MMA Altitude Training Device Review: Conclusion

OK so we got 100+ Comments on Part I of the MMA Altitude Training Device Review, which tells me you guys have seen the ads and heard the hype and really want to know…

Are Altitude Training Devices Worth It?

To recap, this is where we left off last time:

“There are no studies on MMA specifically, so I had to search LONG and HARD to find something that would at least come close.

This took me FOREVER, because most of these altitude studies are done on endurance sport athlete such as runners, cyclists and cross-country skiers.

But lo and behold, I stumbled upon one, a moment before my eyes were about to explode from reading these cryptic journal articles all day. Scientists reading this – why can’t you write in normal English!”

Let’s go:

The title of this next study is, “Effects of intermittent hypoxic training on aerobic and anaerobic performance.

The subjects included 16 moderately trained team sports players, born and living at sea level, with an average age of 20 years old and weight of 175 lbs.

The average VO2 max (marker of aerobic fitness) was 52.35 ml/kg/min, making the subjects a pretty good comparison to a typical MMA population with above average aerobic fitness, which should include YOU since you’re a regular on my blog.

If not, what the heck are you doing with all the info I’ve made available, both free and premium?

Moving on…

The subjects were divided into 2 groups: control (normal exercise at sea level) and hypoxic training (HT).

Just think of HT as the altitude training group (aka Live Low Train High).

Here’s the cool part, the exercise program they put these 2 groups through is an interval training program, specifically aerobic power intervals, for those who are familiar with the term from my MMA Ripped 8-Week Training Camp or my Optimal Interval Training report.

Here’s the program the subjects followed, 3 times a week for 4 weeks on a stationary bike:

  • 10 reps of 1 minute above the Anaerobic Threshold (80% Wmax) alternated with 2 minutes below AnT (50% Wmax*)
  • Training intensity was increased by 5% after 6 workouts, then another 5% after 9 workouts

This is a decent interval training protocol as it includes a sane amount of repetitions, proper intensity recommendations and progression.

And, drum roll please, here are the results that I’ve put together for you in simple to read chart format:

Measurement Hypoxic Training
Normal Training
(Sea Level)
VO2 max + 7.2% + 8%
Wmax + 15.5% + 17.8%
Onset Blood Lactate Accumulation (OBLA) + 11.1% + 11.9%
Peak Power + 2.1% + 8.5%
Hemoglobin 15.4 –> 15.3 14.3 –> 14.5
Hematocrit 44.9 –> 44.8 43.9 –> 44.0

“What exactly do these results mean Eric?”

Basically, that when hypoxic training (training at altitude) was compared to normal training, subjects on a 4 week interval training program showed NO DIFFERENCES IN RESULTS.

That means there were NO CHANGES in:

  • Aerobic fitness (VO2 max)
  • Anaerobic power (Wmax)
  • Anaerobic lactic power (OBLA)
  • The ability of your body to transport oxygen (hemoblogin and hematocrit)…

… between training at altitude vs. training normally at sea level.

Things are NOT looking good for Altitude Training Devices!

Now, you might have noticed the difference between the 2 groups with respect to peak power, especially since I highlighted them in yellow. :)

While these #’s show that normal training resulted in greater increases in peak power, these results are tricky and are actually NOT significant.

This is mainly because the normal training group started at 729 watts vs. 872 watts of peak power, making it a lot easier for them to increase because they started at a lower level.

It’s like the guy who just starts Bench Pressing can go from 100 lbs to 200 lbs a heck of a lot quicker than the guy who has trained for years and can Bench 300 lbs and is trying to hit 400 lbs.

The bottom line is that this study, which used interval training that resembles the training an MMA guy would do, showed NO DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ALTITUDE AND NORMAL TRAINING.

I repeat…

Over a 4 Week Interval Training Program, Altitude Training
Showed No Benefit Over Normal Training at Sea Level

Sorry, but based on the pure science of altitude training, seeing as it doesn’t work at all, that would make altitude training devices pointless to begin with!

The studies I’ve cited have shown that High Altitude Training (Train High) is pretty much worthless with respect to aerobic AND anaerobic fitness.

Altitude training does not result in increased red blood cell count or improved oxygen transport, thus does not improve aerobic or anaerobic fitness at all and neither will Altitude Training Devices!

Now, let’s move on to some of the other claims these devices make:

  1. Increased lung capacity
  2. Improvements to something called your Anaerobic Threshold
  3. More energy
  4. Improvements in physical and mental endurance and mental focus… and many more.

More pretty big claims from these Altitude Training Devices I’d say!

From the study I just described, #2, 3, 4 and the “Physical stamina” portion of #5 are all out the window.

But here’s something interesting I found about #1, “Increases in Lung capacity as your lungs have to work 9 times harder to get the oxygen in.”

When using the Altitude Training Devices, yes,
your lungs do have to work harder.

But that begs me to ask,


“Do stronger lungs or increased lung capacity
result in improved performance?”

This is all that really matters and I’ve got an answer for you that comes from a highly unlikely source…

The PowerLung is another device that trains your lungs via constricted breathing.

PowerLung breathing trainer

The PowerLung constricted breathing device.

They’ve put some studies on their website here.

