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Adding heat to the live-high train-low altitude model: a practical insight from professional football
  1. M Buchheit1,
  2. S Racinais2,
  3. J Bilsborough3,4,
  4. J Hocking3,
  5. A Mendez-Villanueva1,
  6. P C Bourdon5,
  7. S Voss6,
  8. S Livingston3,
  9. R Christian2,
  10. J Périard2,
  11. J Cordy3,
  12. A J Coutts3,4
  1. 1Physiology Unit, Football Performance and Science Department, ASPIRE, Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, Qatar
  2. 2Research Education Centre, Aspetar, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  3. 3Carton Football Club, Carlton, Australia
  4. 4Sport & Exercise Discipline Group, UTS: Health, University of Technology, Sydney, Lindfield, Australia
  5. 5Sport Science Department, ASPIRE, Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, Qatar
  6. 6Anti-Doping Lab Qatar, Doha, Qatar
  1. Correspondence to Dr Martin Buchheit, Physiology Unit, Football Performance and Science Department ASPIRE, Academy for Sports Excellence, PO Box 22287, Doha, Qatar; martin.buchheit{at}


Objectives To examine with a parallel group study design the performance and physiological responses to a 14-day off-season ‘live high-train low in the heat’ training camp in elite football players.

Methods Seventeen professional Australian Rules Football players participated in outdoor football-specific skills (32±1°C, 11.5 h) and indoor strength (23±1°C, 9.3 h) sessions and slept (12 nights) and cycled indoors (4.3 h) in either normal air (NORM, n=8) or normobaric hypoxia (14±1 h/day, FiO2 15.2–14.3%, corresponding to a simulated altitude of 2500–3000 m, hypoxic (HYP), n=9). They completed the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery level 2 (Yo-YoIR2) in temperate conditions (23±1°C, normal air) precamp (Pre) and postcamp (Post). Plasma volume (PV) and haemoglobin mass (Hbmass) were measured at similar times and 4 weeks postcamp (4WPost). Sweat sodium concentration ((Na+)sweat) was measured Pre and Post during a heat-response test (44°C).

Results Both groups showed very large improvements in Yo-YoIR2 at Post (+44%; 90% CL 38, 50), with no between-group differences in the changes (−1%; −9, 9). Postcamp, large changes in PV (+5.6%; −1.8, 5.6) and (Na+)sweat (−29%; −37, −19) were observed in both groups, while Hbmass only moderately increased in HYP (+2.6%; 0.5, 4.5). At 4WPost, there was a likely slightly greater increase in Hbmass (+4.6%; 0.0, 9.3) and PV (+6%; −5, 18, unclear) in HYP than in NORM.

Conclusions The combination of heat and hypoxic exposure during sleep/training might offer a promising ‘conditioning cocktail’ in team sports.

  • Altitude
  • Aerobic fitness/Vo2 Max
  • Thermoregulation
  • Training
  • Dehydration

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