Altitude training and the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing

Having set my sights on applying for and running the Transvulcania (2,426 m / 7,959 ft) and the North Face UTMB (>2,500 m / >8,000 ft), altitude training has of late been a subject of serious consideration.


Altitude training is the practice by some endurance athletes of training for several weeks at high altitude, preferably over 2,400 metres (around 8,000 ft) above sea level, though more commonly at intermediate altitudes due to the shortage of suitable high-altitude locations.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to find ourselves living in regions where we can have access to high altitude climbs or be covered by sponsorship for training sessions abroad. We have therefore, had to look at other options. I have heard of some that have gained access to pressurized ovens, that have simulated not only a controlled temperature but also air pressure, where an athlete can be placed in a simulated environment and condition themselves accordingly.

Altitude training can produce increases in speed, strength, endurance, and recovery by maintaining altitude exposure for a significant period of time. A study using simulated altitude exposure for 18 days, yet training closer to sea-level, showed performance gains were still evident 15 days later.

With limited control over what influence I have over the focus on increasing my red blood cell level and the “live-high, train-low principle”, I have come across another option…

…The Training Mask 2.0

Mask 01
 Mask 2 training-mask-resistance-levels

You cannot dismiss the arguments that, with training ‘on location’ at a high altitude, there’s a variety of physiological changes in the body that occur and in turn condition an athlete. Alas, due to my limited ‘purse strings’, this product does offer an opportunity to condition myself into a training environment, where I’m able to control the volume of oxygen into my lungs, having their capacity developed as well as my strengthening my diaphragm.


What the ‘sales team’ have to say about it…

Why Choose Training Mask 2.0?

The Elevation Training Mask 2.0 is the ultimate respiratory training device for breathing and controlling the flow of air delivered in to your body. Our Multi level resistance system creates a Resisted air flow through flux valves into the Training Mask 2.0. When your body adapts to the resistance of Training Mask 2.0 your lungs will be trained to take deep breaths that use oxygen more efficiently. While using Training Mask 2.0 breathing and conditioning of your lungs significantly increases and so will your endurance while strengthening your diaphragm. Training Mask 2.0 will help Your respiratory system as your overall cardio and endurance will improve with continued use.

What benefits does Training Mask 2.0 resistance breathing have?

Conditions the lungs by creating pulmonary resistance

Strengthens the diaphragm

Increases surface area and elasticity in alveoli

Increases lung capacity

Increase anaerobic thresholds

Decrease workout time

Includes three nose pieces for three levels of intensity: 1x, 3x, 6x and 9x restricted breathing


The science behind the mask!

After extensive research and clinical testing from the UNIVERSITY OF NAIT the Training Mask 2.0 has made remarkable advancement in the fitness and training industry. Training Mask 2.0 takes all the amazing “Diaphragm Resistance Technology” from Training Mask 1.0 and compiles it into a less obtrusive, amazingly comfortable silicone mask that fits over the nose and mouth.

The Elevation Training Mask 2.0 is the ultimate respiratory training device.

Our multi-level resistance system reduces air flow through our patent pending flux valve system. Training Mask 2.0 promotes increased lung capacity by forcing you to inhale fuller deeper breaths. When your body adapts to the resistance your lungs will be trained to take deeper breaths and use oxygen more efficiently. A short explanation of how this works is simple. When you breathe against resistance the lining in the lungs essentially stretches out allowing the alveoli’s surface area to become “stretched” thus in return allows for more blood flow to the alveoli for more (oxygen transportation). When you increase “surface area” you increase red blood cell count that will be able to carry more oxygen out to the extremities

While using Training Mask 2.0 the conditioning of your lungs significantly increases along with endurance and diaphragm strength.

Training Mask 2.0 will benefit your respiratory system as your overall cardio and endurance will improve with continued use.

**There are many breathing devices and respiratory trainers used by hundreds of elite athletes for sports performance and by other users for health and fitness. Some of these devices are invented to increase strength of the respiratory muscles. Numerous clinical trials have found that these devices can increase endurance and VO2max (maximum oxygen absorption during most intensive exercise), improve lung function tests (VEF, PEF, FVC, and VEmax), lower heart rate for the same load, reduce medication (drugs) and symptoms, improve quality of life scores and lead to other beneficial health effects.

**Furthermore, with correct applications, breathing devices can increase body oxygen levels and produce profound effects on long term endurance, VO2max, duration of recovery from injuries and intensive training, together with life quality effects related to sleep, energy level and digestion. This review is focused on these oxygen-related effects of various breathing techniques.