The one that we’re interested in as athletes is the very last one (coincidence?) found here:

The study tested a control group vs. a group that used the PowerLung five days per week for five weeks 5 sets of 25 breaths.

Let’s look at the results: using the PowerLung improved lung capacity and lung strength by measuring how much air was blown out after a maximal inhalation and how much air could be blown out in 1 second and 3 seconds.

So maybe there’s something to this constricted breathing after all?

Well, maybe not…

Here at the performance results from this study, straight from the PowerLung website:

“No significant differences for VO2 max, ventilation (VE), tidal volume (VT), or total time.

The control group demonstrated an increase in Anaerobic / Lactate Threshold (LT), a decrease in HRmax and a decrease in RERmax.”

So in terms of performance, there were no changes, except the group that didn’t use the PowerLung improved their Anaerobic Threshold!

What this means for the MMA Altitude Training Devices is that although it may improve lung strength and lung capacity, this has no bearing on aerobic fitness (VO2 max) or anaerobic fitness (AnT).

Finally, with respect to the mental aspect of having your breathing impaired, I suggest you simply train with a partner who mounts you and keeps trying to cover your airways as you try to escape…

Or, you could do this…



If you read all of this and Part 1, you’re either really interested in being in top shape for MMA (good for you!), you love to spend some money on new gadgets but do your due diligence first, or you’re just killing time, hopefully time at work that you’re getting paid for. :)

Either way, congrats for having the patience to stick with it. In today’s ADD-riddled society, this kind of patience is rare.

Now, I just want to recap everything and summarize everything for those who skipped the science stuff or those who are still a little confused.

Takeaway #1 – Training at altitude doesn’t seem to improve performance, especially with respect to the physical demands of MMA

Takeaway #2 – The claims of improved performance using Altitude Training Devices are based on more claims that altitude training improves performance, which are false and false, respectively

Takeaway #3 – Training with restricted breathing devices may improve lung strength and lung capacity, however, these improvements don’t result in any increases in aerobic or anaerobic fitness (unless your lungs are your limiting factor, which may be the case if you have COPD or some other lung disease)

These are my conclusions, based on this study and others I’ve read.

Are these conclusions definitive?

Unfortunately, in science, no, they’re not. They never are. For every variable, you’ll find some studies that find a benefit, some studies that don’t, and a bunch that show no difference.

But here’s what I’m going to do – use my BRAIN.

When you restrict breathing (Altitude Training Devices)
or oxygen (altitude), you can’t work as hard.

This is a fact.

It may feellike you’re working hard as heck, but in fact, the intensity will be much lower than what you could do without one of these devices or at sea level.

If you can’t work at a certain intensity level, you can’t push certain systems to the point where they can adapt.

Remember that old core training principle of adaptation.

So, because you can’t work at an intensity that will cause beneficial adaptations, you won’t get adaptations.

For submaximal endurance sports (ie marathon running, long distance cycling, etc), the case is very different, but for a mixed sport like MMA, where there’s a whole lot of high intensity going on, I think that altitude training devices are a waste of time, and will go the way of the Ab Belt and Shake Weight.

Oh, wait, the Ab Belt and Shake Weight are still around?

Oh well. At least those on the inside, like anyone who is subscribed to my newsletter gets the real TRUTH. Too bad for the rest of the shee-ple.

You and I both know that shortcuts with no negative effects are few and far between.

If you were going to buy any altitude training devices, I suggest you spend your money somewhere wiser, like some good quality organic food, or maybe a periodized strength and conditioning program that’s PROVEN to work.

Thanks for sticking with me. Boy my fingers sure are tired!

The last thing I’d like to ask of you:

Please do me a favour and Share this with your friends via the Facebook buttons below or just go old school and email them the link to this article.

I put a lot of work into this article series, so if you appreciate it, show me by spreading the good word my friend; spread the good word.


Eric “MMA’s Myth Buster” Wong

P.S. In case you were wondering, this post is serious and NOT tongue-in-cheek and no, I do not make any money if you purchase an Altitude Training Device, Ab Belt, or Shake Weight. :)

MMA Altitude Training Device Review FAQ

Here are some questions I know will be asked, if you have any more, let me know in the Comments section and I’ll answer them for you.

Q: How exactly does altitude training stimulate red blood cells?

A: Come on, weren’t you reading – it doesn’t! But living at altitude does (Live High). This is because the amount of oxygen in the air is less than at sea level, which is different than just not being able to breathe in enough air.

Here’s basically how it works: with normal breaths at altitude, your body doesn’t get much oxygen so it thinks, “I need more O2 or I’m gonna DIE! What should I do?”

Then this hormone EPO through the body’s infinite wisdom increases, which then stimulates the production of red blood cells.

But this takes time, like constant daily exposure over weeks, not over the hour or two of training that you might do in a day.

Q: So is wearing Altitude Training Devices  actually like being at altitude?

This is a fundamental question that I realize I didn’t address in the main articles so I’ll talk about it here.

In short – NO.

Here’s why…

At altitude, you aren’t getting  as much oxygen because each liter of air has less oxygen in it (due to lower atmospheric pressure at altitude).

When you’re wearing one of these devices, each liter of air has the same amount of oxygen, you’re just getting less air overall.

