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Introduction to Altitude/Hypoxic Training Symposium


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: September 2007 - Volume 39 - Issue 9 - p 1587-1589
doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e3180de49ac
BASIC SCIENCES: Symposium: Altitude/Hypoxic Training: Research-Based Evidence and Practical Application

Altitude/hypoxic training has traditionally been an intriguing and controversial area of research and sport performance. This controversial aspect was evident recently in the form of scholarly debates in highly regarded professional journals, as well as the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) consideration of placing "artificially-induced hypoxic conditions" on the 2007 Prohibited List of Substances/Methods. In light of the ongoing controversy surrounding altitude/hypoxic training, this symposium was organized with the following objectives in mind: 1) to examine the primary physiological responses and underlying mechanisms associated with altitude/hypoxic training, including the influence of genetic predisposition; 2) to present evidence supporting the effect of altitude/hypoxic acclimatization on both hematological and nonhematological markers, including erythrocyte volume, skeletal muscle-buffering capacity, hypoxic ventilatory response, and physiological efficiency/economy; 3) to evaluate the efficacy of several contemporary simulated altitude modalities and training strategies, including hypoxic tents, nitrogen apartments, and intermittent hypoxic exposure (IHE) or training, and to address the legal and ethical issues associated with the use of simulated altitude; and 4) to describe different altitude/hypoxic training strategies used by elite-level athletes, including Olympians and military special forces. In addressing these objectives, papers will be presented on the topics of: 1) effect of hypoxic "dose" on physiological responses and sea-level performance (Drs. Benjamin Levine and James Stray-Gundersen), 2) nonhematological mechanisms of improved performance after hypoxic exposure (Dr. Christopher Gore), 3) application of altitude/hypoxic training by elite athletes (Dr. Randall Wilber), and 4) military applications of hypoxic training (Dr. Stephen Muza).

Athlete Performance Laboratory, United States Olympic Committee, Colorado Springs, CO

Address for correspondence: Randall L. Wilber, PhD, Athlete Performance Laboratory, Sport Science Division, United States Olympic Committee, One Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs, CO 80909; E-mail:

Submitted for publication December 2006.

Accepted for publication January 2007.

© 2007 American College of Sports Medicine