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Juerg
New member
Username: Juerg

Post Number: 199
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Sunday, December 30, 2007 - 01:17 pm:   

I did some "research' ( reading) over the last year now in connection with IHT /altitude training and possibilities to integrate that in a simple way in a program for the person on the road.
The summary is a very harsch one.
There is no clear proper evidence in going through the literature , that altitude training realy improves performance on see level.
As many research we have telling about the benefit as many are out there telling of now benefit.
We can discuss if there is interest more later on the reason why and what ?
For me the research open more likely a can of wurms ( questions) but it did one positive thing for me.
Proper organized training is still the best idea of trying to reach your personal best.
Now as it will be, once you research in the field of altitude you will get into some readings about the "native " people in the Andees and the Sherpas .
As well as to comparing climbers ( like Reinhold Messmer ) and endurance athletes.
What allows this first group to maintain a very good O2 sat level even in higher elevation .
Now if the traditional idea of Anaerobic / aerobic would be true than the ability of the muscles (leg and arms) should be much better in this first group , as well as the VO2 should be much higher. Is that the case ?

Now if this first group can go so easier , they should have a much higher mitochondria density in the legs, higher capillarisation and better enzyme reactions to move the O2 into the working muscles. Well is this the case.
Well we see actually the opposite . Highly endurance trained athletes with good mitochondria density and very high VO2 often experience more problem going up in this extreme altitudes , than ( less) trained people / womens , skinny little "old" Sherpas.
Messmer VO2 48 ). What the seem to have different is a very small body weight with less muscle mass, a very high density in mitochondria in the heart muscle, a very high capillarisation in the coronary system and a very good ratio of HMV to body weight.
All this indicates, that perhaps the central governor model may have some clear evidence.
The limitation of moving is the bodies ability to keep the cardiac output up or increase it .
So as soon we run into problem in that part the bodies reaction will be a reduction of recruitment of extremity muscles, to avoid an overload on the heart. Similar as with Dempsey's Metabo- reflex.
Own testing ( Andri on the Kilimanscharo with 3 "Sherpas " and one guide ) showed the interesting situation . The only person , who dropped down below 70 % O2 Sat was him.
The s second was the British guide and the local skinny guys were always on a very high level of 85 % and more even on the top.)
In any testing situation the lactate levels were always low ( below 2.0 ) and in any test situation there was never evidence, that there was an anaerobic situation in his extremity muscles.
There was never a problem of actually feeling ( acidic ) in the legs , just weak and short of breath.
Any short stop and concentration of breathing returned immediately ( 1 min ) a good feeling back. The HR was never really high.
In fact the HR was similar like we had with IHT on the treadmill . So the hearty seems to pump the same HMV to the legs and the respiratory system as on sea level.
Based on the central governor model we can explain that as in contrary to the aerobic anaerobic model.
The lack of heart mitochondrial density, less cardiac capillarisation ( due to less acclimatisation) in this altitude , made the heart the limiting factor.
The drop of O2 in the heart produced the message to the brain , reducing the recruitment in the working muscles , to avoid ( steeling O2 from the heart ) and therefor protecting the heart from overload.
His bigger extremity muscle volume compared with the Sherpas was of no benefit , in the contrary it was a dilemma.
Now feeing O2 in this situation would immediately improved his walking ability , due to the more as needed O2 for the heart and now the increased recruitment of extremity muscles and a better performance.
( See research showing loss of muscle volume during altitude exposure ) Why ?
The benefit after altitude may be of some increase in red blood cells , but the lack of proper (speed) workout may out weight that benefit.
The simple question would be to try before or during certain workout like 4oo m intervals or other intervals to see what the result would be instead of trying altitude to "feed" O2 short before and check the times.
Now this idea is not new ( as so many ) and already in the 1910 times people had very interesting research done on this idea.
As well check Sir Roger Bannister's testing prior to his incredible 1500 performance, as well ready Jim Ryan's information and self reflexions on his experience with Altitude.
End ideas.
I am just going through a set of research looking at hypoxy stimulation on the heart and possible effects in the way the cardiac muscle my react after this exposure.
Results are interesting and again lead us in the direction of the central governor model ( Tim Noakes ) as well as towards the ECGM * extended central governor model we created , by adding other ideas into this model like the gluco - stat , Dempsey's Metabo-reflex and the thermostat.
Now once the thinking process allows us to connect with this noble idea we suddenly have a lot more explanations when assessing certain body reactions on certain training forms.
I am just trying to make a simple overhead from for our camp in California end of January and see , how people react and what questions do we trigger in introducing traditional thinking people into this new field of thinking .

