Elevation Training Masks - Do They Actually Work?Published on:
The Elevation Training Mask — do they really do anything? Queue 50/50 intense arguments both for and against these fitness garments/ pieces of equipment.
What are they actually supposed to do?
Training by reducing your oxygen intake is what is called Hypoxic Training — Hypoxia, in effect, means Oxygen debt. This basically means you are reducing or restricting your oxygen intake, forcing or training your body, your lungs and your heart to utilise oxygen more efficiently.
Should I listen to the haters?
Whilst most haters are more than likely people who are afraid to try something new, or people who believe their existing scientific knowledge is enough to make such a statement, or more than likely people who have read articles written by one of the above 2 types of people, there are some questions that can be raised about the masks.
The most common would be; If you train with the mask in order to compete at an advantage, surely you will only benefit if you are competing at an elevated level, where your opponent doesnt have experience competing?
This is a fair question, however, swimmers undergo similar training exercises using snorkels with tape over the end and a pencil sized hole for breathing — this is to train them to increase their lung capacity; a similar exercise is to hold your breath for 7 strokes, again to see the same benefits.
So after all the hype, all the doubt and the unanswered questions, I thought SOD IT, Im going to try this for myself.
I purchased 2 of the Elevation Training Masks so that my mate Nathan and I could try them out. As soon as I put the mask on I instantly felt how restricted my breathing was going to be, I almost panicked at how difficult it was to breath.
After the initial shock, I got used to the feeling and started to wear it to run the half mile trip to my gym. After about a month of wearing the mask to and from the gym, roughly 3 times a week, I noticed that the run was getting easier, so naturally assumed that my body, lungs and heart were adapting to this new restricted-breathing way of training.
Nathan and I decided to try running without the mask one week, and what happened next was very impressive! We ran the distance quicker than we had prior to wearing the masks and could only describe our breathing as — it feels like we are getting too much oxygen.
We both agreed that the masks had made the run much easier than it had prior to using them, whether this was real, or a placebo, I cannot answer, but for sure it did improve our run and certainly made it feel like our bodies were using the oxygen much more efficiently than before.
I certainly think that the masks are worth trying, although I would recommend them to people who are already active. If you are at an almost peak performance level then I certainly believe that you will see real benefit in training with the mask — it will help to push you past where you might have previously plateaud.