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The Science

The Altitude Centre is committed to research. We employ a full time researcher and collaborate with many Universities on research projects ranging from heart disease to weight loss to sports performance.

We are currently engaged with 2 national sporting bodies looking in depth into the beneficial adaptations found by our clients that are associated with altitude acclimatisation and our training protocols.

We have selected a small sample of our research across sport, mountaineering and health which we hope you find of interest. Our team are happy to compile research on specific topics of altitude acclimatisation and hypoxic training upon request.

Hypoxic training and weight loss

New research suggests that mild physical exercise three times per week for 90 min in normobaric hypoxia for 8 weeks led to significantly greater weight loss in obese persons than the exercise in sham hypoxia (sea level).

Netzer NC, Chytra R, Küpper T. Low intense physical exercise in normobaric hypoxia leads to more weight loss in obese people than low intense physical exercise in normobaric sham hypoxia. Sleep Breath. 2008 May;12(2):129-34.

Hypoxic training and strength

Current research suggests that resistance training under hypoxic conditions improves muscle strength and induces muscle hypertrophy faster than under normoxic conditions, thus representing a promising new training technique. In the hypoxic training group arm strength was increased significantly from baseline after only 3wks (p< 0.01).

Nishimura et al. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 2010, 5, 497-508

Hypoxic training and endurance performance

Intermittent hypoxic training involving specific high-intensity and moderate- duration hypoxic sessions, is considered to maximise potential muscular adaptation in trained athletes, resulting in increased endurance performance capacity. Within this current study only the HYP training group achieved a significant increase in running time to exhaustion.

Dufour SP, Ponsot E, Zoll J, Doutreleau S, Lonsdorfer-Wolf E, Geny B, Lampert E, Flück M, Hoppeler H, Billat V, Mettauer B, Richard R, Lonsdorfer J. Exercise training in normobaric hypoxia in endurance runners. I. Improvement in aerobic performance capacity. J Appl Physiol. 2006 Apr;100(4):1238-48.

Hypoxic training and Acute Mountain Sickness

Acute mountain sickness (AMS) develops in non acclimatized mountaineers going to high altitudes. The incidence of AMS increases with altitude, and hypoxia is a major causative factor. Previous research suggests that when mountaineers ascend rapidly to 2,500 m, about 10% of them will suffer AMS, and when ascending to 4,500 m, the AMS incidence will exceed 60%, however individuals differ in their response to altitude. Therefore awareness of an individual’s susceptibility for AMS is helpful for correctly informing specific preventive strategies and hypoxic training programs.

Arterial oxygen saturation during short-term exposure to normbaric or hypobaric hypoxia (corresponding altitudes are shown) for individuals with and without AMS susceptibility.
Martin, Burscher, Martin Faulhaber, Markus Flatz, Prediction of susceptibility to Acute Mountain Sickness by SaO2 values during short-term exposure to hypoxia. High Altitude Medicine & Biology, Volume 5, Number 3, 2004