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Effect of hypoxia on aerobic power and repeat sprint ability in team sport athletes.
Traditionally a training modality used exclusively by endurance athletes, altitude training has become increasingly popular in team sport in recent times. While traditional methods include living and training at natural altitude to increase the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood via expanded haemoglobin mass, more modern uses include the use of simulated altitude via hypoxic tents or chambers to create artificial altitude when going to natural altitude to live or train might be unpractical or impossible. The use of hypoxia as an added training stress in Australian Football has risen in popularity in the last 6 years; however, much remains to be discovered about the potential benefits for team sport athletes.
It is yet unknown whether performing some training in a hypoxic environment may improve sport specific running performance, such as repeat sprint ability, in team sport athletes. Research has shown that the haematological benefits of living at altitude are not present with merely training in hypoxia; however, some non-haematological benefits have recently been proposed. Therefore, it is important to ascertain whether this practice, which is not currently uncommon, may lead to performance benefits in elite team sport athletes or whether training and resources should be invested in other areas.