What is Elevation Training?

Take your endurance training to new heights with elevation training. Learn about how this fitness method can maximize results—and the tools it takes to succeed.

WHAT IS ELEVATION TRAINING? 

Some elite endurance athletes actually travel to high altitudes to complete their training — and it maximizes their results when they come back down to sea level.

At higher altitudes, the air is thinner. When the air is thin, your body must work harder to process oxygen. And when you return to a lower elevation (or when you take off your elevation training mask), your body should be able to perform more effectively.

Think of it like this: You’re training for a marathon wearing a heavy bodyweight vest. The vest makes you work harder and push yourself further. And when you remove the vest? You’re faster, stronger and much more competitive — not to mention the course feels a little easier. The same principle is at play for elevation training.

SO, WHAT IS AN ELEVATION TRAINING MASK? 

Your elevation training mask mimics the effects of high-altitude training.  It creates all the same benefits, without a pricey trek to a mountaintop. Regular use of a mask creates a pulmonary resistance that strengthens the diaphragm, as well as increases stamina, lung capacity and general oxygen efficiency.

Most consumer-grade elevation masks are simple neoprene sleeves with valves in the front. They typically fit around the back of the head and cover both the nose and mouth, and they’re super simple to put on and remove. Built-in resistance systems cut down the airflow through the mask, forcing you to take deeper, fuller breathes. Over time, your body will adapt to this, growing stronger and learning to use oxygen more efficiently.

When choosing an elevation training mask, keep in mind that the sizes are in accordance to your body weight. Consult your manufacturer’s guidelines for specifics.

WHY SHOULD I USE AN ELEVATION MASK? 

These masks increase general oxygen efficiency and lung capacity, which can help you in endurance sports as well as everyday life. They help promote energy production, mental focus and general stamina. Football players, distance runners, cyclists and even weightlifters can benefit from use of an elevation training mask.

Remember, always consult a physician before adopting a new training regimen or new training equipment.