MMA Altitude Training Device Review – Legit or Hype?

Heard of Altitude Training Simulation Devices?

Lately, I’ve gotten a number of questions about various devices that you put in your mouth or wear over your mouth and/or nose that purport to simulate altitude training my fighters, customers and subscribers.

You might’ve seen people using various devices on YouTube or other places.

When I get multiple questions about something, I know it’s time to roll up my sleeves, pull out my library card and do some down and dirty research.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, they basically restrict your breathing, which is supposed to simulate training at altitude.

Various claims are made about these devices, such as:

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

WARNING: we’re going to get a little technical here, so if you have absolutely no desire to talk science with me, then skip to the Conclusion at the bottom of this article for the answer to the question, “Will using these devices improve my performance?”

Otherwise, into the rabbit hole we go…

The first question you should be asking here is…


“What is Altitude Training and How
Might it be Beneficial for MMA?”

To understand the science behind altitude (elevation) training, you must understand the following definitions; otherwise you’ll be lost at sea without a paddle.

High Altitude Training

Anaerobic/Lactate Threshold
The intensity of exercise at which your body begins to accumulate lactic acid*; at this point, energy production shifts from aerobic (unlimited energy) to anaerobic energy production (very limited)

*NOTE: this is not entirely correct but I’m not going to waste time here explaining what lactic acid is and what really causes fatigue, the main concept is still the same, so if you’re a science geek getting ready to call me out, don’t bother, it won’t help you, me or anyone else reading this

VO2 Max
The max amount of oxygen your body can make use of for fuel; often used in studies as a test for aerobic fitness, although it’s not often the best indicator of actual sport performance; often expressed as either 50 ml O2/kg bodyweight/min, or 5 L O2/min, either way, HIGHER is BETTER

Hypoxia
When the air you breathe contains less oxygen than normal

Air
The stuff you breathe did you really have to click this one? lol; composed of about 78% nitrogen (N2) and 21% oxygen (O2) at every altitude

Altitude
Refers to elevation above sea level where the air is less dense, and thus contains less oxygen because there are fewer particles in the air overall; % of oxygen remains the same as at sea level; two major variables are manipulated, where you train (High or Low) and where you train (High or Low), thus, the following combinations exist and have been thoroughly studied:

  • Train High Live High (THLH)
  • Train Low Live High (TLLH)
  • Train High Live Low (THLL)
  • Train Low Live Low (TLLL – what most of us do all the time)

Some popular altitudes:
Boulder, Colorado, USA: 1650 m
Whistler, British Columbia, Canada: 652 m
French Alps: 2500 m
If you want to see how exactly how dense air is at a certain altitude, check this link out:

http://www.altitude.org/air_pressure.php


Now that you’ve got the basics let’s talk altitude training…

Altitude training is based on the premise that when you’re at altitude, there’s less oxygen in the air, making exercise a lot harder. The higher you go, the less oxygen there is, the harder exercise is.

altitude training oxygen levels

Because of this, it’s theorized that altitude will force your body to adapt increase your red blood cell (RBC) count and thus improving aerobic performance, delaying onset of anaerobic energy production and improving recovery.

The bottom line is that…

More Red Blood Cells = More Oxygen (to feed your working muscles with)

This is important – remember it, you’ll need this knowledge later.

This is the theory, anyway, but lucky for us, it’s been rigorously tested by scientists from around the world.

Some cool sports science history – altitude training gained huge popularity after the Olympic Games in 1968 which were held in Mexico City1.

Mexico City is at an altitude of 2300 m, so for those athletes who weren’t prepared for this, it was a huge shock and the exercise physiologists were put to work to figure out how to use this to their advantage.

Now, as mentioned in the Altitude definition above, there are 3 main combinations of altitude training that have been studied: Live High Train High, Live Low Train High and Live High Train Low.

With respect to these devices, if it’s supposed to mimic training at altitude and you wear it during your workouts, this would be similar as Live Low Train High (LLTH), since during your workout, you’re ‘training’ at altitude and the rest of the time you’re at your normal altitude.

live low train high at altitude

So we’re going to focus on the studies that test LLTH and forget about the rest.

[For now, maybe if you’re really interested, I’ll discuss the others a future post. Let me know in the Comments if this is something you’d be interested in reading]

In a paper I found titled, “Is Hypoxia Training Good for Muscles and Exercise Performance?”  authors Michael Vogt and Hans Hoppeler from the University of Bern in Switzerland  state quite definitively:

“… A common feature of virtually all studies on “live low–train high” is that hypoxic exposure only during exercise sessions is not sufficient to induce changes in hematologic parameters. Hematocrit and hemoglobin concentrations usually remain unchanged with “live low–train high.”


“What does this mean for YOU as a Mixed Martial
Artist
Looking for Peak Performance?

So, do these devices actually increase red blood cell production and improve oxygen delivery to your working muscles as claimed?

When Vogt and Hoppeler talk about “hematocrit” and “hemoglobin”, they’re basically talking about RBCs. For your purposes, hematocrit = hemoglobin = RBCs. For each, more is better.

If you don’t know what RBCs, hematocrit or hemoglobin are, here are some definitions:

Red Blood Cells

Cells in your body that are responsible for transporting oxygen where required; the more red blood cells (RBCs) you have, the more oxygen you can transport to working muscles

Hematocrit

Refers to the % of total blood that is made up of RBCs; more is better (to a point, if your blood gets too ‘thick’ you could die but this will never happen through training, only drugs)

Hemoglobin

The specific component of a RBC that carries the oxygen.

Let’s do an analogy – it’s kind of like if you were carrying a backpack that had your boxing gloves in them, you are the RBC and yes, you’re carrying your boxing gloves, but to be more precise, your backpack is actually carrying your gloves…

Well, your backpack is like Hemoglobin. Get it?

