Why Elevation Masks Do Not Work (Video)

Elevation training masks are popular training items, mostly because you can look badass like Bane. They purportedly improve your cardiovascular fitness by emulating training at higher altitudes, like Michael Phelps who is known to have training stints at high altitudes. A recent study investigated the claims of the Elevation Training Mask to allow for combined respiratory muscle training and altitude exposure during exercise.

The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of a ventilatory training mask to improve anaerobic and aerobic fitness in ROTC cadets. Seventeen ROTC cadets from a Midwest university completed pre- and post-assessments consisting of anthropometry, a 30-sec Wingate Anaerobic Test (WAnT), and a maximal aerobic capacity test (VO2max). A six week intervention training period was utilized during which time participants completed their mandatory physical training (PT) sessions. Participants were randomly assigned to either the experimental group (MASK; n = 9), or the control group (CON; n = 8). The ventilatory training masks were adjusted to simulate an altitude of 2750 m. There was no significant effect (p < .05) between groups on fatigue index, anaerobic capacity, peak power, VO2max, or time to exhaustion. These results suggest that the use of the ventilatory training mask during mandatory PT did not elicit superior aerobic or anaerobic adaptations in ROTC cadets. Therefore, it is recommended that more established simulated altitude training methods be utilized when incorporating intermittent hypoxic training.

via NCBI