We’ve just come across this article online in Outside Magazine (February 2015), written by Alex Hutchinson in which it's suggested that ‘by training your respiratory muscles, you can teach yourself to perform better with less oxygen.’
The article, 'The Secret to Performing Your Best at Altitude? Train your Diaphragm’ begins by looking at a study conducted by exercise physiologist at the University of Portsmouth, Dr. Mitch Lomax. The study involved 14 members of a British military expedition who were trekking up the Barun Valley in Nepal toward 27,766-foot Makalu, the world's fifth highest peak. Half of these 14 volunteers were randomly prescribed POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training for 4-weeks prior to the expedition. After the expedition, results showed that when the IMT group arrived at Base Camp (18,000 feet), their arterial oxygen saturation was 14% lower than it had been at sea level, compared to the rest of group who’d desaturated by 20% - a not insignificant 6% advantage.
The article reveals even more interesting insights, facts and figures and is well worth a read, and here you can find out more about POWERbreathe for high-altitude training.
If you’ve used POWERbreathe prior to a high-altitude challenge of your own, then please leave a comment as we’d love to hear your experience.