If not, I don’t blame you, the analogy sucked. Leave me alone – it’s late.


So Vogt and Hoppeler state that LLTH (altitude training) does NOT improve red blood cell paramaters, which means that performance does not improve either. But let’s look at some hard data, just to make sure, OK?

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!

training mask research

How I looked and felt slaving through journal articles on my computer.


AND this is where we have today’s cliffhanger… :P

I put a lot of work into this article, as you can tell from this first half…

So if you want the Conclusion, I want to see 100 Comments letting me know that you want to see it, otherwise, into the vault it goes!

I’m 100% serious – if we don’t get at least 100 Comments, you won’t see Part II.

- Eric

P.S. I give you the straight goods about the various altitude simulation devices, so if you want to know if it will improve your performance or not plus some extra data I uncovered from an unlikely source, leave a Comment below:

 ————– PART II ————–

We quickly got 100+ Comments, so here’s Part II of the Altitude Training Simulation Devices.



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Leave A Reply (213 comments so far)


  1. jetkie

    was a fun readin, good job on the research~~~haha


  2. chris

    gimme the damned results.


  3. Matt

    Nice job bridging the gap between exercise physiology and your common gym goers. Results please.

  4. Would love the results. My son’s speed team all bought one and I did not thinking I would wait to see the results from the other team members. They lasted one month and all of them have removed them from practice. My son made the World Team (youngest member 14y/o) for distance. He is interested in the mask but 80.00 is a lot if it doesn’t work. He’s working towards the next level of competition and if you say it is a valuable piece of training then I will purchase one but right now I’m waiting for your part 2 which I would love to know. Have we wasted time not using it or training without the mask is best.


  5. Tony

    It’s probably already been mentioned, but those masks CANNOT reduce the concentration or pressure of Oxygen (or any other gas/element). They only increase the work of breathing. Living at altitude your muscles don’t have to work harder, per se, but the efficiency of breathing is reduced so tidal volume and respiratory rate is increased to compensate. The BENEFIT of these restriction masks is to increase the strength of the breathing muscles, making them less liable to fatigue. If the breathing training is done correctly, the primary muscles of respiration (diaphragm, intercostals) are challenged, as well as the accessory muscles (SCM, scalenes, posterior serratus, etc.) and therein lies the benefit–a proven one in fact. What a lot of folks don’t realize is that the pattern of breathing (maintaining the ideal inspiratory versus expiratory ratios) as well as the muscular activation pattern (diaphragmatic versus upper chest) has tremendous influence on performance as well as core stability and even posture. Breathing training can even improve the thoracic and lumbar curvature angles of the spine as evidenced by a very neat Japanese study on national level swimmers.


  6. Brandon

    I don’t know many who use this mask. But the short duration leads me to believe it won’t provide nearly the full benefits of a live high train high regimen (not even full benefit of live low train high).

    That being said it does seem that wearing the mask would still provide SOME worthwhile benefit. If only boosing your heart rate during high intensity training, and building better breathing technique. It is resistance training nonetheless, why wouldn’t it provide notable improvement?


  7. Brandon

    I was stationed in Colorado Springs, CO for 11 years. At 6,008 feet at city elevation i found it to be an arduous task to just walk up the stairs at first. Having grown up on the coast of North Carolina the elevation was quite a shock the first year. I frequently trained and ran between 8-10,000 feet elevation while living there. After returning home to NC I was looking for that edge again with training and longed for the labors of high altitude training. I purchased an Elevation Training Mask 2.0 and found no difference other than restricted breathing. Us old guys who remember choke sprints and our mouths taped up with a single straw sticking out can relate. Its no different. Save your money and go the extra mile. Hope this helps!

    Eric Reply:

    Thanks for the real-world feedback Brandon!

  8. This mask greatly increases lung capacity and endurance but that is about it. The two things I mentioned are reason enough to get it you ask me. After one day of using it for a hour I was breathing much better on my long distance runs.


  9. d

    ?

  10. I want to see it.


  11. me

    “Altitude training is based on the premise that when you’re at altitude, there’s less oxygen in the air, making exercise a lot harder. The higher you go, the less oxygen there is …”

    The air at altitude does NOT contain less O2. The pressure is reduced therefore the pressure of the O2 is reduced. It’s basic physics and physiology. Those devices are a waste of money; save your cash and wrap a wet handkerchief around your face; it’s the same effect.


  12. Bryant Daniels

    Not many, if any, of these comments have pointed to the primary questioning concern: If one is using the ‘altitude training mask’ for about an hour of strenuous cardio a day, then what is the body doing in regards to increasing red blood cell count and oxygen efficiency the other 23 hours in a day?

    Having lived in Bogota, Colombia for 7 years, which at its lowest level is around 8500 feet of altitude (1.5 miles high), the body is exposed to a [constant] process of oxygen deprivation 24 hours a day. Therefore, the so-called ‘altitude training mask’ does not in any way ‘simulate’ high altitude training in this aspect. Nevertheless, there ay be some benefit in helping to strengthen lung capacity and breathing control, but not to increase red blood cell count as that of what is experience at actual high altitude. This may explain why there is no scientific literature on this device.


  13. An athelete's Mother

    Not cool. Not cool at all. Part II you meanie. You are very fresh!


  14. Rudi

    And for Triathletes who has to hold and endure a longer period of anaerobic performance? I see Pete Jacobs are ushering one, and believe me I especially don’t go after something since a pro athlete is sponsored by it. They obviously enforced to markted the product with just “awe” or “brilliant” comments about it. Olympic and half Iroanman distances does force you to be in the anaerobic zone due to the speed of the race. And lastly, if I stay at lower sea level but then racing at higher altitude, won’t that devises contribute to better lung function and performance?

    Thanks for your efford and research.


