Train at sea level, sleep in the clouds

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) has opened two height rooms. They can use amateurs and top athletes in their training, while scientists study how the body reacts at high altitude.

"In some studies there was a 10 percent improvement in the subjects"

The U-Residence of the VUB now has three rooms that let the body experience what it feels like at a great height. The exercise room with bicycle rolls and treadmill had been around for a while, but since Tuesday there are also two hotel rooms where you sleep as if your bed were on the side of a mountain.

“At high altitudes there is less oxygen. After a while, your body adjusts to it, "explains Lieselot Decroix, cyclist and PhD student at the VUB.

"Your heart rate goes up, your haematocrit value - the volume of red blood cells in your blood - goes up and the production of your EPO hormone is stimulated. So you can perform better when you are back at sea level."

Mountain classification

"Training at heights is only interesting for those who have to perform at heights, such as a cyclist in the mountain classification," says Bart Roelands, professor of physiology at the VUB.

Read on at 'The newspapaer

Editorial staff: Renting an altitude room at the VUB costs € 75 per night. By comparison: renting an altitude tent costs €17.8 per night. The minimum period for a 'Live High, Train Low' altitude training is 3 weeks and for optimal effect athletes must sleep at altitude for 4 weeks. This makes sleeping in an altitude chamber financially expensive. Moreover, it is often more convenient to be able to sleep at altitude in your own (training) environment. An altitude chamber uses the same technology (pressure swing adsorption) as an altitude tent to make the air oxygen poor. So the expected effect is the same. An advantage of an altitude chamber is that it is clearly more comfortable. Altitude Dream therefore also builds altitude chambers for fitness centres.

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