do elevation training masks work?

Should You Invest In An Elevation Training Mask?

Time for our Workout Of The Month. Each month we take a look at a different exercise and break it down by movement, how to do it, and discuss some of the positive versus negative impact that it can have to you and your level of fitness. Some workout’s of the month breakdown how to do a common exercise, others feature a specific workout. This month we’ll be looking at a newer concept of training: using an elevating training mask to enhance your cardio. Is it worth the investment using an elevation training mask or is it all hype?

Can An Elevation Training Mask Improve Your Performance?

elevation training mask
Maybe you’ve been at the gym, out for a run, or at your favorite hiking spot and you see someone running past you wearing one of these things – an elevation training mask. The concept behind an elevation training mask is rather simple: it’s supposed to increase resistance in the lungs essentially mimicking the effects of higher altitude training. Higher altitudes have lower oxygen levels so essentially, the elevation training mask is supposed to increase your lung capacity and increase the way your body delivers oxygen to your cells. That’s what the elevation training mask is supposed to do, but do the masks really work? I’ve never personally used one so I’m not sure what it’s like however, there are some studies starting to come out in regards to their use.

Increasing Your Performance With An Elevation Training Mask

Study One: Five healthy males about age twenty-seven with an average body fat of thirteen percent performed treadmill exercise for twenty minutes.

The Results: At mask settings of 9,000 and 15,000 feet, the mask induced low oxygen levels in the blood – the setting of 3,000 feet showed no major reduction in oxygen saturation in the body. However, there was no major difference between a drop in oxygen levels between the 9,000 and 15,000 foot setting.

The Interesting Finding: The elevation mask reduced oxygen levels by causing people to re-breathe their own carbon dioxide.

Study Two: Fourteen men and women performing high intensity interval training on stationary cycles twice a week for five weeks.

The Results: Ventilation and tidal volume were increased as well as the respiratory muscles of the participants strengthened as well. Males, not females had increases in power (attributing increases in power to the use of an elevation mask can be questionable and doesn’t necessarily show it’s the mask versus the cycling that caused the increase in power).

The Interesting Finding: None in my opinion. This study was financed by a company that makes elevation training masks and is heavily biased and shouldn’t be used.

Using An Elevation Mask With Your Day To Day Training

Do Elevation Training Masks Really Work?

This is an elevation training mask. The theory behind it is to decrease oxygen levels in your blood causing your body to adapt to perform better under athletic conditions. Check out the mask to see if it’s right for you.
Sure why not? But there are a couple of things you should take into consideration before dropping your oxygen saturation. First of all, most of the research behind training at low oxygen altitudes show the most benefit from high intensity interval training. So you could throw on an elevation mask while you throw some weights around at the gym but it probably won’t be that beneficial. Now, high intensity interval training, that’s a whole other story. The primary research is still out, but if elevation training masks hold true to mimic high elevation locations with low oxygen, then there may be some benefit to them. Just make sure you’re doing some really good, heart raising activity. Also, start off with the lower settings and work your way up. But then again, maybe you’re just training harder and breathing better. Have a good workout, now check out a mask:

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Sources:

1. Christmas, K., Gillum, T., Granados, J., Harton, H., Jansen, L., Kuennen, M. “Elevation Training Mask” Induces Hypoxemia But Utilizes A Novel Feedback Signaling Mechanism. International Journal Of Exercise Science. 2014. Web. 22 October 2015.
2. Dregar, R.W., Paridis, S. Clinical Study and Technical Report By NAIT University. 2013. Web. 22 October 2015.

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