Repeated sprint training in normobaric hypoxia.
Many sports involve repeated short duration sprints of <10s, followed by <60s of a brief recovery period and it is important for athletes to be able reach high peak speeds during the initial sprint effort as well as incurring minimal performance loss in subsequent efforts. This is called repeated sprint ability (RSA) and is critical in intermittent sport performance in sports such as tennis, soccer, football, rugby etc.
Repeated sprint training has been shown to improve RSA and the study authors hypothesized that hypoxia can augment this type of training. They conducted a single-blind repeated study involving 30 well-trained male rugby players who completed 12 sessions of repeated sprint training over 4 weeks in either 13% FiO2 (hypoxia) or 21% FiO2 (normoxia). All participants completed sport-specific endurance and sprint tests before and after the study.
The authors found that although all athletes showed performance improvement, the hypoxic group achieved twofold greater improvements in their capacity to perform repeated aerobic high intensity work. The authors proposed that, based on these results, athletes and teams in intermittent sports can confidently choose to implement sprint training sessions in hypoxia to improve sport-specific performance in a short period of time > From Galvin et al., Br J Sports Med 47 (2013) i74-i79. All rights reserved to BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
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