Hypoxic Training = Hypercapnia
by, October 21st, 2008 at 10:44 AM (1954 Views)
I've have incorporated a fair amount of hypoxic training in my one hour of swimming in the morning. As many of you know, hypoxic training is holding your breath while underwater or while swimming for a certain number of strokes. The term "LungBusters" come to mind, but it does do a pretty good job of simulating the last stages of a sprint event.
I found a pretty good definition of hypoxic training:
Hypoxic training is the process of hypercapnia. Hypercapnia is the increase of carbon dioxide in the alveolar air, which tells the body that it needs to breathe. The feeling that we get when we have difficulty holding our breath while swimming actually results from the presence of carbon dioxide-not a lack of oxygen.
Hypoxic training can familiarize swimmers with this feeling. Many coaches have found hypoxic training to be a form of disciplining swimmers into developing good habits, such as not breathing on the first cycle out of a turn. Several situations during a race could require athletes to be familiar with these feelings, such as extended dolphin kicks off a wall or breaststroke pull-outs. To train regularly with oxygen restriction can condition the athlete to be able to keep technique skills in top form even after fatigue and "oxygen deprivation" have set in.
I could not find out what physiological changes occur as a result of hypercapnia, but I'm sure there is a training effect associated with this type of training (similar to a stronger, slower heart beat that results from aerobic training).
I also found some hypercapnia training systems that you can purchase. These systems are essentially tents that you sleep in with lower O2. I suppose you could do a poor man's tent by sleeping with a plastic bag over your head (with the appropriate holes)? Just kidding.