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Aerobic and Anaerobic workouts under lo o2 conditions

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Well-Known Member
Aug 2, 2003
It is a known fact that people that live at altitude are conditioned to live at low oxygen partial presure air. when these people are tested at sea level .thay are much more oxygen effricient and do not tier as quickly as people who live at see level all there lives. many atheletes today are doing all their training before a major competion at altitude to condidion there body to be more 02 efficient. or in a hypoxic controlled enviroment.
this has got me thinking. i know i cant go to the mountains to train cause is allmost impossible. so if mohamed cant go to the mountains ,bring the mountains to mohamed.
i have access to all the compressed scuba air i want .what i was think that if i where to mix almost hypoxic mixes of nitox and tained on a tredmill at 75% of v02 max do all my weight training on this air . i will be conditioning my body to deal with less o2 while under stress.. the problem is how much training everyday as i descibed is nessasay to get any results from this kind of training. from what i am thinking this kind of training will be very benificial for dynamic apnea.and constant weight.
for give me if this sounds stupid but it was just a thought i think was worth mentioning. oh. since air is 21 % O2 what would be the best mix to use without getting to hypoxic. i think 16 % o2 is ok but im not sure i forgot what the minimum pp of 02 is needed to sustain life. and comments
or critics lol.
I had studied this to death long ago. Exercise at altitude produces different adaptations depending on altitude, and above 3500m the adaptations seem more favorable to diving.

However, cyclic hypoxia is more like diving, which is why cyclic apnea training brings better results than continuous altitude. So, you would be better off to hyperventilate, then hold your breath (on either an exhale or an inhale) and then exercise til exhaustion. Then recover, and repeat. This is very stressful to the body, especially in the beginning.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
There were a couple of threads dealing with this quite a while back. A search should pick them up.

Looking at your questions, Interval Hypoxic Training (IHT) definitely works but just breathing a low % gas while training may be counterproductive. My wife was involved with a research project to test the effectiveness of IHT in racehorses and the results were positive, showing an overall increase in endurance and recovery. Similar tests have been performed on humans, also with positive results. I have done an IHT course and noticed major increases in my fitness.

IHT works best when you don't train while breathing the hypoxic mix. The IHT is the stimulus for the body to respond and the body responds best to this type of stimulus at rest. I also wanted to train while on the hypoxic mix but was strongly advised not to.

The critical issue with successful IHT is being able to measure the oxygen saturation of the blood and to keep it in an optimum range. To be able to do this you need a pulseoximeter. Your nutrition also needs to be spot on while doing this type of training as Eric has mentioned in a number of other threads dealing with adaptation to hypoxia.

The problem with doing this at home is getting the gas. Mixing up a hypoxic breathable mix isn't easy, how do you extract the O2? You can of course add another gas, such as Helium but this is horribly expensive. The IHT systems we used physically extract a % of O2 from low-pressure breathing quality compressed air. This leaves a <16% O2 gas, which we breathed through constant flow masks.

You don’t want to try this type of training without a pulseoximeter, as getting your blood O2 saturation below a certain point is dangerous. You could use a 16% or greater O2 mix but the training won’t be as effective and you still open yourself up to some degree of risk. I am sure that you could track down a pulseoximeter pretty cheaply on e-bay.

I like Eric’s suggestion. It’s a simple way of getting similar effects without having to get the equipment set up. I may well give it a try at some point but I can see it being very demanding to say the least. If I had access to the equipment, I would train while sitting in a chair reading a book:)

If you want any more information, feel free to PM me.

You can easily do IHT without anything except a pulse oximeter. I used to do it all the time.

I would do the following:
1. Hyperventilate for 2-3 minutes
2. Exhale fully
3. Wait for around 30-50 seconds
4. Pack X times every 10 seconds (usually 3 times)
5. Keep packing X times every 10 seconds until your lungs are bursting, should be about 5-6 minutes
(control X such that your SaO2 remains constant)

Using this method, you can drop your SaO2 to ANY level, and then keep it there for 5-6 minutes. Normally I would keep SaO2 around 75%, but with practice I could keep it at 35% (although 35% on my ohmeda oximeter is around 50% on most newer oximeters). Lower is not necessarily better. Keeping it at 35% my vision would be almost gone for the whole 5-6 minutes.

I asked Oleg (at go2altitude) about why I should buy a 'hypoxicator' when I can do IHT like I described above. He said that the $10K hypoxicator would be 'more convenient' than controlling your breathing with a pulse oximeter.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Thanks Eric, excellent feedback as usual.

You are right, as long as your SaO2 gets down, then you'll be getting the benefits. I agree that buying your own $10k hypoxicator isn’t the answer. Ideally you want a situation like we have in Auckland, where all the equipment is set up and a number of athletes can use the hypoxicator at once and each one only has to pay for his own course.

I'll have to try your method but I honestly don't think I have the skills or the capability as yet to get the same effect you can. I am sure I can train it up over time though.

I hope you can help with a few questions I have about blood O2 saturation. I was told that a blood O2 of less than 76% could lead to less than desirable effects such as brain damage.

You can get your SaO2 to 35% and maintain it, Sebastian posted some of his experiments recently at http://www.webvideo.nu/freediving/features/breathhold.html where he gets to 42% over a 6:30 static.

Would I be right in assuming that such low blood O2 levels are common during long statics?

If so, are you aware of any long term issues with such low levels of O2?


Eric, can you please explain why you take those 5 steps? I mean why are those steps the most beneficial for IHT?
Hello guys!

Low oxygen partial pressure won´t work for everyone.

A low level O2 sypply, like training in high altitude, or anaemia activates the producing of the blood building hormone erythropoiesis stimulating factor. Over the bloodstream the ESF gets in the marrow and links to the ESF receptors of the erythroide cells. This link of the ESF and of the receptor leads to the terminal maturation of the erythrocytes and the number of the red blood cells grows. The adequate stimulus for the ESF synthesis is the decrease of the intrarenal p O2. In fact physical training leads to an increase of the erythropoiesis. Stamina trained athletes have the highest erythrocytes volume.
In high altitude (above 1500m) high ESF concentrations are measured. This can have as consequense after a training above 2500m and 3 weeks duration of stay an increase of the erythrocyte mass and of the max. VO2. But it is interesting, that during the high altitude exposure, the ESF concentration decreases to normoxic numbers.

In a sportsmedical study of high altitude training was shown , that only one half reacted to the low p O2. The group of the responders had an increase of the ESF concentration in comparison to the non-responders. The responders had a higher erythrocytes volume and a higher V O2 max. The non responders showed none of those signs.
Reason of this is, that there are individual genetic polymorphisms of the ESF or the ESF-receptor gene.

This might be the reason, why some people never come over 4min static, for example.
I can't imagine that half of this researched group suffers from genetic problems.
Couldn't their non-responding be explained by lacking the proper elements that erythropoiesis needs (iron, B12, etc.) ???
Couldn't their non-responding be explained by lacking the proper elements that erythropoiesis needs (iron, B12, etc.) ???

You are right, the erythropoiesis needs this elements. But here was measured the concentration of ESF. But the ESF is needed to start the erythropoiesis. The elements like iron have no influence on the result.
Ok, thanks Bavarian! I just found out that ESF (Erythropoiesis Stimulating Factor) is a synonym for the more familiar word "EPO" (Erythropoietin).