  15. Ramiro Quevedo

    I live and train MMA in La Paz, Bolivia, South America, very hard.

    La Paz is 3600 meters above sea level. Yes 3600 metros mis amigos.

    And we run sometimes in La Cumbre to 5000 meters. No joke.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks.


  16. young

    does the altitude training device really work to give you more endurance?…..im a mma fighter b4 i buy 1 im asking for help


  17. Drewsicle3210

    Let’s see it.


  18. Cam

    Eric, can I come work for you? I’m a personal trainer with a special interest in training fighters physically. Not skills. I’m ex military and well educated in a&p and exercise science. I have come up with my own killer routines. Ps I have never trained a fighter, would love the chance tho, cause they are nuggets and can take it. :-)

    Eric Reply:

    Hey Cam I’m in Toronto and I’m not really looking for any employees right now, but thanks for asking. :)


  19. Matthew Christian

    I live in Albuquerque at about 5,300 feet elevation. One of the guys at my gym started wearing the altitude training device when he does speed and muscle density training. He says the mask has helped him maintain stamina. I’m curious about a high-altitude training device when one is already at a higher altitude. Also, the guy is Navajo, and they’re evolved for this altitude, so I’m wondering if the mask would be harder on a white guy who’s lived at sea level most his life.

    Cam Reply:

    Research has been done, it’s been validated, it increases O2 efficiency effectively. No good for strength training. Good for cardio. I used similar devices in the army, works wonders, now I have on of these, same thing. It’s good.

    Cam Reply:

    Research has been done, it’s been validated, it increases O2 efficiency effectively. No good for strength training. Good for cardio. I used similar devices in the army, works wonders, now I have on of these, same thing. It’s good. Y won’t this post!!

    Eric Reply:

    Biggest thing is that this altitude training device doesn’t simulate altitude at all.

    It’s basically an airflow restricting device.

    Bryant Daniels Reply:

    Eric, thus far, I haven’t been able to find any actual scientific literature on this device, so it appears that you are correct in that it only appears to be ‘an airflow restricting device’ as opposed to something that can increase red blood cell count, as well as maintain that red blood cell count 24 hours a day. I perceive that your inference of this device is correct.


  20. Brandon

    Why would you want to increase your RBC production. Increasing RBC production makes your blood thicker, making your heart work harder to pump it through your body. Thickening your blood also increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, etc.

    Jason Reply:

    Your blood may become thinker with an increased RBC count, however, contrary to popular belief a high RBC is in no way,shape, or form a risk factor for myocardial infarction, stroke, etc. MI, and strokes are caused by clots, which are caused by inflammatory factors, such as plaque build-up, LDL particle infiltration, etc. These inflammatory factors are guided to the endothelial blood vessels to attempt to repair lesions(damage) to the cell walls.

    A high RBC count will in fact allow the heart less “work” . RBCs carry oxygen, High amount of RBCs in blood = More O2 being carried to the body’s tissues, Therefore the heart being more efficient since it is able to carry more O2, the heart is able to contract fewer times in order to give tissues the approriate amount of O2.


  21. Gus Gonzalez

    let me know! :)


  22. Dex

    I wanna know :)


  23. Ken Taylor

    What have you found?


  24. korey

    i am a runner and was very interested in your article. Let me see more!!


  25. kaylee

    my coach said it would be a good idea to train in mma with a mask. especially because I have a hard time regulating my breathing. I hyperventilate a lot and idk is I should listen to him. he said it would help with my breathing. should I go with the mask or no?


  26. KT

    Do you want to know how to develop great endurance ? It’s not altitude training , not masks or lung strengthening devices or drugs … It is TRAINING . Just ask Thomas Hearns , Leonard , Hagler , and the countless other old school 15 round fighters that went out blasting away in the 15th round . WHY HAS THE WHOLE WORLD GONE SCIENCE CRAZY ? Get BACK TO BASICS .. and stop over thinking everything . This stuff makes for fun reading , perhaps even a bit intriguing but that’s where it should end .


  27. TOM BROWN

    VERY GOOD,INFORMITIVE ARTICLE…VERY EASY TO UNDERSTAND FOR US LAYMAN.

  28. Me and my wife strangle each other in a more meaningful way now.

    Eric Reply:

    Don’t give a brutha ideas!


  29. ryan sweeny

    ill just work out while breathing through a straw.


  30. nikita murphy

    wanna see the rest :P


  31. Jorge Brouwer

    EXPAND-A-LUNG VS. THE MASK
    Resistance is the key ingredient to any effective breathing exercise, and the Expand-A-Lung is by far the leader in this area. You can easily test this by trying to breathe in and out through your nose (The Mask), instead of through your mouth with direct resistance (The Expand-A-Lung). Here are the clear facts.

    1) You can inhale with resistance almost double the volume of air into your lungs through your mouth with the Expand-A-Lung vs. inhaling through your nose with the Mask.

    2) You can exhale with resistance almost twice the volume of air out of your lungs through your mouth with the Expand-A-Lung vs. exhaling through through your nose with the Mask.

    3) You cannot effectively provide enough “breathing resistance” through your nose vs. through your mouth. Resistance is the key ingredient of any effective breathing exercise.

    In conclusion, you can get a superior and more comfortable breathing training with the compact “Expand-A-Lung” than you can with the bulky “Mask”.


  32. Pasquale

    doesn’t seem like it would work. in order for the red blood cell count to increase, you need to be in the high altitude environment for an extended period of time in order to remain increased for an extended period of time after leaving the environment. climbing everest only takkes about 4 days, but climbers stay on the mountain for at least 6 weeks before making the attempt just so they acclimate to the altitude. for this mask to have a significant positive increase in red blood cells on an athlete, they would need to where it 24/7.


  33. Frank

    i want part 2 man!