You don’t get any altitude benefits because when you inhale, you’re getting less air than normal, but the % of oxygen stays the same.

When the normal amount of oxygen comes in with this breath, there is nothing different for your brain to adapt to, unlike at altitude, when you take in a normal breath, there is far less oxygen, so your brain goes, “Holy crap, what’s going on – I’d better do something about this or I’m gonna die.”

Q: If I wear Altitude Training Devices to bed, will it help stimulate increased red blood cells?

A: Nope, not at all, because when at rest, your body is getting the same amount of air and oxygen it always does, so it will not need to adapt to anything, just maybe a little stronger breathing at rest, which would be wasteful and unwanted. But if your wife asks you to wear an altitude training device to bed that’s another story 😉


Leave a Reply

177 Comments on "MMA Altitude Training Device Review: Conclusion"

28 days 5 hours ago

I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
The issue is something not enough folks are speaking intelligently about.
I’m very happy I came across this in my hunt for something relating to this.

6 months 8 days ago

Awesome, thanks for the info. When i first saw the mask, I found it obvious to be a scam. This is exactly what i was looking for, I’m a Med student and i find it shameful that my classmates don’t realize how stupid the mask is.Great sources. Thanks

8 months 5 days ago

Nice article Eric .. I’m about to become a pro MMA fighter and this was very useful.. One question tho… What if I train high live low and I have a fight in high altitude, will performance still be great. Cardio is one of my best attributes. And also KICKING lol thanks for your time..

9 months 5 days ago

Hello Eric,

Great reading your article on training mask. It resonates with my thoughts on the device. I had a bad case of asthma develop many years ago due to work toxins however that since be handled but the device reminds me more of those scary and hard days. I guess the positive is just appreciating breathing :) I look forward to your articles. Much success in 2015 Patrick

1 year 1 month ago

I was wondering if you meant altitude training (with hypoxic air) or did you mean resistance training? Because many companies sell resistance training masks as altitude masks.

1 year 1 month ago

Gave the xenon stuff a try — holy crap! Kind of hard to describe. Bottom line — definitely works. Endurance up, RHR down, and recovery seems much easier. First, I do a lot of the stuff Eric talks about in his newsletters — writing down my work outs, working on breathing, etc. So, this is not just an “I feel better” type of thing. I work harder, longer. Also, RHR is now 52 — from 58 4 weeks ago. I will give Eric credit for having me focus on the RHR — definitely helps. But this xenon stuff is insane in terms of what it does with your breathing. This is not a “training mask.” I couldn’t last 2 minutes on it the first time — and you are not working out, just breathing.

Anyway, if anyone else has tried it, I would be interested in hearing how you use it. Unfortunately, the company that sells it doesn’t really say anything MMA specific on how to train with it.

1 year 2 months ago

There is a video here: about some device that reduces the oxygen that you breathe. I wish someone would do the same video with one of these masks to see what it does.

[…] Article by Eric Wong […]

1 year 3 months ago

Thanks for this article. After seeing several guys doing anaerobic lifts in the gym, specifically bicep curls, it’s good to see that someone has actually done some research on these absurd “devices”.

1 year 3 months ago

would you or not recommend the Elevation Training Mask 2.0 for a track and field runner who is looking to increase their lung capacity to run farther. i myself train everyday working out so i have a decent amount of muscle right for the job

1 year 3 months ago

I would NOT recommend it.

1 year 3 months ago

Hey – thanks for the review!
I jumped on board and bought one of these bad boys… Sure feels like I’m working harder, but now that I understand the science a bit more, and I realize I am not actually doing more with less, I am, in reality, doing less with less but feeling more, I wonder if I should continue…
I think I will because it’s different challenge and I enjoy it, but if I don’t see or feel results within the next couple weeks or months, I might just put it aside until my wife suggests we take it to the bed room…

1 year 4 months ago

Great article. I have a question about using xenon to exercise your lungs. A company sells a device that claims many of the same things as the various “altitude” training devices you reviewed. (See ).

Apparently, this xenon training has been banned by the world anti-doping agency. So, my question is, does this actually work? If not, why ban it?

Second, assuming that it does something, is this something of use for MMA training?

1 year 4 months ago

I cannot express a strong opinion on this because I’ve never used it before, nor do I know anyone who has.

I’ve never researched it, but just for the heck of it I did a search for “dangers of breathing xenon” and I found this quote:

“You could safely breathe a 80-20 mix of argon and oxygen indefinitely, as far as I know. Such mixtures are sometimes used by professional divers, as argon is far less absorbable into blood than nitrogen, presenting less risk of decompression sickness.

Breathing a 80-20 mix of xenon and oxygen might prove dangerous in the long term, because xenon is substantially heavier than oxygen; the increased weight of such a mixture could possibly strain the lungs, and you might end up with pockets of a xenon-carbon dioxide mixture in the lungs that you might not be able to readily expel.

It should be safe to take a single deep breath of xenon (which will give you an incredibly deep and gravelly voice on the way back out) as long as your lungs are in good shape. It may take several breaths to clear all of the xenon back out afterwards, and I shouldn’t advise strenuous activity immediately afterwards as your total gaseous exchange capacity will be somewhat compromised while the remaining xenon diffuses back out.

