Table 1

Summary of current research findings relative to the use of intermittent hypoxic training (IHT) or repeated sprint training in hypoxia (RSH)

Author (year)ParticipantsDesign (number of training sessions, type, altitude and training content)GroupsStatistically significant results (p<0.05)
Roskamm et al (1969)46Untrained24 over 4 weeks, cycling, 2250 m (N=6) or 3450 m (N=6; HH). 30 min aerobic trainingIHT, N=1210–17% VO2max
INT, N=66% VO2max
Terrados et al (1988)47Elite cyclists12–20 over 3–4 weeks, cycling, 2300 m (HH). Aerobic training and some intervals (15 s at 130% of aerobic peak power output)IHT, N=433% PPO
INT, N=422% PPO
Martino et al (1995)48Elite swimmersSwim sprints at 2800 m (HH) during 21 days at altitude. No details availableIHT, N=206% 100 m swim time, 34% PPO arm Wingate test
INT, N=13NS changes
Emonson et al (1997)49Untrained15 over 5 weeks, cycling, 2500 m (HH). 45 min at 70% of VO2maxIHT, N=912% VO2max
INT, N=912% VO2max
Katayama et al (1998)50Untrained10 over 2 weeks, cycling, 4500 m (HH). 30 min at 70% of normoxic VO2max levelIHT, N=77% VO2max
INT, N=75% VO2max
Bailey et al (2000)51Runners4 weeks at ∼2000 m (NH). Aerobic training, no detailsIHT, N=1815% VO2max
INT, N=145% VO2max
Geiser et al (2001)52Untrained30 over 6 weeks, cycling, 3850 m (NH). 30 min at 77–85% of maximum heart rateIHT, N=1811% VO2max, 17% 30 min TT mean PO
INT, H=159% VO2max, 19% 30 min TT mean PO
Karlsen et al (2002)53Cyclists9 over 3 weeks, cycling, 3000 m (NH). 120 min aerobic trainingIHT, N=8NS changes in VO2max or 30 min TT
INT, N=8NS changes in VO2max or 30 min TT
Hendriksen and Meeuwsen (2003)54Triathletes10 over 10 days, cycling, 2500 m (HH). 105 min aerobic trainingIHT, N=85% PPO cycling Wingate test
INT, N=8NS increase
Truijens et al (2003)55Swimmers15 over 5 weeks, swimming, 2500 m (NH). 12.5 min >100% VO2max (30 s or 60 s bouts)IHT, N=8NS changes
INT, N=86% VO2max
Ventura et al (2003)56Cyclists18 over 6 weeks, cycling, 3200 m (NH). 30 min aerobic trainingIHT, N=7NS changes in VO2max or 10 min TT
INT, N=5NS changes in VO2max or 10 min TT
Morton and Cable (2005)16Team-sport players12 over 4 weeks, cycling, 2750 m (NH). 10×1 min at 80% of 2 min PPOIHT, N=88% cycling Wingate test PPO, 7% VO2max
INT, N=86.5% cycling Wingate test PPO, 8% VO2max
Roels et al (2005)57Cyclists and triathletes14 over 7weeks, cycling, 3000 m (NH). 6–8×2–3 min at 100% of aerobic PPOIHT, N=114% 10 min TT mean PO
IHIT, N=119% VO2max, 5% 10 min TT mean PO
INT, N=115% 10 min TT mean PO
Roels et al (2007)58Cyclists and triathletes15 over 3 weeks, cycling, 3000 m (NH). 9×60 min at 60% VO2max and 36 min with intervals of 2 min at 100% aerobic PPO (2 min bouts)IHT, N=107% aerobic PPO
INT, N=97% aerobic PPO, 8% 10 min TT mean PO
Dufour et al (2006)59Runners12 over 6 weeks, running, 3000 m (NH). 24–40 min <VO2maxIHT, N=95% VO2max, 35% Tlim at vVO2max
INT, N=9NS changes
Hamlin et al (2010)22Cyclists and triathletes10 over 10 days, cycling, 3200–4400 m (NH). 90 min aerobic training followed by two 30 s Wingate testsIHT, N=93% PO cycling Wingate test
INT, N=7NS changes
Lecoultre et al (2010)60Cyclists12 over 4 weeks, cycling, 3000 m (NH). 4×12–18 min at 100–120% of aerobic PPO, 4×30–48 min <VO2max and 4×100 min aerobic trainingIHT, N=77% 40 km TT mean PO
INT, N=76% 40 km TT mean PO
Mao et al (2011)61Active males25 over 5 weeks, cycling, 2750 m (NH). 30 min aerobic trainingIHT, N=1216% VO2max
INT, N=1210% VO2max
Manimmanakorn et al (2013)23Female team-sport players15 over 5 weeks, knee flexion and extension, ∼4500 m (NH). 6 sets of low resistance knee extensions and flexions to failure with 30 s between setsIHT, N=1015% MVC3, 17% MVC30, 129% REPS201RM
INT, N=1086% REP201RM
Holliss et al (2013)62Active males15 over 3 weeks, leg extension, 3000 m (NH). 10×60–70 s intense exercise with 20–30 s passive recovery. One leg IHT, the other leg INTIHT, N=925% leg extension, incremental Tlim
INT, N=927% leg extension, incremental Tlim
Puype et al (2013)63Moderately trained cyclists18 over 6 weeks, cycling, 3000 m (NH). 4–9 sprints of 30 s interspersed with 4.5 min recovery at 50 WRSH, N=106% sprint PO, 6% VO2max, 6% 10 min PO, 7% LT4
RSN, N=105% sprint PO, 6% VO2max, 6% 10 min PO, NS
CON, N=10NS changes
Galvin et al (2013)64Rugby players12 over 4 weeks, treadmill running, 3500 m (NH). 10 sprints of 6 s interspersed with 30 s recoveryRSH, N=1533% Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery 1 test performance
RSN, N=1514% Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery 1 test performance
Faiss et al (2013)65Moderately trained cyclists8 over 4 weeks, cycling, 3000 m (NH). 3×5 all-out 10 s sprints interspersed with 20 s recovery at 120 WRSH, N=206% sprint PO, 38% completed sprints in RSA test
RSH, N=207% sprint PO, no change in completed sprints
CON, N=10NS changes
  • This table is limited to investigations with a group training in hypoxia (IHT, IHIT or RSH) and a group training in normoxia (INT or RSN). CON group without training present in two studies. Altitude described as either HH or NH. A significant difference between groups is shown in italics (p<0.05).

  • CON, control group; HH, hypobaric hypoxia; IHT, intermittent hypoxic training; IHIT, intermittent hypoxia interval training; INT, intermittent training in normoxia; LT4, power output corresponding to 4 mmol blood lactate; MVC3, peak maximum voluntary contraction in 3 s; MVC30, area under the peak 30 s maximal voluntary contraction curve; NH, normobaric hypoxia; NS, non-significant; PO, power output; PPO, peak power output; REPS201RM, repetitions at 20% of 1 repetition maximal load; RSA, repeated sprint ability test to exhaustion; RSH, repeated sprint training in hypoxia; RSN, repeated sprint training in normoxia; TT, time trial; Tlim, time to exhaustion; VO2max, maximal oxygen uptake; vVO2max, velocity associated with VO2max.