Brandie C. Cheshier1; Carlos A. Estrada1; Masoud Moghaddam1; Carter J. Stewart1; Bert H. Jacobson1,FACSM

1Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK.

The respiratory system is a limiting factor of exercise capacity in adults. In healthy individuals, diaphragm fatigue occurs around 85%VO2max and limits the duration exercise can be maintained at that intensity. The accessory inspiratory muscles and diaphragm are functionally and structurally skeletal muscles. Therefore, training with an appropriate physiological load should lead to adaptations of these muscles. The Elevation Training Mask (ETM) is a stimulated altitude training device that claims to increase lung function and cardiorespiratory fitness by creating a resistance to respiration. Theoretically, increasing respiratory resistance will create an overload on respiratory muscle which, in turn strengthens the diaphragm and accessory inspiratory muscles. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the ETM on lung function and cardiorespiratory fitness following a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) program. METHODS: Nine healthy adults completed four weeks of HIIT on a cycle ergometer. Subjects were randomly placed into either a control group (n=4) or an experimental group (n=5). The control group wore the ETM without resistance. The experimental group increased respiratory resistance once a week except for week four (i.e., 3,000ft, 6,000ft, 9,000ft). Pre- and post-tests included VO2max, pulmonary function, and BMI. Training consisted of 30 seconds of 75-85% HRmax with a pedal rate of 100-120rpm at individually set resistance level followed by 30 seconds of active recovery. This was completed 10 times for a total session time of 10 minutes. RESULTS: Post test results yielded a significant difference in FVC between the groups (F (2, 6) = 1.53, p<.05). There was no significant difference among the groups in regards to total time exercising, RPE, BMI, and FEV1 (p>.05). However, the experimental group observed a greater increase in FEV1 (8.67%) compared to the control (2.12%). CONCLUSION: The ETM did not significantly increase lung function or cardiorespiratory fitness to a higher degree than HIIT alone. However, the sample size may have been a limiting factor in the current study. Further research needs to be conducted with a larger sample size and at a stimulated elevation higher than 9,000ft to attempt to determine the effect of the ETM on lung function and aerobic capacity.

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