Yvon introduction in his idea of fatigue fits perfectly in this model of physiological reactions, by explaining the fatigue as a situation starting in the brain .
Well this will lead us to a lot of smiles , listening to reporters during sport events ( including former top athletes ), who see the lactic acid "spitting" all over poison in to the body .
Hmm have to include myself into this former world of thinking . Reading through some of my presentations 20 and 30 years back I have to poke myself and have to avoid a smile and a blush in my face.
Well are we smarter now , unlikely but I hope somehow more critical in telling the "Truth " , because we are still far away from understanding the "truth ' and how it works. Lucky for us , because it keeps us plugging ahead with ideas , small case studies and smiles what ever we read and when ever somebody writes the "truth "
Have fun and smile Juerg
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Daniel
Junior Member
Username: Daniel

Post Number: 7
Registered: 05-2008
Posted on Sunday, September 21, 2008 - 06:44 am:   

Juerg,

have you come to any further conclusions on the value of altitude training?

Is it of value, and if so, why?

Daniel
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Juerg
Senior Member
Username: Juerg

Post Number: 751
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Sunday, September 21, 2008 - 11:52 am:   

Ha ha good direct answer and would be interesting to hear the answer for somebody running in politic.
No , no conclusion , as the topic is possibly inconclusive.
Reason. Question is much rather:
What would you like to achieve with altitude training."
Now an athlete , who plans to go to altitude, has exactly that problem:
What is the goal., what do you believe you like to trigger with an altitude camp.Can your body actually react to the stimmulus, and is that really the limitation of your performance.
What is the needed adaptation time to achieve this goal.
If we try to make a very dangereous but clear statement.
If you plan to race an important race ( olympics / world champuion ship or any for you very important race and this race is in altitude, you may have no choice , but get ready for that event in altitude.
If there is the odd race in an overall race schedule like a world cup series spread over many month with many races in all different altitudes you may in fact be worse doing altitude camps or even living in altitude, as long term exposure to altitude will change the way your muscle will react and work and it will change you muscle mass as well.
Here the theoretically crazy approach based on ECGM or on T. Noakes CGM.
Train high , live low combined with train super low and live low.
What does that mean.
1. Stimmulate hypoxic reactions short term to increase cappillarisation and release certain blood vessels stimmulating hormones with IHT on sea level or low altitude.. Than mix that with hyperoxidative training by using additional O2 to "overrule the CGM , by allowing more O2 to reach in high intensities your muscles ,as without this additional O2 your CGM may interfer due to the by now well know reasons.
Now combine that with "traditional" approaches of FFA utilization , and add new the idea of finding the optimal SV and LVET and you have a crazy idea together , where the traditional zoning is blown away , and nobody besides us will ever try that anyway.
So conclusion : Keep altitude training going , as it is good for the mind and you don't interfer with educational main stream information and therefor don't expose you to certain scrutiny. Many altitude places are beautiful places on this planet , as well mind over body.
How could I have learned all this stuff if I would not have been living in Davos and St. Moritz, 2 classical training centers for altitude in Switzerland. ( Smile ).
I hope the tourisme and marketing directors read this forum , as they would ban me from ever comming back there. Smile
Nevertheless the slogan is:
St. Moritz top of the world . Mr. St. Moritz Danuser ) and it is registered as a trade mark world wide.. Hmm that's how serious it can get.
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Mikebikes
Intermediate Member
Username: Mikebikes

Post Number: 18
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Monday, February 16, 2009 - 10:14 am:   

Jurg,

What are your thoughts on the time it takes an athlete to become acclimated to higher altitudes heading into a race. If the athlete trains at sea level and he/she is making good gains in power and endurance, then heads to altitude to race, will acclimating to the altitude help that athlete use the gains he/she made at sea level?

