Planning Your First 15 Days Of Training With AltoLab October 22 2015

How do you do the first 15 days of training with AltoLab?

We generally advise athletes to follow the traditional protocol for their first 15 days of training. That is a program where the saturation targets get progressively lower over the 15 days starting around 90% saturation and ending around 80-83%.


The first time you use AltoLab determine a benchmark for how many black cups (AltoMixers) you need to reach 90% and use that to guide you:


Before starting your first session, you want to do a test called a de-saturation benchmark. It’s a measure of your body’s ability to maintain blood oxygen levels at a set altitude. Blood oxygen levels are related to how much oxygen is in the air you breathe, how much your demand your body has for oxygen and the efficiency of your cardiovascular system to transport it. We want to have some sort of measure of this efficiency. Hence the test standardizes the oxygen you breathe and is done at rest to limit differences in oxygen demand.


Sit quietly for 5 min and let your heart rate settle. Set up the AltoLab so that you have two full AltoMixers attached. Place the oximeter on your finger and record your blood oxygen levels (SpO2%) and resting heart rate (HR).


Set your timer and start breathing through the AltoLab for 6min. Record your SpO2% and HR at the end of the 5th min and also the 6th min. You’ll get a table that looks something like this:

SpO2  HR
Rest 98% 66
5th min 87% 83
6th min 84% 88

Average for 5th &

6th min
87.5% 83.5


Then at the end of your 15 days (or each day if you want to check progress) you can simply repeat. If you are tired prior to doing an AltoLab session, you can test first to see if you should do it. Say for example, you did a long bike ride of 75mi (120km) and were feeling tired and not sure if you should do your AltoLab session, you can do a 6 min test. If your rest SpO2% saturations are LOWER than normal then it’s probably a good day to skip AltoLab and you can continue the 15 day program a day later. Because you’ve done hard training that day your resting oxygen demand will be higher, resulting in higher resting HR and lower SpO2 levels than on a rest day.


To help you, look over the de-saturation benchmark retest outcomes and response table below:

 Outcome of Retest Response (What to Do)
HR and Saturation are about the same as the initial test.

This is normal in the first 4 days. After day 4, this may happen when you are combining hard training and AltoLab.

If you feel tired then consider making the saturation targets 1-2% higher for that session, repeat the test the following day.

HR and Saturation are both 10% higher then the initial test.

If this occurs in the first 4 days consider making the saturation targets a bit higher or delay lowering the daily saturation targets.

 If this occurs after the first 4 days then consider modifying the session, consider making the session easier by aiming for 3-4% higher saturation.

 If this is the night after a heavy training day skip and continue the plan the following day

HR and Saturation are both 10% Lower then the initial test. You are responding well and you are recovering well. Keep with the program.