Effect of Different Simulated Altitudes on Repeat-Sprint Performance in Team-Sport Athletes

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

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Paul S.R. Goods
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Brian T. Dawson
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Grant J. Landers
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Christopher J. Gore
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Peter Peeling
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Purpose:

This study aimed to assess the impact of 3 heights of simulated altitude exposure on repeat-sprint performance in teamsport athletes.

Methods:

Ten trained male team-sport athletes completed 3 sets of repeated sprints (9 × 4 s) on a nonmotorized treadmill at sea level and at simulated altitudes of 2000, 3000, and 4000 m. Participants completed 4 trials in a random order over 4 wk, with mean power output (MPO), peak power output (PPO), blood lactate concentration (Bla), and oxygen saturation (SaO2) recorded after each set.

Results:

Each increase in simulated altitude corresponded with a significant decrease in SaO2. Total work across all sets was highest at sea level and correspondingly lower at each successive altitude (P < .05; sea level < 2000 m < 3000 m < 4000 m). In the first set, MPO was reduced only at 4000 m, but for subsequent sets, decreases in MPO were observed at all altitudes (P < .05; 2000 m < 3000 m < 4000 m). PPO was maintained in all sets except for set 3 at 4000 m (P < .05; vs sea level and 2000 m). BLa levels were highest at 4000 m and significantly greater (P < .05) than at sea level after all sets.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that “higher may not be better,” as a simulated altitude of 4000 m may potentially blunt absolute training quality. Therefore, it is recommended that a moderate simulated altitude (2000–3000 m) be employed when implementing intermittent hypoxic repeat-sprint training for team-sport athletes.

Goods, Dawson, Landers, and Peeling are with the School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia. Gore is with the Australian Inst of Sport, Canberra, Australia. Address author correspondence to Paul Goods at paul.goods@research.uwa.edu.au.

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