  34. Ivan Gunter

    Thanks for the great info., as a result my money is still mine!


  35. Rolland

    I just bought the new version 2.0. I really like it. It feels like it’s helping me.

    Eric Reply:

    Glad to hear brother!


  36. Colin

    I doubt this would actually increase your oxygen carrying capacity to a level to notice a difference. When you train and live at altitude it takes weeks to increase your oxygen capacity. Then when you drop out of altitude it only lasts for about 2 weeks. To me it seems all this would do would be making your work out really suck. I am interested to see what the results are though.


  37. macken97310

    hi eric, I am from french guiana and I really want to know If wearing this altitude training device will help my guys and I to improve our MMA conditionning cession? anyway, as we say here BIG FORCE FOR THE JOB YOU’RE DOING

    I am waiting to read your reply

    Eric Reply:

    Dude, you missed the link at the bottom of the page – it’s right there.


  38. macken

    hi eric, I am from french guiana and I really want to know If wearing this altitude training device will help my guys and I to improve our MMA conditionning cession? anyway, as we say here BIG FORCE FOR THE JOB YOU’RE DOING


  39. Erick

    I want to know whether the altitude training device is a way to make a harder workout more efficient. As well as seeing which is better to use if possible


  40. Chris Davis

    I leaned heavily on this article so far. I see there are already more than 100 comments, but I wanted to say, from a current college student point of view, I appreciate the research.

  41. get at it brother, sounds like you’ve got some A&P under your belt and you’ll give a great review.

  42. Great article – well researched and thought out. But I would be interested in your conclusion..

    I think this could be a usefull conditioning tool but in reality these effects are easily mimicked using various masks from DIY shops or even a simple snorkle. The other issue is duration. Half an hour a day for example is highly unlikely to be sufficient for an adaptive responce.
    Great article though.


  43. derek

    ?????????????????????????


  44. Rven

    What is the conclusion?

  45. I AM ALL EARS FOR THE EXPERT OPINION WITH SOME EMPIRICAL DATA


  46. Blackheart Savage

    Post it. If it does what it’s supposed to I’ll get one asap


  47. Calmin

    Well if you think about it using the mask to train at a high altitude is the same as increasing the intensity of the exercise. To create a long term adaptation you would have to spend more time at a high altitude, in other words live there (or just wear the mask the whole day for a few months lol). I would guess that you need to live high for your body to adapt so whether you train high or train low doesn’t really matter.
    Would really like to find out the answer?

    Thanks Eric


  48. Kris

    Geeezzz some of these people are f’n rude!! Eric is tryin to help you!!!! If you dont like it then leave!!!! I just dont get it. Great info and cant wait for the rest, keep up the great work Eric!


  49. Josemm

    So if living low altitude training hard doesnt really does the trick what happen if I live in a high altitude city and I use the mask to train?? :) It`s my case

    Ger Reply:

    If you are training for a competition happening “fairly soon”, the mask will assist in increased red blood cell for a short time frame but not as much as they claim in their advertising. Remember the rule you are a product of your environment? Well its true and unless you live at high altitude your body will not remain adapt to high level altitude training with just the mask alone. You must live at high altitude to have results remain and if you are living at high altitude then what the hell would you need the mask for? This thing is such a gimmick for those looking for an easy way out. Yeah Shawn Sherk uses it, and he also uses steroids as documented in the past. Dont take the easy way out train hard and you will see the results and the results will last longer naturally. Running around with masks on in the gym makes you look like a fake not a pro athelete.

    FusBoxe MMA Coach Reply:

    I agree with you sir. To get results from altitude one must be at altitude for a minimum of 8 hours at any one time. And I’m sure those blood cell results vary. My biggest issue with the masks is the risk of bulking up lung muscles and inadvertently decreasing lung capacity. In the past I have had fighters use snorkels short term for mental toughness as it creates a hostile breathing environment as is often the case in MMA. But never for cell count modification. Depervation tents do however work.


  50. Chris Gee

    Here’s the answer y’all been waiting for:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWkVXHVOemc&NR=1


  51. STC

    Come on man I have one so let’s hear it


  52. John

    tell us. i need to know if this works before i waste money


  53. Nick

    As a scientist I appreciate the research for the article. Can you attach the references for the papers? The references would help when I chat about the latest and ‘greatest’ in training trends with some research physiologists at work.


  54. Chris Gee

    It sounds to me just like another training gimmick and I believe it is possible that some people will find it beneficial and some won’t. That’s just the way it is.
    Just don’t expect to get the same results Goku got while training in his gravity chamber on Dragonball Z.

  55. So what’s the conclusion?

  56. I’ll bite. give me the goods


  57. Manny

    In order for someone to benefit from this type of training, you would have to live in a high elevation for several weeks at a time. You have to train, eat, sleep, and recover in a high altitude. You don’t train in a high elevation and come down to sea level in order to recuperate! DUH!!!

    I find it hard to believe that one would expect to get the same training effect by wearing this mask only while they are training. Or do you mean to tell me that you would have to wear that stupid gas mask continuously throughout your entire training camp?

    Seems to me that someone got a good deal on army surplus gas masks. It’s like P.T. Barnum said”There is a sucker born every minute!” ROFLMAO!!!! = ))


  58. Manny

    Honest to God, I want to hear what your conclusions are. I tend to think that this mask is BOGUS. You really have to live in a high elevation for several weeks in order to benefit from high elebation. You would have to wear that stupid mask continously for weeks at a time. God helps those poor fools that have claustraphobia. Besides, your face would get pretty hot while wearing that stupid mask!

