Improvements to athletic performance arising from acute responses to hypoventilation-induced hypoxemia
By Neil Stacey
Recent research has established that hypoventilation at low pulmonary volumes during moderate exercise can result in hypoxemia, similar to exposure to extreme altitude. It has also shown that a training program incorporating this method result in greater improvements in running economy and speed among competitive middle distance runners than an otherwise identical program omitting this method. The postulated mechanism for this improvement is chronic adaptations including increased blood buffer capacity.
Hypoxemia also triggers a range of short-term responses, many of which persist for a period after blood oxygen saturation has normalized and may be advantageous to subsequent athletic performance. Hypoventilation at low pulmonary volumes has been studied only in terms of chronic adaptations, and not as a warm-up method that may improve athletic performance as a result of acute responses.