You may have seen a look-alike of Bane from Batman in your gym or on the tracks with a scary mask. That altitude training masks actually do more than what you can imagine because these apparatuses are designed to improve your lung capacity, strength, and power. Besides, they replicate the benefits of working out at high altitude so the fitness freaks and athletes get the max out of his/her work out.
The Science behind Altitude Training Mask
Prolonged exposure to high altitude air results in an increase in the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood which is the principle behind high altitude exercises. If a person trains at high altitude for a long time, he/she will adapt to the lower partial pressure and starts gaining endurance, increased hemoglobin content, mitochondrial capacity and elevated buffering capacity. Well, not everyone can move to the mountains for achieving endurance and boost their performance level and to mimic the high altitude conditions the training masks came into the equation.
The altitude training mask forces the wearer to breathe against resistance thus making it harder for the air to reach lungs. For example, imagine that something is put in your mouth while you’re running. Will you be able to breathe normally? No! And what happens when this becomes a routine? You’ll become adapted because you’ve gained resistance and your lungs would have increased the capacity due to the fuller and deeper inhales you take whenever there’s a restriction. As a result, your diaphragm becomes more strengthened and lungs utilize oxygen more efficiently. And, at the same time, the surface area of alveoli (sacs in the lungs where oxygen exchange takes place) will be increased hence better oxygen transportation.
Are altitude training masks worth it?
Studies of the altitude training masks have shown that they do, in fact, strengthen the pulmonary muscles, increase power output and maximum oxygen consumption as well as decrease the heart rate, which are all positives when it comes to performance.
The bottom line? Elevation or altitude training mask is still complex and more benefits the mask impart are yet to be revealed by the scientists. Replicating the actual high-altitude training environment is towards the tougher side. But if you are looking at an ultimate high altitude training to reap more benefits you’ll need to hop onto the nearest mountain or should move to places like Tibet or Kilimanjaro for that best altitude benefits.
So, what’s your altitude training mask experience? Do you have any hardcore training result experience to share? Do you use it during all your fitness workout sessions or you just slap it on occasionally? It’s easy to let us know them by commenting below.