    Its like P.T. Barnum said, ” There is a sucker born every minute!” LOL = ))

  59. Having trained in a real altitude chamber where the amount of O2 and pressure is regulated to mimmic 4500meters we would question whether the mask could do the same simply by restricting volume of air into the lungs. At whatever sea level you train, the amount of oxygen per volume of air is not going to change if all you are doing is restricting the amount you take in. Hence, you are not traing at a higher altitude. However, restricting air intake can improve overall respiratory function and enhance lung capacity over time, which is part of what you want to achieve anyway.


  60. Josh

    Can I see part 2 please? Great article so far


  61. Javon

    I am actually very interested to find out if it works, I’ve considered buying it many times.


  62. ERIC

    ……………………..


  63. Kawakid

    Interested to know what your conclusions are – I think a lot of new equipment these days is designed to satisfy the need for another latest greatest quick-fit fix in society instead of good old training basics and training hard IMO – its a world of “if they are doing it, it must be good so I must do it”


  64. David

    Ok, I’ll bite. Probably won’t be running with a gas mask in the gym, but I’m curious if something as simple as reducing oxygen during training can actually work.


  65. Gary

    how does this training device compare with bas rutten’s o2 trainer?


  66. eman

    does the mask really work


  67. Jason

    Awesome work, mate! Funny how people always want something for free on the internet. All you asked them to do was post a comment and they turn on you. So let me get this right… even though YOU were the one that put in the hours doing the work, you are somehow a douche for making us express our interest in you putting in more hours so that we don’t have to? Classic. How ’bout this? Trolls… Stop wasting OUR time with your “poor me” posts and Cowboy the F#%& UP!


  68. Jeremy

    Conclusion!


  69. david

    I would love to read part 2 of this! All the other articles i have read are biased on this product one way or another. They recommend it because they sell it, or they don’t recommend it because they have something invested in seeing the product fail.


  70. tumeke22

    I think it has merit one time I went away for 5 weeks without training any MMA but I did spearfishing with a snorkel nearly everyday, when I returned to training I couldn’t figure out why my fitness levels had dramatically increased even though I did no exercise for 5 weeks so I credit the snorkeling which by principle is similar given that you are forced to breathe through a restricted space.


  71. Parker

    I’d like to know if I’m getting any benefit out it. I’ve been usiung it consistently for the past week and it def makes training more difficult but will I reap the benefits I am looking for?


  72. seb97400

    Please let us know Eric!


  73. Troy

    I am interested in seeing the rest of this article. I has read that the masks do not necessarily produce the RBC response but they do increase the amount of calories that you burn during a workout. So it could be useful when trying to drop weight. I’d like to know if that was true.


  74. Wilco

    I really wanna see the result! In theory it sounds great so I hope you will share the next half of your elite article with us.


  75. Erik

    Great work Eric! Looking forward to the conclusion of your research…


  76. Matthew

    Although I suspect the answer already I would definitely like to have my suspicions confirmed


  77. James

    Looking forward to the result as was wondering if it was hype or not?


  78. Wade

    Please post results


  79. Peedy

    Good to see an intelligent approach. Have seen a few of these masks appearing and although I have not read any scientific papers I AM old enough to recall the 68 Olympics and all the stories I read later when I studied the subject in high school sports science. The conclusion was as you stated: LLTH was not sufficient to create beneficial changes and that the athlete would have to spend extended periods in a LHTH environment to get real benefit. If I recall back about 40 years the period mentioned was in the area of three months at a time.

    The one area it could help is for fighters who quit mentally too soon. If they train with the mask and use it to help push past that habit of quitting too early because it is not comfortable then it could help perhaps. A bit like Dan Gable and the Hawkeyes in the team sauna room crying for mercy.


  80. Eric

    Expand-A-Lung – Oh boy. Shameless promotion. :(

    Tools are great SUPPLEMENTS to actual training, but always remember the SAID principle.
    Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. This simply means that you should train as close as possible to the way you actually wish to perform.

    In MMA, it would be ideal to fight full force as often as your recovery capabilities would allow. This is not possible due to the high risk of injury. Thus we use tools and sub maximal sparring to try to safely prepare ourselves.

    We also need to remember that our time and recovery capabilities are limited, thus we need to pick safe and efficient means of training. The financial cost of training gear and instruction is also a concern for most of us.

    In conclusion, always judge new or different ways of training using the framework listed above. Based upon that, I would say that this mask is a bunch of crap. I am not saying it doesn’t do anything, but I am saying that it is not worth your time or suffering for improved MMA performance.

    And the answer is Reply:

    I have nothing to do with the product actually.
    I had heard about it and made a few posts to get to 100.


  81. And the answer is

    ……..


  82. Mikey

    I just wanna know what it is you found!


  83. Oatmeal

    Would be curious to hear if there is any substantiating evidence to the claims.


  84. Gbshaun

    It’s easy to tell, absolutely definitively, if the mask is simulating altitude by using a fingerclip Pulseoximeter. These used to be expensive medical devices, but now i see them for the public for under $100.
    When you are at altitude, especially exercising, the blood saturation level drops below the usual 96-99%. I think for an altitude effect during exercising the levels need to down in the lower 80′s. It’s the reduced saturation which causes the body to adapt, so no desaturation no altitude training effect.
    There used to be a re-breather device for exercisng on the market 30 years ago, but it had canisters or sodasorb in a backpack to scrub the CO2. Aparently it did enable the desaturation, but was bulky. Do a google search for “Po2 Aerobic Exerciser”


  85. Shaq

    Never mind…..

    http://m.wired.com/playbook/2011/01/nba-lawsuit-power-balance/

    Eric Reply:

    Oh whoops oh well I was getting my astronaut suit on but I’ll stop now.


  86. Shaq

    Power Balance Bracelet will help your MMA.

    http://m.powerbalance.com/

    Eric Reply:

    Will it also help me fly to the moon?


  87. Michael

    Dude seriously, this is a serious cliffhanger. Don´t just start with some serious interesting shit, and then not giving us the answer!

