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ALTITUDE TRAINING AND ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE. Joe I. Vigil, Ph.D. SUBJECTS Physiological Responses and Limitations of Altitude Training Potential Physiological Benefits of Altitude Training Current Practices and Trends in Altitude Training Recommendations and Guidelines.

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ALTITUDE TRAINING

AND

ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE

Joe I. Vigil, Ph.D.


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SUBJECTS

Physiological Responses and Limitations of Altitude Training

Potential Physiological Benefits of Altitude Training

Current Practices and Trends in Altitude Training

Recommendations and Guidelines


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DETERMINATION OF BAROMETRIC PRESSURE

PO2 = (PBAR – 47) 20.94

AT SEA LEVEL

PO2 = (760 – 47)

713  20.94

PO2 = 149.30 Hg MM

TRACHEAL


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DETERMINATION OF BAROMETRIC PRESSURE,

Cont’d.

PO2 = (PBAR – 47) 20.94

AT ALTITUDE 7546’ (2300 METERS)

PO2 = (575 – 47) 20.94

528 20.94

PO2 = 110.5 MM Hg

TRACHEAL


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DETERMINATION OF BAROMETRIC PRESSURE,

Cont’d.

COMPARISON 149.3 MM Hg AT SEA LEVEL

110.5 MM Hg AT 2300 METERS

% DIFFERENCE 23 – 24%


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DETERMINATION OF BAROMETRIC PRESSURE, Cont’d.

RESULTS

Less driving force of O2 across all biological membranes.

As altitude increases, the PO2 in inspired

air decreases creating a hypoxic stress

which results in the domino effect.


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THE DIFFERENTIAL GRADIENT

The differential gradient is the difference between:

PO2 – ARTERIES

PO2 – CELLS

PO2 ARTERIES – PO2 CELLS = PG


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THE DIFFERENTIAL GRADIENT, Cont’d.

SEA LEVEL PO2 ARTERIES = 94 MM Hg

PO2 CELLS = 20 MM Hg

PG = 74 MM Hg

2700 METERS PO2 ARTERIES = 60 MM Hg

PO2 CELLS = 20 MM Hg

PG = 40 MM Hg

  • Less driving force of O2 across biological

  • membrane at altitude.


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POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN ATTEMPTING ALTITUDE TRAINING

Athletes that believe that altitude will enhance their sea level performance.

Athletes that are free of injuries and disease.

Overcome any problems you have before your trip to altitude.


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POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN ATTEMPTING ALTITUDE TRAINING, Cont’d.

Have complete plan of expected outcomes while at altitude.

Logistical Aspects

Training Consideration

Desired Psychological Adaptations and Outcomes

Make sure you have coaching or advice from someone who understands the

complexity of altitude training.


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POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN ATTEMPTING ALTITUDE TRAINING, Cont’d.

Discuss the importance of Central Nervous System (CNS) Drive.

Training trends being practiced today.

Make sure the athlete understands where they are at in light of physiological variables:

Pre-Altitude

Post-Altitude

This will influence repeat trips (or elimination of trips) to altitude.


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POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN ATTEMPTING ALTITUDE TRAINING, Cont’d.

How soon after return to sea level should the athlete compete or

resume sea level training?


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WHY TRAIN AT ALTITUDE? Cont’d.

For aerobic boost prior to high intensity training.

For performance advantage in endurance events at sea level.

For speed/coordination improvements.

For aerobic fitness during and post injury.

For quicker recovery between rounds of competition at sea level.

For performance at altitude.


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QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED Cont’d.

What point in their training are they in?

How close to competition are they?

What is their objective for high altitude training?

Development of Physiological Variables

Preparation for Major Competition

What type of athletes are they?

Developmental

Intermediate

Elite


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STAGES TO BE CONSIDERED Cont’d.

*Strength Work / Circuitry / Bounding / Flexibility




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ALTITUDE Cont’d.

The following Table shows barometric pressure (standard atmosphere) at various altitudes and the pressure of oxygen after the inspired gas has been saturated with water vapor at 37 degrees Centigrade (Tracheal air).


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ALTITUDE TABLE Cont’d.


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ALTITUDE TABLE, Cont’d. Cont’d.


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ALTITUDE AND OXYGEN Cont’d.

Sea Level

3100m

5800m

Relationship between altitude and the partial pressure of oxygen in inspired air (PIO2),

alveolar air (PAO2), arterial blood (PaO2) and venous blood (PvO2).

150PIO2 PAO2 PaO2 PvO2

100

­ 50

0

Inspired Alveolar Arterial Venous B

Air Air Blood Blood

Adapted from Haymes and Wells, Environment and Human Performance, 1996.

Partial Pressure of 0xge, mmHg


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THE DOMINO EFFECT Cont’d.

PO2 In Inspired Air

PO2 In The Lungs

PO2 In Arterial

PO2 In Arterioles

PO2 In Capillaries

PO2 In Cells

PO2 In Mitochondria

Causing less O2 for aerobic metabolism which results in fewer ATPs for sustained muscular contraction.



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OLYMPIC EVENTS COMPARISON Cont’d.

Comparison of the % Decrement and Approximate Time Differential of

Olympic Events Over 800 Meters



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ALTITUDE PREPARATION – 42 DAYS Cont’d.

Selected Factors of Altitude Training

Using a Six-Week Period at Altitude

1ST WEEK 2ND WEEK 3RD WEEK 4TH WEEK 5TH WEEK 6TH WEEK

100

%

75%

Volume

50%

25%

General Strength Training

Intensity


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ALTITUDE PREPARATION – 42 DAYS, Cont’d.Cont’d.

