Purpose: There is debate as to which environmental intervention produces the most benefit for team sport athletes, particularly comparing heat and altitude. This quasi-experimental study aimed to compare blood volume (BV) responses with heat and altitude training camps in Australian footballers. Methods: The BV of 7 professional Australian footballers (91.8 [10.5] kg, 191.8 [10.1] cm) was measured throughout 3 consecutive spring/summer preseasons. During each preseason, players participated in altitude (year 1 and year 2) and heat (year 3) environmental training camps. Year 1 and year 2 altitude camps were in November/December in the United States, whereas the year 3 heat camp was in February/March in Australia after a full exposure to summer heat. BV, red cell volume, and plasma volume (PV) were measured at least 3 times during each preseason. Results: Red cell volume increased substantially following altitude in both year 1 (d = 0.67) and year 2 (d = 1.03), before returning to baseline 4 weeks postaltitude. Immediately following altitude, concurrent decreases in PV were observed during year 1 (d = −0.40) and year 2 (d = −0.98). With spring/summer training in year 3, BV and PV were substantially higher in January than temporally matched postaltitude measurements during year 1 (BV: d = −0.93, PV: d = −1.07) and year 2 (BV: d = −1.99, PV: d = −2.25), with year 3 total BV, red cell volume, and PV not changing further despite the 6-day heat intervention. Conclusions: We found greater BV after training throughout spring/summer conditions, compared with interrupting spring/summer exposure to train at altitude in the cold, with no additional benefits observed from a heat camp following spring/summer training.
McLean is with Performance Science Dept, Oklahoma City Thunder, Oklahoma City, OK, USA. McLean and Kemp are with the School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. White is with the Sport Science Dept, Collingwood Football Club, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Gore is with the Dept of Physiology, Australian Inst of Sport, Canberra, Australia; and Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Flinders University of South Australia, Bedford Park, Australia.
McLeanBDButtifantDGoreCJWhiteKLiessCKempJ. Physiological and performance responses to a pre-season altitude training camp in elite team sport athletes. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2013;8(4):391–399. PubMed ID: 23170749 doi:
McLeanBD, ButtifantD, GoreCJ, WhiteK, LiessC, KempJ. Physiological and performance responses to a pre-season altitude training camp in elite team sport athletes. . 2013;8(4):391–399. PubMed ID: 23170749 doi:10.1123/ijspp.8.4.391)| false
BuchheitMVossSNyboLMohrMRacinaisS. Physiological and performance adaptations to an in-season soccer camp in the heat: associations with heart rate and heart rate variability. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2011;21(6):e477–e485. PubMed ID: 22092960 doi:
BuchheitM, VossS, NyboL, MohrM, RacinaisS. Physiological and performance adaptations to an in-season soccer camp in the heat: associations with heart rate and heart rate variability. . 2011;21(6):e477–e485. PubMed ID: 22092960 doi:10.1111/j.1600-0838.2011.01378.x)| false
BuchheitM, RacinaisS, BilsboroughJ, et al. Adding heat to the live-high train-low altitude model: a practical insight from professional football. . 2013;47(Suppl 1):i59–i69. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092559)| false
BuchheitMRacinaisSBilsboroughJCet al. Live high-train low in the heat: an efficient new training model?Paper presented at: 17th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Sciences; 2012. Bruges, Belgium.
BuchheitM, RacinaisS, BilsboroughJC, et al. Live high-train low in the heat: an efficient new training model?Paper presented at: 17th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Sciences; 2012. Bruges, Belgium.)| false
GarvicanLMartinDQuodMStephensBSassiAGoreC. Time course of the hemoglobin mass response to natural altitude training in elite endurance cyclists. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2012;22(1):95–103. PubMed ID: 20561279 doi:
GarvicanL, MartinD, QuodM, StephensB, SassiA, GoreC. Time course of the hemoglobin mass response to natural altitude training in elite endurance cyclists. . 2012;22(1):95–103. PubMed ID: 20561279 doi:10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01145.x20561279)| false
McLeanBD, ButtifantD, GoreCJ, WhiteK, KempJ. Year-to-year variability in haemoglobin mass response to two altitude training camps. . 2013;47(suppl 1):i51–i58. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-09274424282208)| false
LobigsLMKnightEJSchumacherYOGoreCJ. Within‐subject haemoglobin variation in elite athletes: a longitudinal investigation of 13 887 haemoglobin concentration readings. Drug Test Anal. 2016;8(2):228–234. PubMed ID: 25990883 doi:
McCleaveEL, SlatteryKM, DuffieldR, et al. Temperate performance benefits after heat, but not combined heat and hypoxic training. . 2017;49(3):509–517. PubMed ID: 27787334 doi:10.1249/MSS.000000000000113827787334)| false
RiceL, AlfreyC. The negative regulation of red cell mass by neocytolysis: physiologic and pathophysiologic manifestations. . 2005;15(6):245–250. PubMed ID: 16037689 doi:10.1159/00008723416037689)| false