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Brandie C. Cheshier1, Carlos A. Estrada2, Masoud Moghaddam1, Carter J. Stewart1, & Bert H. Jacobson1, FACSM1 Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK; 2Aurora University, Aurora, IL

A recent training tool, the elevation training mask (ETM) is a commercially available simulated altitude training device with claims to increase lung function and aerobic capacity by incorporating valves to create respiration resistance. Previous studies have resulted in conflicting conclusion regarding the effectiveness of the ETM with respect to lung function. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of the ETM in conjunction with high intensity interval training (HIIT) and HIIT alone (i.e., using mask with no resistance) on lung function. METHODS: Sixteen healthy adults (control group, n=8 & experimental group, n=8) participated in this study. Pre-and post-test consisted of lung function (FEV1& FVC) using spirometer, time to task failure, and body mass index (BMI). Training was completed on a cycle ergometer on 3 nonconsecutive days per week (MWF), for 4 wks. Participants exercised at 85% of HR max, using heart rate monitor, with a pedal rate of 100-120rpm at individually set resistance levels. Each training session consisted of 10 bouts of 30s exercise followed by 30s of active recovery for a total time of 10 min. The respiratory resistance on the ETM for the experimental group was progressively increased from 915.4m-2,743.2m (3,000ft-9,000ft.) during wks of training, while the control group used ETM with no resistance. RESULTS: Following training, a significant difference in FVC between the groups was found (F (1,4) = 7.486, p= 0.016). In addition, no significant(p>0.05) differences between the groups in FEV1, total time exercising, and BMI was noted. However, the experimental group yielded a greater increase in FEV1compared to the control group (experimental: 3.40%; control: 2.42%). CONCLUSION: In the present study, the ETM resulted in a small increase in FEV1and significantly improved FVC more than HIIT alone. Using the ETM in conjunction with HIIT may significantly improve lung function compared to HIIT only. When used in conjunction with HIIT, the ETM appears to create sufficient resistance to strengthen the muscles in respiratory ventilation and improve respiratory efficiency. However, further research needs to be conducted using a larger sample size and at a wider range of elevations to determine the optimal ETM setting for respiratory muscle training.

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