The effects of training with an altitude simulator on selected physiological and performance variables : a case study
Knauff, Michael J.
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The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of training with an altitude simulator (P0₂ Aerobic Exerciser) on selected physiological and performance variables. Controversy in the literature indicated a need for further study. Two male college students participated in a 7-week running program. The running schedule was adapted from the program suggested by the InspirAir Corporation, the manufacturer of the altitude simulator. One student served as the experimental subject and trained for the first 5 weeks with the P0₂ Aerobic Exercise altitude simulator. The last 2 weeks the experimental subject trained without the device. The other student served as the control subject and followed the same training program as the experimental subject, only without the use of the altitude simulator. Pretests were administered for aerobic power, percentage of body fat, the 2-mile run, and selected blood variables including red and white blood cell count, hemoglobin concentration, and hematocrit. The blood analysis was done every week Aerobic power and the 2-mile run were measured at the end of Weeks 3 and 5. Percentage of body fat was measured at the end of Weeks 3, 5, and 7. Blood analysis was done every week during the training program. A statistical analysis of the data was not possible because of the use of only two subjects. All data obtained were reported as raw scores. The experimental subject experienced an 11% gain in aerobic power, a 0.32% decrease in the time taken to cover the 2-mile run, a 1.1% decrease in the time taken to cover the 2-mile run, a 1.1% decrease in total body fat, a 4.9% increase in the number of red blood cells, a 2.3% increase in hematocrit, and an 8.33% increase in hemoglobin concentration. The control subject had a 5.2% increase in aerobic power, a 0.28% decrease in time taken to cover the 2-mile run, a 0.35% decrease in total body fat, a 6.39% increase in the number of red blood cells, a 6.34% increase in hemoglobin concentration, and a 5.2% increase in hematocrit. White blood cell count showed no response to training in either subject. The experimental subject experienced greater gains in aerobic power and a greater amount of improvement in percentage of body fat and 2-mile run performance times than did the control subject. The findings were confounded by the control subject's blood donation of 473 cc during Week 3 of the study.