Circuit training at altitude – more bang for your buck?
Circuit training gives you the best of both worlds. As well as muscular growth through the repetition of multiple strength moves, you also get the endurance stimulus that comes with completing this type of exercise to a high-intensity over a long period of time. We schedule circuit classes to give that pre-breakfast and lunch metabolic blast, which will continue burning calories throughout the rest of the day. But going beyond this, what actually happens physiologically and metabolically when these classes are completed at altitude?
A recent study provided 12 resistance-trained males with three circuit training sessions, each completed on separate days. One session was completed at high altitude (~3700 m; FiO2 = 13%) one at moderate altitude (~2100 m; FiO2 = 16%), and one at sea level. The sessions involved a similar structure to what we provide at our Trump Street chamber – a mixture of repeated core and accessory moves with rest between each set. Peak and mean power, SpO2, and lactate was then measured throughout each session.
The results showed that peak and mean power, and SpO2 did not change, whilst lactate increased, during the sea level circuit session. Although peak and mean power and SpO2 decreased, and lactate increased during the moderate altitude sessions, these responses were further exacerbated in the high altitude session.
So it seems a lot of responses occurred in this study, but what do they actually mean? Essentially, the circuit session at sea level didn’t provide that much of a physiological and metabolic stimulus. In comparison to high altitude, the responses seen here illustrate levels that equate to reaching failure and fatigue, through a significantly reduced power and high levels of lactate. Therefore, it seems that carrying out circuit sessions in a moderate level of altitude, such as the level we utilise in our Trump Street chamber, you’ll be able to obtain that beneficial physiological and metabolic stimulus, without negatively impacting performance (i.e., power).
Take a look here for how to book into one of our circuit sessions!
Ramos-Campo et al. (2017). European Journal of Applied Physiology, DOI 10.1007/s00421-017-3571-7.