-412.
Wilber RL. Application of altitude/hypoxic training by elite athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2007: 39: 1610-24.
Wilber RL, Drake SD, Hesson JL, et al. Effect of altitude training on serum creatine kinase activity and serum cortisol concentration in triathletes. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2000; 81: 140-147.
Zoll J, Ponsot E, Dufour S, et al. Exercise training in normobaric hypoxia in endurance runners. III. Muscular adjustments of selected gene transcripts. J Appl Physiol, 2006; 100: 1258-1266.