Document Detail

Endurance training at altitude.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19519223     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Since the 1968 Olympic Games when the effects of altitude on endurance performance became evident, moderate altitude training ( approximately 2000 to 3000 m) has become popular to improve competition performance both at altitude and sea level. When endurance athletes are exposed acutely to moderate altitude, a number of physiological responses occur that can comprise performance at altitude; these include increased ventilation, increased heart rate, decreased stroke volume, reduced plasma volume, and lower maximal aerobic power ((.)Vo(2max)) by approximately 15% to 20%. Over a period of several weeks, one primary acclimatization response is an increase in the volume of red blood cells and consequently of (.)Vo(2max). Altitudes > approximately 2000 m for >3 weeks and adequate iron stores are required to elicit these responses. However, the primacy of more red blood cells for superior sea-level performance is not clear-cut since the best endurance athletes in the world, from Ethiopia (approximately 2000 to 3000 m), have only marginally elevated hemoglobin concentrations. The substantial reduction in (.)Vo(2max) of athletes at moderate altitude implies that their training should include adequate short-duration (approximately 1 to 2 min), high-intensity efforts with long recoveries to avoid a reduction in race-specific fitness. At the elite level, athlete performance is not dependent solely on (.)Vo(2max), and the "smallest worthwhile change" in performance for improving race results is as little as 0.5%. Consequently, contemporary statistical approaches that utilize the concept of the smallest worthwhile change are likely to be more appropriate than conventional statistical methods when attempting to understand the potential benefits and mechanisms of altitude training.
Philo U Saunders; David B Pyne; Christopher J Gore
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  High altitude medicine & biology     Volume:  10     ISSN:  1557-8682     ISO Abbreviation:  High Alt. Med. Biol.     Publication Date:  2009  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-06-26     Completed Date:  2009-09-29     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100901183     Medline TA:  High Alt Med Biol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  135-48     Citation Subset:  IM; S    
Department of Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport , Canberra, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological
Athletic Performance
Cardiac Output / physiology
Erythrocytes / cytology
Heart Rate / physiology
Hemoglobins / analysis
Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / metabolism
Muscle, Skeletal / blood supply
Oxygen / metabolism
Oxygen Consumption / physiology
Physical Education and Training*
Physical Endurance / physiology*
Population Groups
Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology
Running / physiology
Reg. No./Substance:
0/HIF1A protein, human; 0/Hemoglobins; 0/Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit; 7782-44-7/Oxygen

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