Neither argon nor xenon is inherently toxic. Extended attempts to breathe pure argon or pure xenon will kill you, obviously.

Argon and xenon are both noble gases. Of the six noble gases, helium and neon are not known to form compounds under any conditions, while argon, krypton, xenon, and radon can be forced to form chemical compounds with fluorine or oxygen under extreme conditions not generally to be found in the places where humans routinely travel.”

Personally, I wouldn’t mess with it, and now since it’s WADA banned, I wouldn’t recommend it to any athletes competing in any regulated/tested sport.

Will Tracy
1 year 1 month ago

I know a little bit about martial arts training and would recommend many of your training techniques. But I question some of the conclusions you make to prove a point. First breathing pure oxygen for an extended period will also kill you, so how does that prove that argon and xenon are any more dangerous? Second, both helium and neon do form compounds or Ions, HeNe, HgHe10, WHe2 and Ions He+ 2, He2+2, HeH, HeD+ and Ions Ne+, (NeAr)+, (NeH)+, (HeNe+).
However these are so rare, as are xenon compounds and Ions, that for all practical purposes, they do not exist. That being said, how did you come up with the theory that there could be a xenon-carbon dioxide mixture?
I can understand your reluctance to recommend breathing xenon. I’ve had my martial arts website on line for over eighteen years and have never recommended any product or training program. However, for you to say “since (xenon’s) WADA banned, I wouldn’t recommend it to any athletes competing in any regulated/tested sport” is a bit overreaching. I don’t know who regulates college sports in Canada, but the NCAA does not ban breathing xenon. Yet NCAA regulates and tests for banned drugs; and it would appear inconsistent for the NCAA to permit a drug so dangerous that it would kill WADA athletes, while not have any adverse effect on college students.
I started using XenAir’s, XenOx 50% xenon 49%+ oxygen since it came out on July 14, and the results for me are so impressive that I am recommending it to every on my website to every Kenpo Karate instructor and student, as well as any elite or endurance athlete.
I’m not sure what the regulations are for sending xenon to Canada, but if it can be done, if you would like, I will have XenAir send you their XenOx to try.

1 year 1 month ago

I guess I’d change that statement to “any sport that has banned Xenon”…

Personally, never had a problem with conditioning and neither have my athletes (after training for various lengths of time) so I know there are alternatives and don’t see it as necessary.

1 year 4 months ago

Thanks Eric. I may give it a try — I try all sorts of these fitness products. I even tried your Altitude Training Towel. Have to say, it doesn’t really help my fitness. I’d ask for my $79 back, but it does dry me off pretty well after a workout, so I guess it is worth the money.

1 year 1 month ago

Gave the xenon stuff a try — holy crap! Kind of hard to describe. Bottom line — definitely works. Endurance up, RHR down, and recovery seems much easier. First, I do a lot of the stuff Eric talks about in his newsletters — writing down my work outs, working on breathing, etc. So, this is not just an “I feel better” type of thing. I work harder, longer. Also, RHR is now 52 — from 58 4 weeks ago. I will give Eric credit for having me focus on the RHR — definitely helps. But this xenon stuff is insane in terms of what it does with your breathing. This is not a “training mask.” I couldn’t last 2 minutes on it the first time — and you are not working out, just breathing.

Anyway, if anyone else has tried it, I would be interested in hearing how you use it. Unfortunately, the company that sells it doesn’t really say anything MMA specific on how to train with it.

1 year 5 months ago

Thanks for sharing these results!

1 year 5 months ago

Impressive analysis.
Kind of surprising, tho, bec I thought Bas Rutten was a pretty upfront honest guy, and his O2 trainer seems to have gotten good (unplanted) reviews on amazon.

On another note, stressing the lungs can be problematic. An ER physician was telling me about various pulmonary syndromes unique to opera singers and wind players. So mebbe this kind of taxing of lung function is not such a good idea.

1 year 5 months ago

Interesting Angst.

Did the ER doc tell you what these syndromes were by name?

1 year 6 months ago

Thanks a bunch for really clearing that up, I have been considering trying an altitude mask for a while but definitely don’t want to drop $90 if it isn’t going to help at all! I appreciate you breaking down the studies too, not many people understand the what the results actually mean!

1 year 6 months ago

Love your stuff and kind of just having fun exploring this and being devil’s advocate. I’ve only ever messed around with an altitude training device for a couple of sessions and I will say…during those sessions my lifting numbers and work capacity were EXACTLY the same as usual…if anything the badass factor of wearing a gas-masked Psyched me up!
I’m not going to argue with the findings of this study…but the study was done for low living high altitude training…and you also stated that altitude masks DON’T stimulate high altitude training. So essentially that study on anaerobic performance states that training in less dense oxygen air produces no significant results as compared to sea level…but the study DOESN”T state that training with lower intake of air with the same oxygen content (21% I believe) has no effect on anaerobic conditioning,recovery time, or increased lung capacity leading to increasing amount of air and hence oxygen per breath. The mask makes one take in less air…the take it off and expand less energy taking in the normal amount of air or more=more oxygen (so it seems). It seems that numerous citations, both as common knowledge and in scientific articles suggest an increase in lung capacity leads to increased cardiovascular fitness, decreased recovery time, and increase in longevity and overall health+ a DECREASE in inflammation in lungs. Reducing inflammation seems potentially beneficial to fight performance. “Lung capacity is the amount of air that can move in and out of the lungs during a breath. The basic principle is the greater the volume of air that can be inhaled and exhaled during exercise, the greater the amount of oxygen that can be absorbed into the blood stream. More oxygen leads to improved performance during aerobic work. (So this would seem to improve aerobic base for mma but not anaerobic endurance)

