View Full Version : Altitude Beds

clyde hedlund
October 4th, 2004, 06:16 PM
Read recenly that altitude beds were used by many Olympic anthletes. How much do they cost and do they work?

jim clemmons
October 4th, 2004, 07:33 PM
Hey Clyde,

In California we refer to 'em as "bunk beds". :D

Couple of hundred buckeroos.

October 5th, 2004, 10:51 AM
I would assume you mean something that would simulate high altitude correct? And yes they would work. At altitude your body produces more hemoglobins. Thus your body takes in more oxygen. That's why it's harder for people who are not climatized to breath at alitude. If you have a high hemoglobin count and are at sea level, you are physically capable of taking in/using more oxygen. Which leads to not tiring out as fast.

I love swimming at meets at sea level. It's amazing the difference you feel.

October 5th, 2004, 11:50 AM
The only swimmer I know who used them was Ed Moses, and we know how well he did at Olympic trials:mad:

October 5th, 2004, 12:02 PM
Wouldn't a trip to Colorado be cheaper and funner? Mexico City? I can think of a lot of high-altitude locations where you can train!

October 6th, 2004, 05:45 PM
Don't know about altitude beds, but Doc is right on with that post.

I live in Colorado, so I experience the same sort of rush Doc does when I go to sea level. (Haven't done a meet at sea level since moving here, but I get it in workouts.) I can sustain at least 10% faster for a whole workout. (When I visit my father in NJ, the pool I swim at is meters. I usually swim yards at home. For instance, I do 500 meters in NJ in the same I do 500 yards in Colorado. And sustain that rep after rep. Set after set for the whole workout.)

I would LOVE to do a meet at sea level some time!

I have read that the most advantageous use of altitude is to live at the higher altitude and work out at the lower altitude. OK, so I know I can't fly back to NJ each morning for my workout, but I guess if you lived up in the mountains but came down into town for workouts, that would model that suggestion. (Not out of the question where I live. There are homes just a 45 minute drive from here that are easily 3000-4000 feet higher altitude than the downtown area. Of course, that would mean I would have to be able to afford the $2million homes up there, but that's a different issue...)

Note: When I go to sea level, the benefit doesn't last forever. I seem to lose that advantage after about a week. Then I'm back to doing my standard pace from home. Also, the day after my first sea level workout, I am SORE. My body isn't accustomed to that pace. (This would support the "live at high altitude, swim at low altitude" lemma. If I could do that day after day, I would expect my body to grow accustomed to that new pace that I can only seem to sustain with the improved oxygen capacity.)

BTW, this added capacity is the point behind blood doping.

After I've grown accustomed to sea level, ugh it's sure tough getting back to my old high-altitude conditioning when I go back home. First day back seems like I haven't been in a pool for months. It slowly improves over the course of several weeks. (I heard that it takes one week per 1000 feet of altitude. My wife seems to recover faster than I do, and I wouldn't say it takes me a full 6 weeks at 6000 ft where I live, but maybe it takes me a month.)

Here is a FWIW tidbit that I find interesting: I have had the privelege of doing some swimming at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. (They used masters swimmers as guinea pigs for a certain study.) The study was done in their AWESOME flume. The whole flume chamber can be made airtight and can be pressurized or depressurized to simulate altitudes from below sea level to as high as 14,000 feet. My study did not play with pressure, so it was done at 6000 ft, but man, I would love to have the opportunity to experience that full gamut all in a single day!

October 7th, 2004, 10:20 AM
Originally posted by Maryyyyyy
Wouldn't a trip to Colorado be cheaper and funner? Mexico City? I can think of a lot of high-altitude locations where you can train!
You don't want to swim 400 meters in Mexico City if you have not been climatized or taken your Amodium. Altitude there is 7000 feet.

George www.swimdownhill.com