As a means of supplying a hypoxic stimulus, individual rooms, apartments or houses are sealed off and the concentration of oxygen within these rooms or apartments is lowered either via nitrogen dilution or oxygen extraction. In most cases these apartments are designed for comfortable living by the athletes for periods between 12 to 18 hours per day.
In attempts to provide more convenient and time efficient but less expensive ways to train in low oxygen environments, a number of new technologies have been developed to simulate real altitude training. The main types of simulated altitude provide their hypoxic stimulus through pressure reduction (hypobaric chamber), nitrogen dilution (hypoxic apartments and rooms) or oxygen filtration (hypoxicator machines).
These are portable small altitude systems that allow the athlete to travel with the equipment and set up the altitude in their own rooms. These systems have a generator and an oxygen extraction unit which feeds hypoxic air through a series of hoses into a portable sealed tent which is normally placed over the bed. This allows athletes to sleep in the hypoxic environment.
The constructive or growth phase of metabolism. It is often used with the word “steroid” – as in “anabolic steroid” – to denote a class of drugs used by athletes to increase size and strength.
ATP (adenosine triphosphate)
An organic molecule that stores and releases chemical energy for use in body cells.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
The amount of energy expanded by the body when in a resting state. It is the most important factor in the determination of weight gain or loss.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
The ratio of weight (in kilograms) divided by height (in meters squared). The result is body composition; i.e., the degree of fat in the body.
The destructive phase of metabolism. The opposite of anabolism.
The chief hormone produced by the adrenal medulla.
An iron-phosphorous-protien complex containing about 23 percent iron. Ferritin is the form in which iron is stored in the tissues, primarily of the spleen, liver, and bone marrow.
FEV1 (forced expiratory volume)
Amount of air that can be forcefully exhaled from the lungs in one second.
FVC (forced vital capacity)
Amount of air that can be exhaled from the lungs after the individual breathes in as deeply as possible. There is no time limit for FVC, but the exhalation must be continuous until no more air can be expelled.
The percentage of erythrocytes (red blood cells) to total blood volume.
The oxygen-transporting components of red blood cells.
Reduction of oxygen due to reduction of oxygen-carrying ability of red blood cells due to their rupture.
High High Low Model
Athletes live at high altitude and perform low to moderate-intensity training at high altitude but travel down to low altitude to perform high intensity training sessions. This model was developed to overcome the difficulties of performing high intensity training in a hypoxic environment.
Interval Hypoxic Exposure (IHE)
Intermittent hypoxic exposure (IHE) is exposure to short periods of hypoxic air at rest (9-15% oxygen, equivalent to approximately 6600-2700 m) alternated with normoxic air (21% oxygen). This technique was originally trialled by Russian aviators in attempts to preacclimatize pilots to the high altitudes encountered during sojourns in open cockpit planes.
Interval Hypoxic Training (IHT)
IHT consists of breathing hypoxic air intermittently with normoxic air, however unlike (IHE) the athlete exercises while breathing the hypoxic air. This is similar to living at sea level and conducting training sessions at altitude (LLTH).
Live High Train High Model
The traditional and probably the most commonly practiced form of altitude training is the Live High-Train High (LHTH) approach, in which athletes live at altitude for a period of time and perform all their training and “living” in one location. It is suggested that the optimal altitude dose for such training is 2000-2500 m for 3-4 weeks. Going to very high altitude is unproductive as the stress on the body and the resultant side effects from such high altitude usually outweigh any performance benefits.
Live High Train Low Model
The Live High-Train Low model has an advantage over the Live High-Train High model because high intensity training can continue at lower altitudes enabling the athlete to gain sport-specific peripheral and neuromuscular adaptations that are normally lost at high altitude.
Metabolic Equivalent (MET)
A relative measure of energy expenditure. One MET is equivalent to the expenditure of the body while at rest. All other activities are considered multiples of this resting state. For example, if an activity is said to be 8 MET’s, that activity results in eight times the energy expended by the body while at rest.
A hormone produced by the adrenal medulla, similar in chemical and pharmacological properties to epinephrine, but chiefly a constrictor of blood vessels with little effect on cardiac output.
The amount of kinetic energy generated by the entire body in motion.
The length of time it takes the body to respond to a visual stimulation resulting in a movement of the appropriate part, or parts, of the body.
RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate)
RMR – resting metabolic rate - is how many calories you would burn if you were just resting for 24 hours. It is the minimum amount of energy required to keep your body functioning, including your heart beating, lungs breathing, and body temperature normal.
Respiratory Exchange Ratio
The Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER) the is relationship between the amount Carbon Dioxide (CO2) produced and Oxygen (O2) consumed in one breath.
The heart rate in beats per minute of exertion of a body on a treadmill in the first of three stages of difficulty (effort).
In general, an abnormally rapid heart rate exceeding one hundred beats per minute in adults. Some types of tachycardia, such as sinus tachycardia, are not abnormal; rather, these can be due to exercise, hyperthermia, and certain drugs such as nicotine, atropine, and epinephrine.
VO2 max, or maximal oxygen uptake, is one factor that can determine an athlete's capacity to perform sustained exercise. It is often considered as the gold standard measurement for fitness.