As a result of training a number of adaptations occur within the lungs, due to the increased efficiency of the lungs, rather than changes in the size of the lungs. The strength and endurance of the lung tissue and surrounding muscles increases, a greater volume of air can be inhaled and exhaled as well as faster breathing (ventilation). Training also increases the number of capillaries in the lungs, allowing more oxygen to be absorbed with each breath taken.
” Furthermore the scientific evidence establishing no difference with the PowerLung is no indication of results with an ‘altitude mask’…one you perform breathing exercises into…the other is worn during training. Similar principles different mode of training. Also in the clinical study it also says: ” Clinical Relevance:
Pulmonary compromised individuals who have a greater room for improvement when compared to seasoned collegiate athletes would most likely benefit from utilizing the Powerlung protocol we established in these experiments.” I don’t see why that couldn’t be true…like you said its a heck of a lot easier to get a bench from 100-200 then 300-400. And Its even more difficult for high level endurance athletes to up their V02 max (near their genetic potential)..than for strength or power based high level athletes to improve performance.) The biggest feedback I’ve heard from both Amazon reviews, and fighters at my gym who use it…are that it helps with breath regulation and mental stress when in an intense fight situation…and it greatly reduces recovery time between intense exercise. Those are two good reasons to drop $80 right there..and train smart with the thing if your going to get into a cage with someone trying to whoop you. Lastly the program they were in was 4 WEEKS….that just might not be long enough to see training effects….also 1 minute at 80% and then 2 minutes at 50%.!…that seems a little light compared to MMA training…it took a 3 minutes of heavy full body snatches and pull ups back to back to even start to feel the difficult breathing of the mask effects…let alone the bare minimum height of high altitude …training at cruise control.

tommy Belt
1 year 6 months ago

The device teaches you to breathe deeply and stay relaxed,something that is very important in all sports but especially fighting!!! Most here are too focused on one thing and completely missing the simple thing! Deep/Relaxed breathing……………………!!!!!

Russ Hamilton
1 year 6 months ago

If air is of lets say the same importance as water in training, would you try to acclimatize your body to using less and less water ? My guess is that you might see some small benefit concerning only the ability to get by with a little less but it would never improve time or distance. I realize this analogy might be a bit flawed but it might still in someway be valid.

Respiratory Therapist
1 year 6 months ago

Great article and pretty good information here. If I may chime in, these “high altitude training masks” are a gimmick and they can be dangerous if you currently has respiratory issues such as COPD, Cystic Fibrosis, Asthma, etc. There is no way you can “replicate” high altitude, without actually being in high altitude. Again, from Eric’s research and my years as a Respiratory Therapist, you have to physically be in High Altitude in order to have your RBC’s increased in order to feed your body the necessary oxygen. This means MONTHS and YEARS of living at an higher altitude and training. Many of you say, “Well, Mr. Respiratory Therapist, the masks limit your O2, therefore, your body will compensate for the lack of oxygen by creating more RBC, ha in your face.” Well, no, your body goes through what we call “compensation”. You are physically depriving your body of oxygen by restricting your airways and breathing, so this will eventually throw off your bodies pH levels (CO2 build-up, low PaO2) and as well as your motor skills, judgement, fatigue, CNS system failure, and in worse case scenarios, possible death. Of course, I’m sure once you figured, “I’m getting really light headed, maybe I should take this mask off”, sets, you should really take that mask off. Without the studies of Pulmonary Function Testings (PFT’s) and ABG samples while on the mask aren’t done, we can not be surely conclusive, but common sense and a little science shows that training masks can not be as advantageous as you expected. Put it like this, if you really want to restrict your oxygen levels, don’t buy an $80 mask, rather, just wrap a towel around your nose and mouth and it’s basically the same concept. Common sense would tell you that’s dumb, but since it looks cool, common sense is out the door. So, low O2+Hard Workout = BAD.

Elliott Lyons
1 year 7 months ago

Did you realize that as elevation increases there is a lack of oxygen because of the thinning of the atmosphere. When you put a Restriction mask on it limits the amount of oxygen to a level of which you would be getting at a high altitude. Also have fun with your intervals try a 6 months of 6 miles a day 6 days a week and see what it will do for you. I would have to say a whole lot more than “Hard” intervals (which means about 10 minutes of actual work and 20 minutes of waiting for the specified rest time to be over).

Russ Hamilton
1 year 8 months ago

Thanks for putting this information out there. One of the things that I have always wondered about was the reverse of this type of training. In other words what if you trained with supplemental oxygen which would allow you to extend your time until failure of your muscles etc…and would that not help endurance ? Just a thought but wondering if any research had been done…..

1 year 9 months ago

after the live low train high research, can u do one for live high train high? yes, more research :)

1 year 10 months ago

What a information of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious knowledge regarding
unexpected emotions.

