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Laurent Trincat, Xavier Woorons, and Grégoire P. Millet


Repeated-sprint training in hypoxia (RSH) has been shown as an efficient method for improving repeated-sprint ability (RSA) in team-sport players but has not been investigated in swimming. We assessed whether RSH with arterial desaturation induced by voluntary hypoventilation at low lung volume (VHL) could improve RSA to a greater extent than the same training performed under normal breathing (NB) conditions.


Sixteen competitive swimmers completed 6 sessions of repeated sprints (2 sets of 16 × 15 m with 30 s send-off) either with VHL (RSH-VHL, n = 8) or with NB (RSN, n = 8). Before and after training, performance was evaluated through an RSA test (25-m all-out sprints with 35 s send-off) until exhaustion.


From before to after training, the number of sprints was significantly increased in RSH-VHL (7.1 ± 2.1 vs 9.6 ± 2.5; P < .01) but not in RSN (8.0 ± 3.1 vs 8.7 ± 3.7; P = .38). Maximal blood lactate concentration ([La]max) was higher after than before in RSH-VHL (11.5 ± 3.9 vs 7.9 ± 3.7 mmol/L; P = .04) but was unchanged in RSN (10.2 ± 2.0 vs 9.0 ± 3.5 mmol/L; P = .34). There was a strong correlation between the increases in the number of sprints and in [La]max in RSH-VHL only (R = .93, P < .01).


RSH-VHL improved RSA in swimming, probably through enhanced anaerobic glycolysis. This innovative method allows inducing benefits normally associated with hypoxia during swim training in normoxia.

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Xavier Woorons, François Billaut, and Henry Vandewalle

Purpose: To determine whether high-intensity training with voluntary hypoventilation at low lung volume (VHL) in cycling could improve running performance in team-sport athletes. Methods: Twenty well-fit subjects competing in different team sports completed, over a 3-week period, 6 high-intensity training sessions in cycling (repeated 8-s exercise bouts at 150% of maximal aerobic power) either with VHL or with normal breathing conditions. Before (Pre) and after (Post) training, the subjects performed a repeated-sprint-ability test (RSA) in running (12 × 20-m all-out sprints), a 200-m maximal run, and the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Level 1 test (YYIR1). Results: There was no difference between Pre and Post in the mean and best velocities reached in the RSA test, as well as in performance and maximal blood lactate concentration in the 200-m-run trial in both groups. On the other hand, performance was greater in the second part of the RSA test, and the fatigue index of this test was lower (5.18% [1.3%] vs 7.72% [1.6%]; P < .01) after the VHL intervention only. Performance was also greater in the YYIR1 in the VHL group (1468 [313] vs 1111 [248] m; P < .01), whereas no change occurred in the normal-breathing-condition group. Conclusion: This study showed that performing high-intensity cycle training with VHL could improve RSA and possibly endurance performance in running. On the other hand, this kind of approach does not seem to induce transferable benefits for anaerobic performance.