Case Studies: Strength & Power

Altitude training research has documented improvements in strength and power, thus proving to be a valuable tool for explosive power and court-sport athletes. In particular, specific training protocols in hypoxia can increase repeated-sprint ability, which allows athletes to perform consecutive maximal efforts (i.e sprints) at higher intensities for longer. View the case studies below to learn more about altitude training for strength and power.


The Effects of Intermittent Hypoxic Training (IHT) on Anaerobic and Aerobic Power in Boxers


Group Studied Altitude (%) Altitude (m)
Elite boxers 12.9% 4000 m
  • Hypoxic training resulted in greater increases in peak power, average power, relative power (w/kg) during 30s of maximum effort Wingate test 
  • Hypoxic training increased minute ventilation (Ve), which did not increase during the same training in the sea-level group. 
    • Ve = the volume of air that can be inspired per minute 
  • Maximal aerobic running speed increased in hypoxic training group only 
  • 6 Weeks of IHT training with high-power exercises can improve speed-strength ability

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The Effect of Resistance Training in a Hypoxic Chamber on Physical Performance in Elite Rugby Athletes
Group Studied Altitude (%) Altitude (m)
Professional Rugby Players 14.4% 3000 m
  • Upper body strength improved to a greater extent training in hypoxic conditions than the sea-level training group on the same program  
  • Lower body power increased to a greater extent in hypoxic training group  
  • Hypoxic training group also increased body mass, while reducing body fat, compared to no change in the sea-level group. 

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Repeated-Sprint Training in Hypoxia in International Rugby Union Players
Group Studied Altitude (%) Altitude (m)
Elite rugby players
13.8% 3400 m
  • This study investigates the effects of repeated-sprint training sessions at simulated altitude vs. sea-level on word-level male rugby players in-season during their international competition period
  • The hypoxic group increased peak power output (+6.3%) whereas the normoxic group did not see any changes compared to baseline testing
  • Both groups increased average power, but the hypoxic group increased significantly more compared to the normoxic group (+6.5% for hypoxic vs. +1.8% for normoxic)

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    Hypoxic Repeat Sprint Training Improves Rugby Player's Repeated Sprint but Not Endurance Performance
    Group Studied Altitude (%) Altitude (m)
    Elite Rugby Players 14.5% 2800 m
    • This study investigated the effects of 3 weeks of repeat sprint training in elite rugby athletes and the effectiveness of a 1 week top up sessions, 2 weeks after initial hypoxic training.  
      • Post intervention re-tests were done 2-days, 7-days, 14-days after initial training program 
      • Post test 4 and 5 were done 2-days and 7-days after a 1 week hypoxic “top up” session
    • Hypoxic training group had substantially less fatigue during repeated sprint tests on all re-tests compared to sea-level training which only reduced fatigue during the 1st re-test
    • Hypoxic training increases fatigue resistance and repeat sprint ability more than sea-level training 

    Click here to view the full paper

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