I wonder about this because the well know way to approach a race at altitude is to fly in the day before and then race. If that is the case, then there must be changes made to the body after two or three days being at altitude that create a negatitive effect to aerobic energy.

Could high intensity training, one minute threshold and superthreshold ( Vo2 max stuff) intervals, when arriving at altitude help create adaptations quickly so the athlete is better prepared for a race in 6-7 days? Would this intensity help stress O2 recruitment while at altitude to help trigger more adaptations? And would sleeping at altitude further help this adaptaion happen or harm these adaptions to happen.

I see research on ways to use altitude to train but nothing on ways to train at sea level and approach racing at altitude. Your thoughts are always appreciated.

Mike
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Juerg
Senior Member
Username: Juerg

Post Number: 1361
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 12:38 pm:   

Hallo Mike , I will be back here with some more questions and ideas shortly.
I am just preparing a case study idea for the march camps we have in Joshua Tree California. I will do some hemodynamic cardiac testing in combination with VO2 testing and lactate below see level 50 - 100 m below see level and above sea level 3'000 m with the same people and we like to check out sudden changes in acute exposure to low and high level with the Physio Flow. It was never done practicaly before and I have some ideas on , why we have so called good altitude responders and bad altitude responders. ( Brooks )
So I will be back and explain some of the ideas, which are just that ideas and should be taken as usual with some critical looks, rather than as a real gospel.
So till later .
Juerg
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Mikebikes
Intermediate Member
Username: Mikebikes

Post Number: 19
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 05:19 pm:   

Thanks Juerg, I am going to form more Ideas as well and try to look for other studies done to help form even more ideas and questions.

Mike
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Mikebikes
Intermediate Member
Username: Mikebikes

Post Number: 20
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2009 - 11:25 am:   

Jurg,

I just read this in cycling news today. This may be some ideas of why you have some negative effects to cardio energy production within the first few days at altitude.

------------

Scott Saifer replies:


There are two issues here: Acute and chronic altitude adjustment: While three weeks of altitude exposure before the event might be ideal, as little as five days is enough to get you past the acute dehydration stage of altitude adjustment and improve your performance beyond what you can do if you arrive the day before the event. The acute dehydration stage takes about 18 hours to kick in so if you can't get there most of a week early, getting to altitude at the last possible moment, just hours before the race, is better than getting there a day or two before.

You can work on the chronic part without going to live at altitude permanently. Going to the mountains for a few weekends in the months before Leadville will stimulate an increase in hematocrit that will help you perform better at altitude whether you arrive early or late.

And by the way, you can't "keep hydrated" by drinking a lot when you arrive at altitude. When you get to altitude your body initially adjusts by reducing water content to thicken the blood. Certainly drink enough to keep peeing, but if you drink more, you'll just pee more.

Kelby Bethards replies

About the acute acclimation. Dehydration is a real problem, but within a day or so at altitude the body begins up-regulation (makes more) of a chemical 2,3-DPG. This is a chemical that allows the haemoglobin to hang on the O2 molecules with less affinity. Simply put, it allows the body to release more of the oxygen circulating bound to haemoglobin, "easier" to the tissues.

Subsequently, you feel better after and couple days at altitude, resting heart rate decreases. Headaches get better and as Scott has mentioned the body begins "allowing" itself to be hydrated again. The full hematocrit response starts in response to the decreased oxygen level at altitude, but it takes a full 3-6 weeks to maximise.