Joe Berger
2 years 22 days ago

I feel like people are over analyzing this. If the mask (or any device/method) makes a certain effort harder, than it is beneficial even from just a mental standpoint. We all know how important mental toughness is in combat sports. There’s chemicals in the brain involved with that kind of thing, which makes mental training very much physical, if you really think about it. But I digress… Anyways, I don’t see how you can acknowledge that the mask will increase the strength of intercostal muscles and your diaphram muscle, but claim that it has no benefit at all on your cardio…?? I understand that endurance athletes get more of a benefit from this than combat athletes, but still. I agree that for certain exercises, it is better to just take the mask off and GO harder and faster, for whatever it is that you’re doing, than it is to have the mask on. BUT, for those days when you need to get in a 5 mile run, say you’re not running slower than an 8 minute pace regardless of the conditions. You’d be better off wearing the mask for that than to not wear it, if you weren’t going to be running much faster at that distance, anyways. Also, is it always necessary to be sprinting, doing burpees, circuits, etc at the fastest speed possible? You don’t sprint in the ring/cage. The real purpose of conditioning workouts are the effects on your heart and lungs. If the mask taxes your heart and lungs more so than not wearing it, then it shouldn’t concern you that your workout is not as fast or as explosive without it. Vary it. Wear it on some days and don’t wear it on other days. The time to be explosive and fast is sparring or technical work, anyways. Condition like a fighter, not a track star. Don’t worry that your sprint times aren’t as powerful or fast because you wear the mask. If anything, the mask teaches you to breathe more efficiently. Which I can only see as being useful in combat sports. Just my 2 cents.

2 years 22 days ago

I I feel like people are overthinking this. If the mask makes a certain effort harder, from a mental standpoint alone that is going to help you. And we all know how important a mental edge is in combat sports. I also don’t see how you can acknowledge that the mask will strengthen intercostal muscles in your diaphragm…but have no benefit and your conditioning.How would stronger repiratory muscles not help you? And I agree that for certain exercises, it is better to train harder and with more intensity without the mask, then to have one on. But for a long run in which you aren’t going to be running faster than an 8 minute pace, it is probably better to have the mask on for that pace since you probably wouldn’t run much faster without it, anywaus. And finally, the speed of uour runs or sprints shouldn’t matter that much to a fighter. You don’t run in the ring. The purpose is conditioning. While increasing

Liam Marshman
2 years 29 days ago

Ah I see you’re really plugging your book!

2 years 1 month ago

Hi! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to look it over.

I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
Fantastic blog and wonderful style and design.

2 years 1 month ago

Let me start by saying two things. 1. I never understood the claim about simulating altitude training because I can’t see how it would. 2. I have a training mask anyway and I use it for breathing resistance.

That said, many athletes find using resistance on a regular basis to be beneficial to training. It’s a very simple concept we are all familiar with. For example, carrying a backpack on a hike regularly makes hiking without one easier. An ultra heavyweight gi makes a regular gi feel like pajamas. Running with a weight vest makes running without one feel light. Any regular, consistent resistance will encourage the body to adapt by getting stronger. Breathing resistance, for me, has had the same effect. Running with the mask fatigues the muscles used for inspiration, which gives them a reason to get stronger and have more endurance. It also makes me control my rhythm and take longer, slower breaths. When I run without it with the guys from work, it is now much easier to keep up with them even though they are men. I can even carry a conversation while running without feeling like I’m going to drop dead from poor breathing. The same effect seems to have carried over to my thirty minute heavy bag workouts.

Anyway, since apparently weakness of breathing was a pretty steady limiting factor for me in the past, now I can focus more on leg strength and running technique. So while I completely agree with you that a resistance breathing apparatus is not like altitude training, there are other potential athletic benefits to using one.

The Contractor
2 years 1 month ago

Well researched and reasoned article, Eric. I appreciate the way your mind works.

2 years 4 months ago

Great article, but one thing you didn’t take into account is fortitude, I understand yes you won’t be able to work as hard with the mask on, but after you become numb to wearing the mask you won’t even notice it on, just like wearing a weight vest , or water training , or even wearing a gi for the first time.

2 years 4 months ago

Unfortunately, if you use this for all your intensive conditioning, because you’re limiting your air, you cannot work at a high enough level to continue to make gains as you’re limited by oxygen in and/or CO2 out.

It’s not the same thing as wearing a weight vest. And water training is a completely different animal all together.

And I do mention the mental toughness aspect. It is a benefit that can be had via the mask. But there are other ways to do it as well.

2 years 5 months ago

I am having trouble understanding this article to be honest, I am only 16 so cut me some slack. I really am just wondering what affect will this elevation altitude training device have on my conditioning. My friend has one and his conditioning has greatly improved as well as his breathing habits (more efficient). I am not expecting for it to be like one of those “Woooo 10 min. workout and I’ll be ripped” type of deal, I am just trying to figure out if this would first help with oxygen efficiency and second improve cardio efficiency.

2 years 2 months ago

Head, meet Desk. Desk, Head.

2 years 5 months ago

As usual, if it seems to good to be true; it is too good to be true.
There are no shortcuts to better performance.
Train well, live well, good nutrition and informed coaches with a positive attitude will get results.

