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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2008 Aug;18 Suppl 1:11-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2008.00828.x.

Classical altitude training.

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Internal Medicine VII, Sports Medicine, University Hospital Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld, Heidelberg, Germany.


For more than 40 years, the effects of classical altitude training on sea-level performance have been the subject of many scientific investigations in individual endurance sports. To our knowledge, no studies have been performed in team sports like football. Two well-controlled studies showed that living and training at an altitude of >or=1800-2700 m for 3-4 weeks is superior to equivalent training at sea level in well-trained athletes. Most of the controlled studies with elite athletes did not reveal such an effect. However, the results of some uncontrolled studies indicate that sea-level performance might be enhanced after altitude training also in elite athletes. Whether hypoxia provides an additional stimulus for muscular adaptation, when training is performed with equal intensity compared with sea-level training is not known. There is some evidence for an augmentation of total hemoglobin mass after classical altitude training with duration >or=3 weeks at an altitude >or=2000 m due to altitude acclimatization. Considerable individual variation is observed in the erythropoietic response to hypoxia and in the hypoxia-induced reduction of aerobic performance capacity during training at altitude, both of which are thought to contribute to inter-individual variation in the improvement of sea-level performance after altitude training.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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