----------

Mike
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Juerg
Senior Member
Username: Juerg

Post Number: 1365
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2009 - 01:47 pm:   

Hallo Mike. Thanks for this info.
So we are with this answer back to the preolympic info for Mexico we gave to our athletes in St. Moritz.
The answers above are for sure good and very basic.
I w prepare for the moment a PP for a presentation I will do in 3 weeks in our Joshua Tree training camps. And as I am down south I will do a cardiac assessment below sea level and at altitude, as I think the above answers are correct , but there are some very specific ideas we can use, to see , whether you are a person, who responds to altitide or not.
Here in very short terms what I try to see:
1. What is altitude doing or challanging.
It is the )2 supply question to the O2 demanding systems.
So the simple question is:
Where is and who is the limiting system for the perfromance on that specific person in altitude:
1. Respiratory system ( Diaphram and respiratory muscles)
2. Transportation system ( Exchange area between lungs and blood ) and blood ( RBC itself)
3. Release system DGP ( O2 affinity ) which can be manipulated not only over this hormon , but as well over CO2 and Ph changes.
4. Exchange of O2 to the working muscles ( Mitochondria density and capillarization density )
Here just short some thoughts.
Go through and think of each of the above of teh limiting factor and than think in what situation would your body realy benefit and react thanks to a higher RBC volume.
Here one question :
If there are is a limitation in cardiac work ability , what does it help to get more RBC ?
If there are not enough mitochondira in the working leg muscels , how much does it help to be able to move more O2 to that muscle.
If your respiration is of limitation , how much more O2 can you move ?

Yes hydration is the reason , why in altitude most people have in the acute stage ( lenght of days is very individual) a higher respiration rate, a higher heart rate as most people know.
Interesting is more the small "team " approch.
As maximal Wattage does not tell you a lot, so does max. VO2 does not tell you a lot or maximal HR or maximal respiration rate.
Maximal HR does not mean , that you really have a higher cardiac output, it only tells you that you have a higher heart rate.
If we do here IHT ( Hypoxy training we see, that the Stroke volume drops , as we immitate altitude.
The Ejection fraction % goes up in some people, as hypoxy interestingly makes a vasodilatation in the peripheral blood vessels, but it seems not in the pulmonary vessels ( Edema in altitude)
This increases the needed strenght for the right ventricle and may be potentially a reason , why some people react different than others.
Athletes, who train the right ventricle may have less adapatation problme than non trained athletes.
The other interesting observation we see is:
Some cases show and increase in EF % by a stable SV.
Now as so often we look on the wrong side. We should look what is the EDV as this is the preload . So some have a stabel EDV but a higher EF % so SV goes up .
Some have a higher EDV and a lower EF % so SV is stable and some ( the majority as it seems have a lower EDV ( due to dehydration ) and therefor a lower pre load and a lower EF% and combined with lower EDV and lower EF % the Strokevolume dropps a lot so the higher HR can't compensate to maintain the CO and teh VO2 max will drop in a test.
Now you combine that with a higher respiration rate which in untrained ( respiratory untrained people ) will lead to a lower TV ( tidal volume ) which will add to the lower pO2 in altitude.
So you add the lower pO2 with a lower TV and you will see a very strong drop in True O2 or a rise in the Fe O2 %.
This can be perfectly demonstrated with the live assessment with the Fit Mate.
So one of the most discussed question is :
Would a perfect planned respiratory trainng at sealevel be able to actually prepare the athlete much cheaper and easier to a one single race in altitude.
This is easier to do for any person , and has less risk of other altitude related problems if you stay longer ( besides the financial and time you need )

So Question :
What is more effective:
Hope for ahigher EPO and that the transportation is really the limitation , or
- Proper respiratory intervention to be ready to take the stimmulus for higher respiration rate and lower )2 by a very efficient respiratory system.
All ends in what we try to accomplish with the FaCT CLR.
Find out where and what is the limitation in an overall performance. If the O2 transportation is the limitation , than hypoxyis stimmulation may be the answer.
In many cases there are much different limitation before the O2 transportation.
This may explain the 2 main reaction > Altitude responder and non responder.
Stay tuned , as I will show soon some of this ideas, as we have a nice summary now to show , how we can find out what system is for the moment the weakest link inthe overall performance.
Sorry typo it is written during a workout on my stat. bike so I am pretty sweaty and wobbly . uff
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Juerg
Senior Member
Username: Juerg

Post Number: 1386
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Monday, March 09, 2009 - 07:52 am:   

Here an interesting question from Cycling news and 2 great , but very traditional views and answers:
iding at altitude
I think to my general excitement I have successfully made it through the lottery and I am now entered in this year's Leadville 100 MTB race. The key distinguishing feature of the event is that it starts at 10,200ft above sea level, eventually hitting a max elevation of 12,600ft. While potentially desirable I cannot move to CO three weeks ahead of the race and acclimate nor will my will my wife let me modify our bedroom for a bariatric chamber.

