Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2014) 13, 912 - 920

Research article
The Effects of Hypobaric Hypoxia on Erythropoiesis, Maximal Oxygen Uptake and Energy Cost of Exercise Under Normoxia in Elite Biathletes
Milosz Czuba1, , Adam Maszczyk2, Dagmara Gerasimuk1, Robert Roczniok2, Olga Fidos-Czuba2, Adam Zając1, Artur Gołaś1, Aleksandra Mostowik2, Jozef Langfort3
Author Information
1 Department of Sports Training, The Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education in Katowice, Poland
2 Department of Statistics and Methodology, and The Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education in Katowice, Poland
3 Department of Nutrition, The Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education in Katowice, Poland

Milosz Czuba
✉ Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education in Katowice, 40-064 Katowice, Mikołowska 72A, Poland
Publish Date
Received: 30-05-2014
Accepted: 01-09-2014
Published (online): 01-12-2014
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The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of 3 weeks altitude training according to the HiHiLo (live high-base train high-interval train low) procedure as described by Chapman et al. (1998), on erythropoiesis, maximal oxygen uptake and energy cost of exercise under normoxia in elite biathletes. Fifteen male elite biathletes randomly divided into an experimental (H) group (n = 7; age 27.1 ± 4.6 years; maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) 66.9 ± 3.3 ml·kg–1·min–1; body height (BH) 1.81 ± 0.06 m; body mass (BM) 73.1 ± 5.4kg), and a control (C) group (n = 8; age 23.2 ± 0.9 years; VO2max 68.2 ± 4.1 ml·kg–1·min–1; BH 1.75 ± 0.03 m; BM 63.1 ± 1.5 kg) took part in the study. The H group stayed for 3 weeks at an altitude of 2015 m and performed endurance training on skis four times per week at 3000 m. Additionally, the training protocol included three high-intensity interval sessions at an altitude of 1000 m. The C group followed the same training protocol with skirollers in normoxia at an altitude of 600 m. The HiHiLo protocol applied in our study did not change VO2max or maximal workload (WRmax) significantly during the incremental treadmill test in group H. However, the energy cost for selected submaximal workloads in group H was significantly (p < 0.01) reduced compared to group C (-5.7%, -4.4%, -6% vs. -3.5%, -2.1%, -2.4%). Also a significant (p < 0.001) increase in serum EPO levels during the first two weeks of HiHiLo training at 2015 m was observed, associated with a significant (p < 0.05) increase in hemoglobin mass, number of erythrocytes, hematocrit value and percent of reticulocytes compared with initial values (by 6.4%, 5%, 4.6% and 16,6%, respectively). In group C, changes in these variables were not observed. These positive changes observed in our study led to a conclusion that the HiHiLo training method could improve endurance in normoxia, since most of the biathlon competitions are performed at submaximal intensities.

Key words: Altitude training, erythropoiesis, aerobic capacity, biathlon

           Key Points
  • The observed results suggests that the 3-weeks HiHiLo protocol is an effective training means for improving energy cost during submaximal exercise at sea level.
  • The 3-weeks HiHiLo protocol increased the rate of erythropoiesis and improved most haematological variables.
  • However, the positive changes in the athletes haematological variables after the HiHiLo protocol did not contribute to the improvement of VO2max values.
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