    What if we just go to work with our mask man, that would be LHTH. And maybe the wife´s in to fetish.. Who knows…

    Eric Reply:

    Well if the wife’s into fetish then I think bedroom exercise intensity will increase drastically making it the best $90 you ever spent lol!


  88. CG

    Im very interested in seeing part II


  89. Alan

    I think you already told us the answer. You said live low train high does not increase your rbc count, so unless you wear that mask 24-7, it’s not going to work.

    There are two questions and I think the average guy will only think about the first one.
    1) Does the mask simulate high altitude? (Yes?)
    2) Does high altitude training increase rbc count if you live at low altitude the rest of the time? (No?)

    Third question:
    3) Can LLTH increase your anaerobic performance somehow? (Dunno. Wait for cliffhanger?)

    Eric Reply:

    Good questions Alan – an inquiring mind is always an astute mind.


  90. Koslovski

    Eric, I have been considering buying one of these masks, but am like you not 100% sold on it.

    I had 8 month training stint at altitude before my last grappling tournament and found the gains to be huge when I came back down to coast to compete.

    So please post part 2 of your research


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  92. Marios

    I am very curious to know….


  93. Eric

    #85

    Eric Reply:

    Maybe #86

    Eric Reply:

    Hey, duplicates don’t count. :)


  94. Theory or Practical

    I hope the final results are not just based in theory but a 6 or 12 week practical study.


  95. Chris

    If the conlusion shows that it works, should cardio with the mask be done before or after lifting?


  96. Keith

    I’d say it works…your teaching your body to cope and perform maximally without as much oxygen. Certainly applicable to the MMA fighter hen your tired, winded and breathing heavy in the later rounds of a fight or say you’re caught in a choke of some sort, or have a forearm on your windpipe in the bottom position. At the end of the day, you still need as much oxygen as possible but this should allow you to handle short periods of ‘deprivation’.


  97. I wonder if

    Will my hill sprint training be more challenging now?


  98. James

    I’m going to go out on a limb and based on the Single scientific opinion you referenced from Switzerland, that the mask is just another gimick. Unless of course you live at high altitudes and train in a mask at low altitudes? But hey, whats the answer? lol


  99. Maybe it's hype

    I’d like to know especially with all the PED use going on in MMA.


  100. drew

    i want to know


  101. markus

    come on, let us know what you have found, eric. i bought a mask only a few weeks ago and i think i already get an increase in condition. that´s what i´m feeling. placebo??

    by the way, thanks a lot for your great statemants and videos. we really appreciate each of them.

    Kind Regards from germany

    markus


  102. JD

    Good article Eric. I say LHTL. live high because altitude builds RBS’s which will increase aerobic capacity and train low because you can train more intensely at lower altitudes. Short bouts with the mask will starve the body of O2 and decrease training intensity and will only be useful if you’re trying to mimic being gassed at the end of the fight.


  103. Tony Ricci

    The mask won’t change the the partial pressure of oxygen at all so it won’t change your H&H much either. I believe the mask’s main value is to improve the mechanical ease of breathing (when breathing intensely) by overloading the accessory muscles and the diaphragm (maybe). It would be intriguing to see if the mask also improves the airway structure’s resistance to changes while breathing at extreme airflow rates. In such cases a partial collapse (narrowing) of airways may occur, hence then wheezing one can induce in oneself simply by forcefully exhaling hard. Good article though…..looking forward to the rest. I imagine that there is a psychological benefit as well…..simply due to the comparative ease of working without the mask during competition.


  104. Rob

    I believe it takes approx 2wks for the body to truly acclimate to altitude. I am not sure, but either 1400 or 1900 ft above sea level seems to ring in my head as the cut off. So the LLTH would be insufficient to increase erythropoietin which is responsible for RBC production…..right. Now psychologicallly, getting used to sucking for air might help if one gets caught in a rear naked choke.

    DSkully Reply:

    I think it’s actually longer for the body to fully adjust to altitude in this sense, because the body needs to kick out more red blood cells, which takes a while. If memory serves correct, it’s closer to 4 weeks to fully compensate.
    It only takes about 1-2 weeks for your body’s pH to adjust to altitude, which works as follows:

    - you breath faster because there’s less oxygen (O2) around in the atmosphere
    - by breathing faster, you get rid of more carbon dioxide (CO2)
    - CO2 and bicarb (HCO3-) are the main ways that your body balances it’s pH. CO2 is the acid, HCO3- is the alkali (base)
    - as your lungs get rid of more CO2, your kidneys begin to get rid of more bicarb to balance it out, a process that takes about a week to equal out (or get close to it, you never fully come back to your normal pH)
    - once you’ve made enough red blood cells to carry the O2 that you need, you don’t have to breath as fast and the process swings back in the other direction

    I think it’s also important to know that bicarb helps you clear lactic acid (the stuff that makes your muscles burn when you’re doing anaerobic exercise), and if you’re at the point in this cycle where you’re kidneys have dumped a bunch of bicarb to balance your pH and you haven’t made enough RBCs to make up for the O2 difference, you’re going to have more trouble clearing lactic acid. I can’t remember the guy’s name, but there was an American miler who set himself up for this perfectly at the ’68 Games in Mexico City: showed up about a week before his race to “get acclimated”, his body adjusted for pH, but didn’t have time to make new RBCs, and he promptly finished 12th in his race.

    Anyways, Rob, you are correct that this device isn’t going to stimulate erythropoietin production. Same goes for the LLTH philosophy. I think you might be better off if you wore this thing for daily activities and for sleeping. That would have a better chance of convincing your body that there’s not enough O2 around and perhaps increase erythropoietin production. I’m thinking it’s probably not worth it to drop 90 bucks for this thing…


  105. T L

    Are you saying none of those sports scientists studied Judo or wrestling athletes but we went and stuck them in the US Olympic training facility in Colorado anyway?

