Is a height tent permitted under the anti-doping rules?

As an athlete you benefit from a high number Red blood cells. By increasing these blood values, you can sustain your efforts for longer and at a higher intensity. But can you just increase this value as an athlete? According to anti-doping organizations, where are the limits? WADA?

The percentage of red blood cells also affects the hematocrit ratio. A high hematocrit is beneficial for endurance athletes, because this means that more oxygen can be transported to the muscles and organs. However, there are also risk factors for increasing hematocrit. Because the more red blood cells, the syrupier the blood. With this you run a greater risk of developing heart and vascular complaints, for example through the formation of blood clots.

Not allowed

To stimulate the production of red blood cells, the body releases the hormone erythropoietin ( epo ) off. Although it is a substance in your body, it is forbidden to give yourself extra epo. It is also forbidden to provide yourself with extra red blood cells via a blood transfusion. If you do, you can expect a suspension.


What is allowed for it hematocrit to increase use of altitude training. You then train and/or stay temporarily at a high altitude. At this altitude, the air pressure is lower and the body therefore gets less oxygen. In response, the body will naturally produce more epo, resulting in an increased production of red blood cells. In contrast to epo and blood transfusions, during altitude training the amount of red blood cells is still regulated by the body.

Altitude tent

The height can also be simulated through the use of a height tent or height chamber. These systems are allowed, but not in some cases. According to some organizations it would be contrary to the spirit of sport. The use of this equipment would detract from the experience and image of the sport. In Italy and Norway, for example, the use of a height tent is prohibited by the government. That a height tent is only allowed in these 2 countries is very controversial since it is a natural form of training, just like training in the mountains.


However, it has not come to a total ban of this equipment. Former WADA director Dick Pound said about this: “It was a big point of discussion whether we should ban the methods of creating artificial oxygen conditions. We have decided not to. We don't think it's good to put these methods on the list. ".

WADA has cleared the air with that. The athletes, with the exception of Norway and Italy, are therefore free to use height tents or height rooms to increase their performance to great heights.

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