Effects and consequences of a traditional altitude internship

A traditional altitude internship or the 'Live High, Train High'method means that people live and train at height.
Well-known places where athletes go for such an altitude internship are: St. Moritz / SUI, Potchefstroom / SA or Flagstaff / USA.

Effects and consequences of a traditional altitude internship.

Over the past few decades, several scientific discussions have been fought over height training. The usefulness of the internships was sometimes called into question because some athletes did not experience the desired results. Over the years, the science of altitude training has evolved further and the beneficial effects on the body are generally recognized by every scientist. The cause of the regular failure of the traditional altitude training period was almost always the result of over-intensive training sessions at altitude, which in many cases even had negative effects. That is why we briefly investigated the how and why of the traditional height internships.

The higher you go in the atmosphere, the rarer the air becomes. This means you have less oxygen. As a result, you perform significantly less well at high altitudes in endurance sports than at sea level. Sports where especially the anaerobic capacity is important have a big advantage thanks to the reduced air resistance. This allows you to see better performance at high altitude, especially in the sprint. When you live at high altitudes for a few weeks, your body adjusts itself to the oxygen deficiency. There is a serious increase in the Red blood cells. This is because the kidneys have more of it hormone erythropoietin (EPO) are going to secrete. In other words, EPO is created naturally. The change in the body requires very careful and accurate training during the first 10 days of the height training period. These days no intensive training is allowed and the training volume must also be much lower than at sea level. Only after these 10 days are both intensity and quantity increased. After a few days you will also reach the low point of your options. Afterwards, recovery begins to manifest itself as the body begins to adjust. The height internship lasts a minimum of 3 weeks with a maximum effect after 4 weeks. When you return to sea level, you have to train slowly again, because then you will come to the second well (low point) of your fitness level. After 10 days sea level, the effect of the altitude internship is complete and you have the intended peak with larger ones hematocrit- and hemoglobin values which can then be fully addressed.The increase in red blood cells is therefore the most important factor for an increased performance level. The minimum recommended height is 1500 meters, but the higher, the more erythropoietin and therefore also red blood cells are produced. But outside the natural production of EPO, many more processes take place in the body. An athlete learns to use more of his respiratory muscles in the event of a lack of oxygen, which means that he will also perform better. In addition, changes are also taking place at the muscle level that can improve performance. Poor adaptation to altitude and especially too much and too hard training in the first days after arriving at high altitude, however, lead to muscle breakdown, fatigue and consequently overtraining. In other words, you get a completely opposite effect when you do a work placement incorrectly.

The effect of a traditional altitude training is no longer denied today. However, the chance of losing the positive effect by training too hard at height is particularly high. The reduced training intensity remains a negative factor that counteracts part of the positive effect.
Thanks to recent technology (altitude tent) we can also create artificial altitude today and thus benefit from the production of red blood cells at night and perform sea level training during the day without reducing intensity. Independent scientific research shows the best results with the 'Live High, Train Low' altitude training.