    Too bad science is sooo expensive . . .


  106. Lee Kent

    I need to know!!!!! :-)

    I have been looking at this for a while know but without the knowledge and experience like you guys have most of the information might as well be in shorthand!

    Please, Please, Please release the answer :-).

    I look forward to reading it soon!


  107. Pat

    What is the answer? I was just yesterday looking into buying one of these.


  108. Colton

    What’s the answer man? Keep the articles coming… It’s all great info


  109. Adam

    Hey Eric,

    Please release your results regarding these training devices. It’s good information if I ever decide to take my training to the next level, and it will let me know if certain coaches on TUF are teaching the contestants the correct training techniques.

  110. I’m going to hazard a guess that the mask does provide some benefit, but only when used intermittently at rest. For true, altitude-like training, the better option would be sleepingin a hypoxic tent.


  111. DD

    come on bro tell us

  112. ………….Even Chuck Liddell said high altitiude training is B.S.

    Eric Reply:

    Dude I would take any of Chuck Liddell’s claims with a grain of salt ever since I saw that video of him working out on an elliptical in the buff….

  113. Eish !!!!!! whats the answer maann ???????

  114. I don’t really care to use it, but I’d like to know whether it is worth it!!


  115. wil

    so what is the conclusion?


  116. Travis

    I thought this was something that seemed too good to be true, esp at the price point, I also figured that you not only needed to Train but LIVE in High Altitude to really see results. Adaption like that wouldnt take place by just spending 4 hours a day at high altitude, simulated or real I would think.

    Thanks Eric!


  117. Mike

    So what is the final verdict?


  118. Iz

    Reviews on Amazon are mixed, so it would be great to get your thoughts on the product.


  119. Raymond

    I’m thinking of moding a rubber half mask w/ filters (like the ones used for liquid respiriable contaminants). They are quite a bit cheaper and there is nothing over your eyes that could get fogged up (I sweat alot).
    Let’s hear the final verdict on this self induced hypoxic training device. Is it really worth my while?


  120. Roland

    I’d like to know whether my performance should improve after a skiing trip as well. If I live at 1700m high skiing 6-7 hours a day for a week, will it make any significant change in my RBC density? Because I tried it, and I didn’t notice any difference when I trained back home the following day.

    Thanks!


  121. Beno

    Waiting in anticipation :D


  122. tan

    PLEASE TELL HOLY WONG MAN


  123. Jeff

    I was thinking of getting one. Right now I’m just using a modded snorkel, but if this is legit I might pick one up.

  124. Conclusion please. This is an intriguing article! With all the hype about the altitude training device I want to know if it’s for real or not.

  125. My theory: It works for anaerobic but not for aerobic sports. Maybe has something to do with a possible internal trigger? Not sure, but I am intrigued to see the answer.


  126. PaullyM

    new website “insider” format (as used for your BEV) looks great!

    Ps. what’s the answer?

    Eric Reply:

    Thanks dude! The answer is a-coming…


  127. Semir

    I would like to know and I would be interested in an article that’s more detailed than this one..


  128. ole

    What is the final answer?


  129. bruddah hui

    What’s the final answer?


  130. Kevin

    What’s the answer?


  131. bigbeat11

    So what is the answer?


  132. Andree

    Today the Harry Potter craze started here in Germany, so everybody is waiting to see the last part of it. So you´ve really sstarted something that I reaaaalllllyyyyy want to know! Part 2 please!

    All the best and thanx for all the good work, Eric!


  133. Paul

    I want to know what you think now!!!


  134. Randy

    I’ve used one. It seems to work but I want to know the truth before I buy one.


  135. James

    I would love to hear you final part to this. I am looking at improving my game so this would help


  136. Sean

    Part 2 please


  137. Tim

    Come on Eric i am thinking about buying one of these! I need your input before i spend my money!


  138. julien

    It is a bit too difficult to understand for me but because I wanted to buy one, the answer will be most welcomed…


  139. Andy

    Too F!@#$%G funny! Reminds me of the Saturday/Sunday night movies on TV in the early 90′s… TO BE CONTINUED. Bad part is I never did get to see the other half of the movies. Oh well, maybe I’ll get to read the “PART TWO” of this blog. If not in 20 years something may trigger my memories and make me think back to the time I read a half post on a blog referring to training with a retro WW2 gas mask! The funny thing is I really don’t care if the “MASK” works or not, the only time I would wear one would be if I was being attacked by some kind of chemical warfare! Kudos to the first half of the post.

    Eric Reply:

    Well, we got the 100+ Comments so hopefully you’ll be back….


  140. Hardwig

    C’mon mate, I want to know it this helps for real or not… I use the mask during my training and personally I find it very usefull but is it in my head or not? :)


  141. fellow warrior

    “Knowing is not enough, you must apply; willing is not enough, you must do.” Bruce Lee ” half way knowing is more dangerous then not knowing at all. therefore lets finish the lesson …Thanks Eric !!! ready and willing to learn..


  142. Darin

    Oh yeah I would very much like to know if it works. I see alot of athletes using this device if not make shift ones like it.

  143. Train slow, fight slow that’s what you will get as your end result that’s why training high living low will never work that’s my take on the mask amyway. The only benefit I see is it may induce an adrenal stress factor (fuck I cant breath) that mimics that of a fight, which might prepare someone for that oh so common feeling.
    Besides that it’s simply a bad look.


  144. Chris

    Post the second half. You got my attention then shot me down. Not cool.

    Eric Reply:

    You’ll get over it. :)


  145. dragonmamma/naomi

    Even assuming it did work, I’d wait for the model that didn’t have full-face coverage which cuts down visibility 80% and increases facial sweat and nerdiness 1000%.

    Eric Reply:

    Good call!


