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Position statement—altitude training for improving team-sport players’ performance: current knowledge and unresolved issues
  1. Olivier Girard1,
  2. Markus Amann2,
  3. Robert Aughey3,4,
  4. François Billaut5,
  5. David J Bishop3,
  6. Pitre Bourdon6,
  7. Martin Buchheit6,
  8. Robert Chapman7,
  9. Michel D'Hooghe8,
  10. Laura A Garvican-Lewis9,10,
  11. Christopher J Gore9,11,
  12. Grégoire P Millet12,
  13. Gregory D Roach13,
  14. Charli Sargent13,
  15. Philo U Saunders9,10,
  16. Walter Schmidt14,
  17. Yorck O Schumacher1
  1. 1Research and Education Centre, ASPETAR, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  2. 2Department of Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
  3. 3Exercise and Active Living, Institute of Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
  4. 4Western Bulldogs Football Club, Melbourne, Australia
  5. 5Institut national du sport du Québec, Montréal, Canada
  6. 6ASPIRE Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, Qatar
  7. 7Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University, High Performance Department, USA Track & Field, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  8. 8Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Medical Commission and FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC), Langerei, 71, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
  9. 9Department of Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia
  10. 10University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia
  11. 11Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
  12. 12Department of Physiology—Faculty of Biology and Medicine, ISSUL—Institute of Sport Sciences, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
  13. 13Appleton Institute for Behavioural Science, Central Queensland University, Adelaide, Australia
  14. 14Department of Sports Medicine/Sports Physiology, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Olivier Girard, Research and Education Centre, ASPETAR—Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, PO Box 29222, Doha, Qatar; olivier.girard{at}


Despite the limited research on the effects of altitude (or hypoxic) training interventions on team-sport performance, players from all around the world engaged in these sports are now using altitude training more than ever before. In March 2013, an Altitude Training and Team Sports conference was held in Doha, Qatar, to establish a forum of research and practical insights into this rapidly growing field. A round-table meeting in which the panellists engaged in focused discussions concluded this conference. This has resulted in the present position statement, designed to highlight some key issues raised during the debates and to integrate the ideas into a shared conceptual framework. The present signposting document has been developed for use by support teams (coaches, performance scientists, physicians, strength and conditioning staff) and other professionals who have an interest in the practical application of altitude training for team sports. After more than four decades of research, there is still no consensus on the optimal strategies to elicit the best results from altitude training in a team-sport population. However, there are some recommended strategies discussed in this position statement to adopt for improving the acclimatisation process when training/competing at altitude and for potentially enhancing sea-level performance. It is our hope that this information will be intriguing, balanced and, more importantly, stimulating to the point that it promotes constructive discussion and serves as a guide for future research aimed at advancing the bourgeoning body of knowledge in the area of altitude training for team sports.

  • Altitude
  • Training
  • Soccer
  • Assessing physical training modalities in enhancing sports performance
  • Elite performance

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