2 years 6 months ago

Great stuff man! I think these gadgets are over rated, everyone is hopping on the MMA hype train like a bunch of mindless sheep, because coming from experience I can tell you that nothing beats plain old hard work and dedication! There are no short cuts, and training your body to do things that are not practical in an actual fight is really stupid. You need to be part of a good team, and spar as much as you possibly can with those good team mates, because this is the only real formula for success, not some gas mask looking snorkel device, I must admit though, the new 2.0 mask has a pretty cool Bane look to it, I’d wear it for Halloween for sure lol :)

Tommy Belt
2 years 8 months ago

Funny,these conclusions were drawn,as I have worked with the mask,with a cardiologist’s backing.Training fighters and other athletes and we found quite the opposite to be true.
The mask is a very effective training device,that works close to it’s advertised claims.

2 years 8 months ago

You’re totally misquoting the first study. It was a 4-week study, far too short for the body to completely acclimate in time. It even says:

It is concluded that ACUTE exposure of moderately trained subjects to normobaric hypoxia during a short-term training programme consisting of moderate- to high-intensity intermittent exercise has no enhanced effect on the degree of improvement in either aerobic or anaerobic performance. These data suggest that if there are any advantages to training in hypoxia for sea level performance, they would not arise from the SHORT-TERM protocol employed in the present study.

For you to conclusively say that it doesn’t work is taking their study way out of context. I didn’t even care to read the rest of what you wrote because you’re clearly interested only in spinning facts to fit your agenda.

2 years 8 months ago

Adam, I completely agree with you.

I really think that this “article”/”study” was written and performed by a person who is bias and opinionated, not based on real facts.

2 years 7 months ago

One thing that this article does state in a round about way but doesn’t really make an issue about is that this mask is not like actually training in a high altitude place to begin with. It just makes it hard to breath; the same as breathing only through your nose instead of your mouth during intense training. So your getting less oxygen and also not blowing off as much CO2. I’m not a doctor but I would think this would create a more acidic environment in your body that would be bad. When actually training in a high altitude the air has less oxygen in it. It’s a whole different thing. There is equipment out there that actually simulates this experience by removing oxygen from the air, but it is not quite as simple or mobile as the altitude training device. I think this is kind of a scam and more of a marketing product that will be forgotten about in a few years.

2 years 8 months ago

Eric, I’m sure the broad thrust of your argument (not mimicking altitude, restricting workouts, etc) is correct. Certainly I wouldn’t want to argue in person….However a decent (peer reviewed) case is made for IMT (Inspiratory Muscle Training not Infinite monkey theorem!) in (with look inside of the intro)
1) Training the the Inspiratory Muscles to be more efficient will then require less oxygen (and/or CO2 removal), leaving more capacity for the major muscles.
2) These same muscle perform core stability duties too, and specific training may help for particular situations of ‘double use’ overload.
However the performance affects they postulate are marginal, not dramatic.The biggest claim is for subjective ‘comfort’ for intense exercise . after separate IMT sessions

No one has mentioned (including the above book) the argument made by Artour Rakhimov. that a major benefit of the mask is adaptation to higher CO2 in the ‘dead volume’ of unexpired air. Not sure what to make of that, but from recent reading I have become aware that CO2 can be more important than oxygen when it comes to breathing limitations.

2 years 8 months ago

Thanks for a link to an interesting book. Does Inspiratory Muscle Training by Alison McConnell imply using technical tools like altitude training device or is it about some special exercises?

Many endurance sportsmen – runners, cross-country skiers, etc. train on a high altitude. As a mountain climber I’m aware of profound change in physical abilities which happens after being on a high elevation for a while and fully acclimatising. After we come back for a couple of months or so our endurance is sky-high. But obviously there is a huge difference between increasing of endurance by training on a high altitude and wearing altitude training device….

Alan Parrales
2 years 9 months ago

When you said for marathon runners it is different, how so? Is it beneficial when training for a marathon?

2 years 9 months ago

Do you think this mask would help with swimming? I am a sprint swimmer and the less I breathe during my race the faster I go. I figure if I use the mask during running and lifting that it would help.

David Wahl MA, CSCS
2 years 9 months ago

As an aside, there are planty of MMA specific studies. If you would like some, let me know.

2 years 9 months ago

Will it help if you’re trying to increase stamina in running? I enlist in the Marine Corps in february, my time on 1.5 miles is 11:30 but i want it down to at least 7 minutes, will using elevation mask 2.0 and weight vest will it increase my stamina?

2 years 4 months ago

Hi Jonah. I was scrolling through the comments and came across yours. Sadly no gadget on Gods green earth is going to help you get your 1.5miler down to 7 minutes. That’s a big jump mate – you’re talking about running a mile at 4 minutes 40 seconds and maintaining that pace to get the 1.5 miles in 7 minutes.

For my pre-joining fitness test (royal marine commandos) we did two 1.5 mile runs separated by a 1 minute rest and taking into account that the first 1.5 miles was a slow jog, I completed the second in 9 minutes, which works out at a 6 minute mile – its a respectable pace but it could be better.

