About this Research Topic
Altitude/hypoxic training emerged in the 1960s. It can be broadly categorised into strategies where athletes (1) live in hypoxic conditions (‘live high – train low’), (2) train in hypoxic conditions (‘live low – train high’: LLTH), or (3) combine both (‘live high – train high’ and ‘live high – train low and high’). Many athletes use altitude training to gain a competitive edge and/or improve training responsiveness. For instance, virtually all elite British endurance runners or their support staff declared incorporating such interventions, or had advised it to athletes, in preparation of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Recently, many new LLTH approaches have emerged. In particular, elite athletes increasingly implement exercise at high intensities in hypoxic conditions. Notably, repeated-sprint training in systemic hypoxia or induced by voluntary hypoventilation at low-lung volume has gained considerable popularity. Potential underpinning mechanisms include greater muscle perfusion during exercise, oxidative muscle fibre fatigue and increased recruitment of larger, fast twitch motor units, often to an extent not possible with similar normoxic exercise. Other LLTH approaches such as resistance training in hypoxia, blood flow restricted exercise, or ischemic pre-conditioning have also demonstrated promising performance benefits. This latter method appears an attractive ergogenic aid for athletes to improve exercise capacity (via several protective triggers including intracellular pathways and effectors, humoral, neural, and induced by genetic changes). Also effective are resistance-based training methods that enhance hypertrophy and strength via an increase in metabolic and endocrine responses, cellular swelling and signalling function.
However, our understanding of the mechanisms likely responsible for the efficiency of these innovative LLTH methods as well as practical recommendations for implementation are incomplete and deserve more attention. The intended scope of this Research Topic is therefore to collect manuscripts that address logistic, mechanistic and performance related outcomes associated with these novel LLTH strategies.
We aim to publish a collection of articles (original researches, case studies, reviews, general commentaries, perspectives and technical reports) that will advance knowledge and the practical implementation of LLTH methods. Topics of interest include but are not limited to:
• The differences between normobaric and hypobaric hypoxia or hypoxia induced by voluntary hypoventilation at low-lung volume
• The development of time-efficient LLTH methods (e.g., shorter occlusion/reperfusion protocols) and optimal methods for periodising different LLTH strategies in a training program with respects to regular training interference, athlete soreness, injury and performance
• The standardisation of hypoxic dose (via clamping individual blood oxygen saturation) and the potential combination of LLTH with other altitude/hypoxic methods or additional stressors (e.g., cold or heat applied before, during or after LLTH session)
We particularly welcome research using elite performers of all genders who are trained/tested under ecological situations.
Keywords: hypoxia, elite athletes, altitude training, Olympic Games, LLTH
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.