Adding heat to the live-high train-low altitude model: a practical insight from professional football

Objectives: To examine with a parallel group study design the performance and physiological responses to a 14-day off-season ‘live high-train low in the heat’ training camp in elite football players. Methods: Seventeen professional Australian Rules Football players participated in outdoor football-specific skills (32±1°C, 11.5 h) and indoor strength (23±1°C, 9.3 h) sessions and slept (12 nights) and cycled indoors (4.3 h) in either normal air (NORM, n=8) or normobaric hypoxia (14±1 h/day, FiO2 15.2–14.3%, corresponding to a simulated altitude of 2500–3000 m, hypoxic (HYP), n=9). They completed the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery level 2 (Yo-YoIR2) in temperate conditions (23±1°C, normal air) precamp (Pre) and postcamp (Post). Plasma volume (PV) and haemoglobin mass (Hbmass) were measured at similar times and 4 weeks postcamp (4WPost). Sweat sodium concentration ((Na+)sweat) was measured Pre and Post during a heat-response test (44°C). Results: Both groups showed very large improvements in Yo-YoIR2 at Post (+44%; 90% CL 38, 50), with no between-group differences in the changes (-1%; -9, 9). Postcamp, large changes in PV (+5.6%; -1.8, 5.6) and (Na+)sweat (-29%; -37, -19) were observed in both groups, while Hbmass only moderately increased in HYP (+2.6%; 0.5, 4.5). At 4WPost, there was a likely slightly greater increase in Hbmass (+4.6%; 0.0, 9.3) and PV (+6%; -5, 18, unclear) in HYP than in NORM. Conclusions: The combination of heat and hypoxic exposure during sleep/training might offer a promising ‘conditioning cocktail’ in team sports.
© Copyright 2013 British Journal of Sports Medicine. BMJ Publishing Group Ltd of the BMA. All rights reserved.

Subjects: physiology sports medicine high-altitude training hypoxia Australia American football
Notations: biological and medical sciences sport games
DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092559
Published in: British Journal of Sports Medicine
Published: 2013
Volume: 47
Issue: Suppl 1
Pages: i59-i69
Document types: article
Language: English
Level: advanced