T Nation

Live High (Altitude) Train Low

I think some educational debates are needed in GAL. However, feel free to post nonsense as it cannot be avoided.

What are peoples and trainers opinions about athletes that live high and train low (LHTL)?

If you are interested in reading a positive point to LHTL and counterpoint give this link a read;
http://jap.physiology.org/content/99/5/2053.full.pdf+html

-Can you get the same effect of LHTL with how efficient your training is at low altitude?
-Some examples of people you know/trained with this style of exercise?
-Do you live in a high altitude environment? (>1000m sea level)
-Do you think acute (<1 year)training you would see dramatic increase in performance aerobically?

I’m not going to specifically address whatever “LHTL” is, but, I grew up in Michigan (around 800ft above sea-level,) and recently lived in Denver (1 mile above sealevel = 5,280 feet,) and here’s what I noticed:

  • The ability to “catch” a breath when doing exercise, even non-leg exercises, is dampened, especially initially upon living/training out there.

  • The “breath deepness” is lessened. What I mean by this is where here in the midwest, I can keep my wind quite easily while lifting with deep, full breaths, out there my breaths felt shorter, quicker and much more shallow.

  • Doing something like Widowmakers is… intense. Any kind of breathing squats / other activities are grueling, even moreso than in the midwest. I found myself lying on the ground for minutes afterward, seeing stars and trying to regain something resembling a normal breathing rate.

  • Coming back to the Midwest was AWESOME, especially in the first few days when your body is still firing on “high altitude” mode. I would take a long run just for shits and giggles and would feel like a God. I could push a pretty intense pace (for me,) hitting a ~21 minute 3-mile pace without ever even getting slightly winded. Weight-training was the same way. Unfortunately, bodies adapt pretty quickly and I’ve found the cutoff to normally be 3-4 days at the most.

Hope this at least is helpful in some way.

[quote]SSC wrote:

  • Coming back to the Midwest was AWESOME, especially in the first few days when your body is still firing on “high altitude” mode. I would take a long run just for shits and giggles and would feel like a God.[/quote]

Now think how you would feel with a full program of well-administered EPO. I always wondered how those doped-up endurance athletes actually feel.

Well, I’m not an expert by any means but is there really a discussion? Isn’t high altitude training just a legal but much weaker way to get the same effects that EPO (or more generally blood doping) gives you?

I know for a fact that all top road cyclist train most of the time at high altitude. Also, most top endurance athletes use altitude simulation tents. If it wouldn’t actually work in real life, I guess they wouldn’t bother, no?

Seems like a lot of traveling just to go to the gym

works wonders…been documented by top dr.'s these last 50+ years… leave that type training to the best athletes in the world…