  146. Tommy

    Part 2 pretty please!


  147. Tom

    I have bought this, it feels like it works but I get to find out if it really does July 23rd whenni fight in Boston.


  148. Dave

    Well, I would like to know if it works myself since I have been considering buying one.


  149. TJH

    Please continue.


  150. Bobby

    Lets see part two….I have been wondering about the validity of the claims of these devices


  151. coy_jitsu

    Cant…take it…anymore…must…get…part 2….Aaaarrrghhhh!!!


  152. Kenny Blanton

    Hey Eric,

    I literally just woke up 10 mins ago and was checking my emails on my phone. When I saw these I knew I had to comment. The trainers at my Kickboxing gym and I have been discussing whether to get one of these or not. I trust your reviews and can’t wait to hear what you’ve come up with. Thanks for everything.

    PS this my first post, that’s shows how much I need that answer. Keep up the great work warrior.


  153. Ross

    it would be interesting to know about the other forms of altitude training, maybe if you wore the mask to bed it would have a greater effect on your red blood cell count and would freak the hell out of your partner.

  154. Part 2 please


  155. Anders

    Plz..


  156. david roberts

    lame. post the results the first time. wasted ten minutes before work just to read this and get . . . . . . .nothing.


  157. John

    And …….. ? You’ve certainly baited us this time, Eric!!


  158. Brian

    I have already bough one…lease give us part II


  159. Rocci

    I religously follow Erics MMA strength and conditioning programs and I never doubt my fitness, I am just interested because I have seen others at my gym use it,


  160. Rocci

    C’mon Eric, you know that I want to know, and I am gonna keep posting seperate comments to make it to 100 if I have to!!


  161. Rocci

    I really want to know!!


  162. Rocci

    I want to know!!!!


  163. Ross White

    Hi Eric,

    Another quality post from you, with some realy good info. It would be awsome to see part 2 on this subject, as was thinking about investing in this product. Anything that can potentially give you the edge over your opponent has got to be a good thing right? Would also like to see the info you got on the live high train high & the live high train low princeples.

    Ross White


  164. Nindz

    Would love to know the answer to this.
    Must admit my intial reaction to seeing this mask was that it is gimmick


  165. Virgil Tanner

    I like when you do the science. My undergrad is in biochem, so I eat that stuff up.

    The “leave 100 comments” thing sounds like Joel Marion, whose work I like. But I hate this leave-me-some-comments game. I am sure it has some business or marketing function, but it sounds a little like when middle schoolers beg for compliments or high school girls try to get all their friends to say they are pretty. I am sure that’s not what you’re doing, but fighter to fighter, it just feels a little unbecoming.

    Is there another way you can accomplish the same business/marketing goal?

    Peace, and thanks for your work. Yours is the only training email I read, besides occasionally the Bodyweightcoach guys. Keep up the good work.

    V

    Eric Reply:

    Hey Virgil, good call, yeah I’ve seen Joel do this…

    Basically, it helps Google see that people are spending time here on this site, helping it rank higher… That’s why I do it…

    Plus, it’s fun to interact sometimes and get feedback about posts that are interesting, so I know what to write about further… If only 30 people left comments, I wouldn’t spend another 8 hours researching, writing and editing Part II, it’s democracy at work my friend.

    UnbelievaBILL Reply:

    I’ll hold my breath until I get 5 million dollars ! Here’s an idea, muscle-heads, close your mouth while you workout. Put earplugs in your nose, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? I’m amazed this has so many people champing at the bit for answers. I’ll bet someone is working on an endorsement deal before telling everyone this will make you last longer in bed. SNAKE OIL ANYONE?


  166. Diego

    Not Cool but reguardless I still love the mask teaches u work thur fatigue
    Which happens sooner


  167. jason griggs

    From my personal experience I find that it does help with my cardio for mma, especially because I have major sinus problems that when i workout my sinuses block to the point where I can barely breathe through my nose at all. So i find that it does help, I will probably be proven wrong but it’s just a personal observation.
    I really would like to know wether this is all in my head or if it actually does work.

  168. PLEASE TELL US! I was really interested in hypoxia training when Wanderlei started it, but he got so slow. Stronger, but slower. I hope in your next article you include answers to both claims too! I was born with asthma and have overcome it somehow, so I’m curious to see if this mask can help lung capacity too. (I can’t see why not, in marching band they made us do lung exercises while marching to be able to hold long notes while marching. I played tuba, so I quite, but that’s beside the point.)


  169. Dan De Bond

    I’ve taken the bait. Look forward to the conclusion.


  170. Duane

    Hi Eric. Im not in a position to spend as I wish so I would really appreciate the other info. Thank you for sharing so much research with us. Duane. (South Africa).


  171. Frank

    Well don’t leave us all in suspense now…..


  172. Patrick

    Give me the rest!


  173. Shaughn

    Hi,

    One of 100…. i really want to see the results… :-)


  174. Will

    Nice promo…


  175. Mark J

    Interesting stuff Eric. So to make your page load quicker did you make it wear a mask to replicate LLTH training? Or not?! Hmm the suspense… ;)

    Eric Reply:

    Hahahahah yeah I strapped the altitude training device in front of my computer and holy shit – INSTANT results!


  176. Richyok

    Let’s find out folks – 95 more required!


  177. mark

    I like new training methods, so I hope you post the second half.


  178. Shane "The Dane" Nielsen

    Cant wait for the reply, been wondering about this!


  179. jedri

    This is a douch move dude…. come on tell us or at least tell us what articles and i will go read it my self

    Eric Reply:

    It wasn’t that bad was it?

    If you watch TUF you should be used to it by now… ;)

    Poriel Reply:

    Are we at 100 yet? I’m definitely interested in your findings of it.


  180. austin

    omg i needed this cause i was thinking of buying it

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