I would suggest ditching the weighted vest – if you’re running at the pace you would need to be to be getting even 6 minute miles, you will absolutely shoot your knees to bits so I would avoid that mate and stick with good old fashioned running. Try sticking in plenty of sprints between stints of endurance running – here’s an example of a fun one I use –

Jog three sides of a football field – sprint one
Jog two sides of a football field – sprint two
Jog one side of a football field – sprint three
Sprint all four sides – then walk around it slowly to recover
REPEAT the whole thing another 3 times – this should make you quiver and will help with endurance – it’ll hopefully speed your times up too.

Good luck mate.

2 years 10 months ago

Thanks for clearing my doubts about this mask. I was wondering why these
people were using it and to me it made no sence because it is just
restricting oxigen, thus minimizing the oxigen needed to workout the desired
muscles. The only thing this guys are going to get out of thismask is a weak

2 years 11 months ago

Great article. I will not get a altitude training device to improve my sea-level performance. However, I am planning to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Do you think training with the mask will help me acclimate better and therefore have an easier time with the climb?

2 years 11 months ago

Again, training with a mask does not simulate altitude.

For guys like USMC Firefighter (2 comments below) who’s specific activity requires wearing a mask, then it’s all about specificity – of course it would help him get used to wearing a mask and restricted breathing.

But restricted breathing is not equal to altitude. That’s it.

Stephen Szibler
2 years 11 months ago

Nice, USMC! I’ve been using an Airlife (respitory thing they’d use for COPD in a hospital) that I got from Freecycler. Only using occasionally, but i don’t think it hurts if breathing muscles are strengthened!

USMC Firefighter
2 years 11 months ago

I can tell you one thing is for sure it worked amazing for me. While i was at the DOD fire academy I had difficulty breathing in my SCBA(self contained breathing apparatus). The SCBA is a pressurized mask that firefighters use to breathe in clean oxygen rather then smoke and flame. The SCBA is pressurized to stop smoke from getting in, in other words if anywhere on your mask there is a break in the air tight seal air will blow out not letting the smoke in. During the strenuous drills we had to do I was loosing my breath very quickly and easily because the pressurization simulated high altitude. One of my Instructors noticed this and knowing I was a Marine fresh out of boot camp I shouldn’t be having cardio problem like this recommended the mask to me. So with doubt I bought the mask not expecting much. When I received the mask later that week I began using my mask on runs which included sprinting for about a week. The next physical objective I had for the course was 53 extrication and is one of the most feared objective because it was a complete and total break off. I DOMINATED the objective and came out looking like a champ, I never lost my breathe and out preformed most of my class mates. You can back your studies up with as much science as you want, I used the mask and it is worth it weight in gold. I will defiantly back this mask up and I recommended it to some of my fellow marines at the academy with me. They all had amazing results as well. Forget what ever science you want to come up with this mask works amazingly. Semper Fi 7051 Crash Crew

2 years 7 months ago

I don’t really understand what your trying to say. How does wearing a pressurized breathing apparatus simulate a high altitude? That would be a very low altitude if compared to anything. And it would be the exact opposite of wearing an Altitude Training Device. The only benefit you would possibly get from this mask is to increase muscle strength of your lungs which would just help you drain your oxygen bottle faster in your duties as a firefighter. Actually doing high altitude training would possibly help you train your body to operate more efficiently with less oxygen which could translate into working longer using less air in your bottle as a firefighter.

2 years 11 months ago

Great article man…just saved me from buying that garbage, not to mention the weird looks in the gym.

2 years 6 months ago

I just got the new altitude training device 2.0 wether or not it similates high altitude i deff notice the extra work i put in from wearing it i sweat twice as much so to me anything thats makes me work twice as hard by doing what i usually do is a winner for me. And i get plenty of weird looks at the gym but alot asling me wear to buy one. So for me its a win.

2 years 11 months ago

It’s great to see a good analysis of this product and of training in general. There is too much pseudo-science, wishful thinking, and BS marketing when it comes to sport training, and it is rare to see an article or commentary that is thoughtful and based on reality not fantasy.

3 years 11 days ago

Does anybody see a problem running around the neighbourhood wearing one of these?

What were they thinking of?

Bob Marley
3 years 18 days ago

I understand that the elevation mask does not simulate elevation and does not have a benefit when compared to working out without one. I have had a section of my right lung removed and suffer from asthma and have a really low lung capacity/lung strength, would i benefit from using one just to improve lung power / capacity?

3 years 23 days ago

Well what about that UFC show in Broomfield, CO a year or so ago? I remember one fight in particular between Mark Hunt and that tall bald-headed wrestler (Rothwell?). Granted those are huge guys, but they gassed out miserably and everyone attributed it to the elevation.

Is the elevation thing just a long-standing myth? Would one fatigue if not acclimatized, but LLTH still end up not working? What about Tito’s famous altitude training (again maybe an explanation: few guys worked as hard as Tito).

This was a great article, really appreciate you doing the research and sharing. Planning on taking an altitude vacation before my black belt test, but this gives me some good information to consider.

3 years 22 days ago

Elevation DOES make exercise harder. We’re not arguing that here.

But the mask does not in any way, shape or form simulate altitude training.

Hunt and Rothwell already have conditioning issues – the elevation made them more apparent.

LLTH doesn’t work (according to the science). LHTL works. So have fun on your altitude vacation!