Altitude resistance and Training Mask 2.0 ?

There are various “Resistance Breathing” elevations with Training Mask 2.0 “Breathing Resistances” are simulated

resistances that are “maching” how hard it would actually be to breath in (3,000 | 6,000ft | 9,000ft | 12,000 | 15,000ft | 18,000 Ft. in “ALTITUDE RESISTANCES”. Training Mask 2.0 does not “change on the o2 molecular level” however your bod y does make adaptations for this “Simulation” to be considered “Altitude Training” also known as the “BOHR EFFECT”

If nothing else, it’ll keep me warm in the winter months of training to come, looking like Bane from Batman or Lord Vader himself! :@ ;o)


If interested, here’s some facts on “The Benefits of Proper Diaphragmatic Breathing”

Diaphragmatic Breathing Benefit #1 – Better Gas Exchange

Instead of breathing maybe we should say respiration because with every breath we take in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. If we repsire, as many people do thoracically, we see the shoulders rise up towards the ears and the neck and traps contract.

When we breath diaphragmatically we are able to access the lower parts of the lungs which are 7 times more productive in gas exchange than the upper parts of the lungs. (West 2000)

Diaphragmatic Breathing Benefit #2 – Better Waste Elimination

Remember the last time you had the flu? It doesn’t matter if it was a 26 oz type or the regular variety. As you were praying to the porcelain god did you notice what type of breathing you were using? Of course you did! And you probably made a long journal entry about it later.

But besides ridding your body of the influenza virus or Friday night’s libations there is benefit to breathing with your diaphragm when you want to eliminate wastes from the body. Further the lymphatic system helps remove wastes from the body but needs help from our muscles to do this. Contractions of the diaphragm, through proper breathing, stimulates the lymph nodes and facilitates lymphatic drainage.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Benefit #3 – Better for Calming

Imagine someone jumping out from hiding to scare you. What happens to your breathing? To your posture? To your stress level? To your blood pressure? To our digestion?

Breathing diaphragmatically helps shift the balance from a state of fight or flight (sympathetic nervous system) to one of rest and digest (parasympathetic NS).

How does this happen? Well the contractions of the diaphragm stimulate the vagus nerve which plays a big role with respect to the parasympathetic NS. This helps shift us from a state of stress to one of calm.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Benefit #4 – Better Sleep

Many of us would benefit from improved sleep. And for some the lack of quality sleep is not related to going to bed early enough. Instead it may be related to everything we are trying to resolve in our minds as soon as our head touches the pillow.

If we breath through our chest we are shifting the balance to the fight or flight response. How effective do you think we will be at being able to relax and drift off to a deep slumber? Probably not very well. How is this going to relate to our weight loss efforts, our weight training workouts and our next athletic competition?

Diaphragmatic Breathing Benefit #5 – Better Movement

Mike Boyle is credited with coming up with the joint by joint approach to training. What this means is that from the ground up the various joints in the body will either have primarily a stability or a mobility function. It’s not an ‘either-or’ type of scenario but a predominance to one or the other. For example the knee joint has some mobility but it is primarily a joint of stability.

Now with disordered breathing, such as chest breathing, we can see these associations become impaired. With chest breathing there is increased activity of the upper traps. Since the upper traps are over stimulated, and the lower traps under stimulated, we may see dysfunction as it relates to the shoulder and scapula.

In the same way if we are breathing thoracically we are not stimiulating the musculature of the hips as much. Compound this with too much sitting and we can see how it can very difficult for a sedentary, desk jockey, chest breather to squat deeply.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Benefit #6 – Better Athletic Performance

I’ve already mentioned that diaphragmatic breathing facilitates enhanced gas exchange. If you are doing a better job of getting oxygen to working muscles while eliminating wastes you will have a definite advantage over your opponent.

And I’ve also just mentioned how proper breathing may help with mobility allowing an athlete to not only to make plays but also minimize injury.

Now think about all the times in a game where focus and concentration matter. Picture a basketball player at the free throw line to win the game. Or standing over an 8 foot put to win a golf tournament. Or making a field goal in overtime to go to the Super Bowl.

Every sport has a time when your focus and concentration needs to be maximal. Diaphragmatic breathing helps calm the nerves, align the body and fosters proper movement to allow for success.

Thanks to the website link below for these factual findings:


One response to “Altitude training and the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing

  1. I wish you had not showed us the Batman picture Ross, I cannot see past it now!

    God help the poor sod who meets you out on the trails in the middle of winter with that thing on…

    Keep us updated! 🙂

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