“Live High–Train High” increases hemoglobin mass in Olympic swimmers
- 1.7k Downloads
This study tested whether 3–4 weeks of classical “Live High–Train High” (LHTH) altitude training increases swim-specific VO2max through increased hemoglobin mass (Hbmass).
Ten swimmers lived and trained for more than 3 weeks between 2,130 and 3,094 m of altitude, and a control group of ten swimmers followed the same training at sea-level (SL). Body composition was examined using dual X-ray absorptiometry. Hbmass was determined by carbon monoxide rebreathing. Swimming VO2peak was determined and swimming trials of 4 × 50, 200 and 3,000 m were performed before and after the intervention.
Hbmass (n = 10) was increased (P < 0.05)after altitude training by 6.2 ± 3.9 % in the LHTH group, whereas no changes were apparent in the SL group (n = 10). Swimming VO2peak was similar before and after training camps in both groups (LHTH: n = 7, SL: n = 6). Performance of 4 × 50 m at race pace was improved to a similar degree in both groups (LHTH: n = 10, SL: n = 10). Maximal speed reached in an incremental swimming step test (P = 0.051), and time to complete 3,000 m tended (P = 0.09) to be more improved after LHTH (n = 10) than SL training (n = 10).
In conclusion, 3–4 weeks of classical LHTH is sufficient to increase Hbmass but exerts no effect on swimming-specific VO2peak. LHTH may improve performance more than SL training.
KeywordsLive High–Train High Hypoxia Performance
Live High–Train High
Live High–Train Low
Red cell volume
Maximal oxygen consumption
Peak oxygen consumption
The study was supported by funds from Team Denmark given to N.B.N. and C.L. The authors would like to thank all the swimmers, coaches and the Danish National Swimming Federation who participated in the study.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interests.
- Chia M, Liao CA, Huang CY, Lee WC, Hou CW, Yu SH, Harris MB, Hsu TS, Lee SD (2013) Reducing body fat with altitude hypoxia training in swimmers: role of blood perfusion to skeletal muscles. Chin J Physiol 56(1). doi: 10.4077/CJP.2013.BAA071
- Robach P, Schmitt L, Brugniaux JV, Roels B, Millet G, Hellard P, Nicolet G, Duvallet A, Fouillot JP, Moutereau S, Lasne F, Pialoux V, Olsen NV, Richalet JP (2006) Living high-training low: effect on erythropoiesis and aerobic performance in highly-trained swimmers. Eur J Appl Physiol 96(4):423–433. doi: 10.1007/s00421-005-0089-1 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rodriguez FA (2000) Maximal oxygen uptake and cardiorespiratory response to maximal 400-m free swimming, running and cycling tests in competitive swimmers. JSports Med Phys Fit 40(2):87–95Google Scholar
- Roels B, Hellard P, Schmitt L, Robach P, Richalet JP, Millet GP (2006) Is it more effective for highly trained swimmers to live and train at 1200 m than at 1850 m in terms of performance and haematological benefits? Br J Sports Med 40(2):e4. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2004.017103 PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Thomsen JJ, Rentsch RL, Robach P, Calbet JA, Boushel R, Rasmussen P, Juel C, Lundby C (2007) Prolonged administration of recombinant human erythropoietin increases submaximal performance more than maximal aerobic capacity. Eur J Appl Physiol 101(4):481–486. doi: 10.1007/s00421-007-0522-8 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Truijens MJ, Rodriguez FA, Townsend NE, Stray-Gundersen J, Gore CJ, Levine BD (2008) The effect of intermittent hypobaric hypoxic exposure and sea level training on submaximal economy in well-trained swimmers and runners. J Appl Physiol 104(2):328–337. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01324.2006 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar