The aim of this study was to investigate whether a four-week “live high train low and high” (LHTLH) scheme induces more significant changes in blood and cardiorespiratory system and yields better performance outcomes at sea-level races compared to living and training at sea level during the preparatory season.
The Use of Hypoxic Conditions for Endurance Training
Many endurance athletes engage in training camps under hypoxic conditions to increase hemoglobin mass, enhance oxygen delivery/consumption, and improve performance. The use of hypoxic tents allows for the relatively easy implementation of the “live high train low” (LHTL) method, which aims to “stimulate” blood and adaptations. This method enables athletes to avoid a decrease in training intensity due to reduced oxygen availability.
Some evidence suggests that combining “live high train low” with intermittent hypoxic training (“live high train high”) may lead to even greater improvements in physiological capacities.
In this study, a four-week LHTLH period increased hemoglobin mass by 4.2%, whereas living and training at sea level did not produce such an effect. Although an increase in hemoglobin mass should be beneficial for endurance, no significant improvements in performance outcomes were observed compared to athletes who lived and trained at sea level. Interestingly, only athletes who lived and trained at sea level demonstrated an improvement in relative VO2max during the study.
In contrast to VO2max, time to exhaustion did not differ between the groups, showing a 3.3% increase in the LHTLH group and a 4.3% increase in athletes who lived and trained at sea level.
These results indicate that the “live high train low and high” strategy did not provide additional short-term benefits in performance compared to training and residing at sea level.