Elevation Training Mask 2.0 Review: Does It Increase Body O2?
The Elevation Training Mask is a breathing device that is similar to military gas masks (version 1 of Training Mask). Version 2 or 2.0 is simpler since it does not restrict eye vision (see the image on the right). The Training Mask is used during different forms of physical exercise by people who practice yoga, martial arts, extreme sports, mountain climbing and so forth. Is it just another breathing gadget similar to PowerBreathe, Expand-a-Lung, and some other devices used by athletes and exercising people for sports and running?
In this Training Mask 2.0 review, we are going to consider health effects of High Altitude Training Mask and its impact on oxygen transport and body oxygenation. This helps us to understand why, for example, Pete Jacobs, 2012 Ironman World Champion, uses Training Mask.
As a first step, it is necessary to understand why modern people have low body O2 content, are unfit, and suffer from diseases.
Many people assume that the Elevation Training Mask is just another breathing device that is created to strengthen respiratory muscles and mimic effects of high altitude. However, it is not accidental that people claim more benefits after using the Training Mask in comparison with other resistive devices.
When a person breathes with resistance, he or she gets less oxygen for the lungs. The Training Mask can be used with different valves in order to model sensations similar to high altitude. However, when the person exercises at high altitude, he or she has increased ventilation, which causes reduced CO2 levels in the lungs, arterial blood and other body cells (let us ignore people with ventilation-perfusion mismatch here).
When a person uses the Altitude Training Mask, he or she also experiences reduced oxygen flow. However, in addition to lower O2, the mask increases body-CO2 content. Breathing is mainly regulated by arterial CO2 (with the exception of people who are severely ill due to chronic diseases).
These and other effects of Training Mask are discussed by Dr. Artour Rakhimov, an individual coach of 2 World Champions: Elevation Training Mask 2.0 Review.
Therefore, one of the key effects of prolonged training with the Training Mask (it is often called "running mask") is the adaptation of the respiratory center to higher CO2 and slower/easier breathing at rest. This leads to improved-oxygen transport due to CO2-vasodilation and the Bohr effect (more effective release of O2 in cells).
This effect of correct physical exercise is manifested in increased next-day body-oxygen content, which can be measured using a simple body-oxygen test. (Note the image on the left since most people believe that breathing more air improves brain- and body-O2 content).
Physiology of Elevation Training Mask 2.0: How It Works
One of the key factors that makes the Training Mask effective is its increased dead volume (see the image for numbers).
This large dead volume makes the Elevation Training Mask 2.0 similar to the Frolov device, Samozdrav, and Amazing DIY breathing device, which are used at rest for breathing exercises. Many people can do breathing exercises while walking (and often with better results). However, the Training Mask presents nearly an ideal method to combine most effective breathing exercises with physical activity for better health and higher-body O2 and VO2max. Therefore, when they say that the mask only simulates high altitude training, do not believe that.
High altitude training provides adaptation to hypoxia (with increase in hemoglobin levels, and some other related effects). This is the reason why altitude training is classified as hypoxic training. This makes sense since high altitude only reduces O2 content in the inspired air.
The Training Mask also reduces O2 content in the inspired air conditioning the body to hypoxia, but the Training Mask also increases CO2 content in the lungs. This effect is not present at high altitudes. Therefore, this is an example of hypercapnic hypoxic training that has additional benefits due to adaptation to higher CO2.
How to increase positive effects of the Training Mask (running experience)
One can greatly amplify the positive effects of the High Altitude Training Mask, if he or she combines exercise done with the Training Mask with lifestyle changes that increase body-O2 content (see Learning Section). Note that most people can effectively use this mask during cardio exercise only when they get over 20 seconds for the body-oxygen test. Breathing control during exercise and more flexibility (using different resistances) is possible when one has over 25-30 seconds for the body-O2 test.
Personal running experience.
During recent weeks, I have been experimenting with the Training Mask during physical exercise. Why? It is known that breathing control is difficult after exercise, At less than 25 s, it is very difficult and the CP remains low (due to heavy breathing) for many hours. The CP often recovers only on the next morning. One can try reduced breathing, breath holds, maximum pauses, and many other breathing manipulations during exercise, but breathing still remains heavy. However, when I tried the Training Mask for running and cycling sessions, breathing after exercise is naturally very small. I tried up to 30, then 40 and 60 minutes of aerobic exercise with the Training Mask, but no matter how long I trained, breathing after exercise was minimal. It seems that the opposite is true: the longer the training, the slower the after-breath.
These are the reasons why the Training Mask 2.0 is an exceptionally effective device for higher body oxygenation, VO2max, and better health, and why I encourage my students (especially those who like sports and try to become more fit, or those who try to break through 40 seconds body O2 threshold) to run with it and use this device for at least 30 minutes (or longer) for one session of aerobic training.
The options to buy the Training Mask
(Updated in September 2014.) If you are interested to try it, you can do it from the creators and producers of this health and fitness device for about 100 USD (with US ahipping). Here is the link: Training Mask.
However, it is probably cheaper to get it (for US buyers) from Amazon.com since it goes there for about 80 USD with shipping included. Here is the Amazon link: Elevation 2.0 Training Mask, Medium. Or click on the image below:
Success in your health and sport performance.
Warning. Breathing exercises can cause powerful cleansing reactions and can be dangerous for pregnant women, people with organ transplants, GI problems, and panic attacks, as well as those who take medication for diabetes, hypertension, hypothyroidism, and other conditions. Consult your health care provider and follow special guidelines, which can be found in the Module Restrictions, limits, and temporary contraindications.
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