In the past I have not had issues with altitude - whether biking or snowboarding - other than being careful to stay hydrated and that it is more difficult to sleep. I will be 50 on race day, I would be viewed as pretty fit for a serious recreation rider, I have broad experience with long distance rides involving numerous mountain climbs and I train in a very structured way using a power meter.

My questions are: given that I basically live at sea level, what can I do to either modify my training or otherwise prepare myself for the event and the unique challenges posed to athletic performance by the altitude of this race?

Mike Weinstein

Scott Saifer replies:

There are two issues here: Acute and chronic altitude adjustment: While three weeks of altitude exposure before the event might be ideal, as little as five days is enough to get you past the acute dehydration stage of altitude adjustment and improve your performance beyond what you can do if you arrive the day before the event. The acute dehydration stage takes about 18 hours to kick in so if you can't get there most of a week early, getting to altitude at the last possible moment, just hours before the race, is better than getting there a day or two before.

You can work on the chronic part without going to live at altitude permanently. Going to the mountains for a few weekends in the months before Leadville will stimulate an increase in hematocrit that will help you perform better at altitude whether you arrive early or late.

And by the way, you can't "keep hydrated" by drinking a lot when you arrive at altitude. When you get to altitude your body initially adjusts by reducing water content to thicken the blood. Certainly drink enough to keep peeing, but if you drink more, you'll just pee more.

Kelby Bethards replies

About the acute acclimation. Dehydration is a real problem, but within a day or so at altitude the body begins up-regulation (makes more) of a chemical 2,3-DPG. This is a chemical that allows the haemoglobin to hang on the O2 molecules with less affinity. Simply put, it allows the body to release more of the oxygen circulating bound to haemoglobin, "easier" to the tissues.

Subsequently, you feel better after and couple days at altitude, resting heart rate decreases. Headaches get better and as Scott has mentioned the body begins "allowing" itself to be hydrated again. The full hematocrit response starts in response to the decreased oxygen level at altitude, but it takes a full 3-6 weeks to maximise.


Now here some different view in combination with the FaCT ideas.


1. As O2 pressure drops in altitude, so does the ability to get O2 easy into the system.
One help from the physiological side is the O2 affinity change over DGG.
As we have more probelme to "feed " enough O2 the ability to use FFA long or as good as in low level races is smaller.
Meaning we will switch earlier to O2 and glucose.
As we do that we increase earlier the pCO2 by a given intensity and we will have to breath more.
CO2 will stimmulate the breathing frequency.
Most "respiratory untrained " people will breath not just faster but as well shallower ( lower TV ) so this will reduce addituonally the already lower pO2 in the lungs and again the O2 sat will drop even more.
This will ncrease again the respiration work and more O2 is needed for this vital organs.
The change in respiration ( less deep ) will change the blood return to the right ventricle. This will drop the EDV and with it the SV as we learned and so the CO ( cardiac out put will drop. This can only be compensated so far with HR.
A hifgher HR will increase the CCT and therefor will start to move CCT towards 30 seconds and longer, which than will trigger the CGM and the rest we know.
Tired legs , heavy legs heavy breathing.
So one way to prepare for altitude may be more the idea of training your respiratory system , which you can do at home, rather than dreaming from a big EPO boost from altitude.
SAgain the EPO boost may only be helpfull, if the O2 transportation system is the limiting area. If the respiratory system or the cardiac system are the limitations, than the more Hb will help some what , but not what we where hoping for.
This is what I believ the reason for so called altitude responders , versus non responders.
Just a thought as a balance to the traditional idea of only Hb is the reason for lower performance in altitude.
Some may remeber Mexico olympics and Goepf Kotmann the swiss rower with teh highest ever Hb and Hct , who nearly died after the race.
There is always a balance between all system we have to achive, It is nerver one factor only .

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