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Postby Canuck Singh » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:23 pm

H.I.H.I.T - Higher Intensity Hypoxic Interval Training

*** Warning - This should not be attempted by anyone new to training, or by someone who doesn't have a good level of general fitness. Additionally this should be completed under supervision ***

Many of you will have no doubt tried HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) which is periods of Cardio exercise with maximal effort bouts, followed by more gentle or rest periods as a method for fat loss and improved stamina and conditioning.

Some of you may have even tried the Tabatas format - 8 sets of 20seconds max effort work, followed by 10 seconds of rest.

What if there was a way to supercharge the results as seen under HIIT and Tabatas?

Athletes have for many years, undergone periods of Altitude Training in order to improve their performance sea level.

Altitude Training Camps are Hypoxic (i.e. causing a tissue oxygen debt) in their nature as they have perhaps 80% of the oxygen available compared to sea level. When the athletes under go training in this environment, the body is forced to adapt to the increased workload and perform accordingly. When the athlete returns to sea level, as the available oxygen has increased, the 'work load' has reduced and performance improves.

Additionally Altitude Training has been shown to force hormonal adaptations within the Athlete - increases in GH and EPO being just two.

Many of you are perhaps familiar with some level of Hypoxia in training, but it has never been pointed out - 20rep Squats would be a prime example. For years many people used the 20rep Squat program to make great gains, but the science was never shown.

The question being - how do you control the level of Hypoxia? Athletes have been placed in Hypobaric Chambers, or been fed Hypoxic Air via a mouth peice while running. For most people this simply isn't an option.

The Powerbreathe device though is a cheap and readily available option. It's designed as an Inspiratory Muscle Trainer, but we found that by using it in training we could reduce the amount of available oxygen and induce Hypoxia without a trip to the Andes or a Hypoxic Air equipped Treadmill.

Based on the evidence we've gathered - both in terms of science, and in terms of field testing, we beleive that the HIHIT format will increase both natural GH response, improve endurance performance and capability, as well as improving inspiratory muscle strength.

We based the HIHIT on the Tabatas protocol, as field tests has shown good results so it seemed a good starting point.

There is no set HIHIT exercise. There are some which we suggest:

Rowing Machine
Full Body Plyometric Exercises (Burpee Chins, Press Up to Clean)

You can increase the level of resistance training by wearing a weighted vest if you wish. I would not recommend you start with this...

Now for the science...

We know that Hypoxia has been shown to directly increase GH and IGF-1 in adapted males [1][2], as well as increasing VOMax in Athletes [3] and improve endurance event times [4]

Plyometric training (such as Tabatas Burpee Chins) has been shown to improve endurance event times [5] and cause Hypoxia [6]

Inspiratory Muscle Training (Powerbreathe) has been shown to increase endurance times and anaerobic work capacity [7] as well as improving blood flow to exercising limbs [8]

Training in Hypoxia (using an inspiratory pressure device such as Powerbreathe) has been shown to increase GH faster than training in normoxia [9], as well as improving running economy [10], as well as improving both aerobic and anaerobic energy pathways [11]

So we are of the opinion, that utilising this method of training will make you leaner, and fitter faster than any methods you may currently be using.

But it has be be said this method will not be for everyone, and is certainly not for the 'unfit' - where it will have very little benefit. I beleive that everyone should have a sound level of general fitness in any case.

- Author Tall

[1] - Endocrine and metabolic responses to extreme altitude and physical exercise in climbers., Eur J Endocrinol. 2007 Dec;157(6):733-40.
[2] - The effects of high altitude on hypothalamic-pituitary secretory dynamics in men., Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1995 Jul;43(1):11-8
[3] - Performance of runners and swimmers after four weeks of intermittent hypobaric hypoxic exposure plus sea level training, J Appl Physiol. 2007 Nov;103(5):1523-35. Epub 2007 Aug 9
[4] - Effect of intermittent hypoxia on oxygen uptake during submaximal exercise in endurance athletes., Eur J Appl Physiol. 2004 Jun;92(1-2):75-83.
[5] - The effect of plyometric training on distance running performance., Eur J Appl Physiol. 2003 Mar;89(1):1-7. Epub 2002 Dec 24
[6] - Metabolic profile of high intensity intermittent exercises., Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997 Mar;29(3):390-5.
[7] - Inspiratory muscle training improves cycling time-trial performance and anaerobic work capacity but not critical power., Eur J Appl Physiol. 2007 Dec;101(6):761-70.
[8] - Inspiratory muscle training improves blood flow to resting and exercising limbs in patients with chronic heart failure, J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008 Apr 29;51(17):1663-71.
[9] - Effects of exercise during normoxia and hypoxia on the growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor I axis. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1995;71(5):424-30.
[10] - Effect of intermittent hypoxia on oxygen uptake during submaximal exercise in endurance athletes., Eur J Appl Physiol. 2004 Jun;92(1-2):75-83.
[11] - Training-induced increases in sea-level performance are enhanced by acute intermittent hypobaric hypoxia., Eur J Appl Physiol. 2001 Apr;84(4):283-90.
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