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In 2007, Wilber1 presented the main altitude/hypoxic training methods used by elite athletes: ‘live high—train high’ (LHTH) and ‘live high—train low’ (LHTL); sleeping at altitude to gain the haematological adaptations (increased erythrocyte volume) but training at sea level to maximise performance (maintenance of sea-level training intensity and oxygen flux). The LHTL method can be accomplished through a number of methods and devices: natural/terrestrial altitude, nitrogen dilution, oxygen filtration and supplemental oxygen. Another method is the ‘live low—train high’ (LLTH) method including intermittent hypoxic exposure at rest (IHE) or during intermittent hypoxic training sessions (IHT). Noteworthy, all supporting references were conducted with endurance elite athletes (ie, cyclists, triathletes, cross-country skiers, runners, swimmers, kayakers and rowers) and there is an extensive literature relative to LHTH as well as LHTL. However, there is a lack of evidence for the applicability of these methods in team-sport athletes.
In recent times, media reports have provided us with coverage of some high-profile clubs or national squads in various team-sport disciplines undertaking fitness programmes at altitude during the early preseason or in preparation of a major competition. Despite the evident observation that athletes from different team sports and from all around the world are using altitude training more than ever before, it is …
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