Main Points

Athletic Strength

Aerobic Endurance Aerobic Endurance

Speed

Anaerobic Endurance Regeneration

1st Phase 2nd Phase 3rd Phase

Systematic Intensification


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SYSTEMATIC INTENSIFICATION Cont’d.

OF THE WORKOUT

Types of Activity During the First and Second

Training Pases of Acclimatization


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SYSTEMATIC INTENSIFICATION Cont’d.

OF THE WORKOUT, Cont’d.

The second objective is a systematic intensification of the workout, with a goal to run the

same intensity at altitude that one would run at sea level.

Many experts in altitude training say this is not possible,

however, one works toward this goal.

The ability of adaptation always determines

how close to maximum intensity the athlete can achieve.


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Model For Structuring Training Cont’d.

After Returning From Altitude Training

And Prior To A Major Competition


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Model For Structuring Training Cont’d.

Over A 16-Week Period

Includes two altitude camps, one prior to the national

trials and one prior to the international championships


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Model for Structuring Altitude Training Cont’d.

Proposed by British Athletics Coach Frank Dick

Training Load

11-14 Days

RETURN TO SEA LEVEL

2 - 2.5 Weeks < PEAK

P E A K



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ALTITUDE SPORTS CENTERS, Cont’d.Cont’d.


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TRAINING CONSIDERATIONS AT ALTITUDE Cont’d.

Heart rate-based intensities are not valid at altitude.

Resting Heart Rate May Be Up 10%

Max Heart Rate May Be Down 10%

Recovery Heart Rate Pattern May Change

Adjustment Requires Time – 5-7 Days

Program Variables

Reduce Aerobic Base Pace 10%

Strength Training Unchanged

Employ Shorter Intervals/Repeats

Increase Rest Intervals – Up To 4x

Repeated exposures help adaptations.


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TRAINING CONSIDERATIONS AT ALTITUDE, Cont’d. Cont’d.

Neither high volume/high intensity nor high lactate tolerance sessions should be used.

Living high (2500-4000m) and training low (<1500m) may need to be considered.

Not generally recommended for juniors or athletes less than 21 years old.

A gradual intensification to equal sea level efforts after repeated visits to altitude or for

prolonged stays of ten weeks or longer.


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LOGISTICAL ASPECTS OF ALTITUDE TRAINING Cont’d.

Planning of training program compatible with training venue and its facilities.

Access to medical/athletic training personnel must be assured.

Attention to nutritional considerations is important.

Dining Facilities

Micro-Nutrients

Additional Fluid Intake


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LOGISTICAL ASPECTS OF ALTITUDE TRAINING, Cont’d. Cont’d.

Additional rest/recovery needs to be built into the schedule.

Adjustment Periods Required

Sleep Disturbances

Afternoon Naps

Training program must be flexible.

Altitude Adjustment Varies

Headaches

Nosebleeds

Needs for Additional Recovery


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LOGISTICAL ASPECTS OF ALTITUDE TRAINING, Cont’d. Cont’d.

Environmental Factors

Fluid Intake

Weather Conditions

Ultra-Violet Radiation

Recreational and relaxation activities need to be planned.

Social Support


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  • MODERATE ALTITUDE TRAINING Cont’d.

  • DESIRED PHYSIOLOGICAL ADAPTATIONS

  • Plasma Volume

    • Initially Depressed at Altitude – Up to 24%

    • Remains Depressed at Least One Week

    • Normal After 6 Days at Sea Level

  • (Dill, et al., 1974 / Wolfel, et al., 1991)

  • 2,3 – DPG (Mariburl, et al., 1986)

    • Capillary Density

      • Capillary Per Cross Sectional Area

      • Capillary Per Fiber Ratio


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    MODERATE ALTITUDE TRAINING Cont’d.

    DESIRED PHYSIOLOGICAL ADAPTATIONS, Cont’d.

    Aerobic Enzymes (Oxidative Enzymes)

    (Terrados, 1992)

    Mitochondrial Number

    (Ou and Tenney, 1970)

    Mobilization of Free Fatty Acids and Glycogen Sparing

    (Brooks, et al., 1991)

    Accumulation of Lactate or Ammonia

    (Young, et al., 1982 & 1987)


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    MODERATE ALTITUDE TRAINING Cont’d.

    DESIRED PHYSIOLOGICAL ADAPTATIONS, Cont’d.

    In Myoglobin With Simulated Altitude

    Training (Terrados, 1990)

    In Glycolytic Activity (Not Glycolytic

    Concentration) (Terrados, 1990)

    Protein Synthesis – Especially >4000m

    Buffering Capacity of Skeletal Muscle


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    MODERATE ALTITUDE TRAINING Cont’d.

    DESIRED PHYSIOLOGICAL ADAPTATIONS, Cont’d.

    Glycolytic Enzymes – LDH and PFK

    (Terrados, 1992)

    Aerobic Power and Performance

    (Kanstrup and Ekbloom, 1984)


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    RELATED READING Cont’d.

    Dick, F.W., “Training at Altitude in Practice,” International Journal of Sports Medicine,

    13 (Supp): 203-205, 1992.

    Levine, B. D. and J. Stray-Gundersen, “A Practical Approach to Altitude Training:

    Where to Live and Train for Optimal Performance Enhancement,”

    International Journal of Sports Medicine (Supp 1): S 209-212, 1992.

    Berglund, B., “High Altitude Training: Aspects of Hematological Adaptation,”

    Sports Medicine 14 (5): 289-303, 1992.


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