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3) FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1) Is hypoventilation technique at low pulmonary volume easy to apply?

2) Is it necessary to hold one's breath for as long as possible to be efficient?

3) Must hypoventilation be performed only during exercise?

4) Could it be interesting to hypoventilate during a competition?

5) Is hypoventilation training similar to altitude training?

6) Can every athlete obtain a significant decrease in O2 concentration with the exhale-hold technique?

7) Is it hard to train with hypoventilation?

8) Can hypoventilation training be dangerous for health?

9) How many training sessions a week with hypoventilation are required to obtain positive results?

10) How long does it take to obtain an improvement in performance?

11) In which sporting disciplines is it interesting to use hypoventilation training?

12) Could hypoventilation training be advantageous for endurance sports (marathon, triathlon, road cycling...)?

 

1) Is hypoventilation technique at low pulmonary volume easy to apply?

While the exhale-hold technique is more difficult to perform than simple apnea, it can be learned quite quickly. Generally, in 2-3 sessions, athletes are capable of mastering the respiratory technique.

(Chapter 4 of the book "hypoventilation training, push your limits!" describes in detail the hypoventilation technique at low pulmonary volume and provides exercises to learn it quickly).

2) Is it necessary to hold one's breath for as long as possible to be efficient?

Hypoventilation training is not an apnea competition! Holding one's breath over too long periods of time could rapidly lead to exhaustion and could also be risky for your health. The duration of both exhalation and breath holding have to be precisely balanced according to exercise intensity and the targeted oxygenation level.

(Chapter 5 of the book "hypoventilation training, push your limits!" gives the optimal durations for the application of the exhale-hold technique in order to get significant effects).

3) Must hypoventilation be performed only during exercise?

Yes, hypoventilation training is a method that must be applied only during exercise and not at rest. This kind of training is effective only when hypoventilation is associated to physical exertion.

4) Could it be interesting to hypoventilate during a competition?

No, hypoventilation has to be carried out exclusively during training periods and not during competitions or when attempting to break records. While regularly exercising with hypoventilation leads to interesting physiological adaptations, the acute effects are disadvantageous to performance.

5) Is hypoventilation training similar to altitude training?

Hypoventilation training, when performed at low pulmonary volume, allows obtaining oxygen concentrations in the blood and in the muscle similar to what would occur at altitudes above 2000m. However, they are two differences with a real altitude training:  a) unlike altitude exposure, exercising with hypoventilation increases carbon dioxid concentrations in the body  b) during hypoventilation training, the decrease in blood and muscle oxygenation is intermittent and not continuous like during exercise performed in altitude. Indeed, when training with hypoventilation, it is necessary to include periods with normal breathing, which causes the oxygenation level to increase again.

(This characteristic of hypoventilation training is presented in chapter 2 and 5 of the book "hypoventilation training, push your limits!").

6) Can every athlete obtain a significant decrease in O2 concentration with the exhale-hold technique?

The exhale-hold technique always induces a significant decrease in body oxygenation. However, this decrease is variable according to everyone's physiological characteristics. In some athletes, the level of oxygenation can be reduced by a few percents, while in others it can drop very markedly. Sometimes with the exhale-hold technique, body oxygenation can be the same as during an exercise performed at an altitude between 3000 to 4000 meters. However, it is not essential to have such drop in O2 concentrations to benefit from hypoventilation training. Performance improvement is not proportional to the degree of hypoxia!

(Chapter 5 of the book "hypoventilation training, push your limits!" provides the different levels of oxygenation obtained with the exhale-hold technique as well as the  corresponding (virtual) altitudes.

7) Is it hard to train with hypoventilation?

Hypoventilation training is physically demanding. The fall in O2 concentrations and the increase in CO2 concentrations provoke an acidosis in the whole body that make exercise hard to perform. However, exertion is far to be at maximum like during competitions or very intense trainings. Depending on athletes, their sensitivity level and the breath holding durations,  exertion can be perceived as "somewhat hard" to "very hard".

(Chapter 5 of the book "hypoventilation training, push your limits!" explains how to use the "rate of perceived exertion" for an effective hypoventilation training).

8) Can hypoventilation training be dangerous for health?

When correctly applied, hypoventilation training presents no more risks for health than other hard trainings, like high-intensity sessions. However, the physiological modifications that occur during exercise with hypoventilation could cause problems in some people at risk. Before starting to train with hypoventilation, it is essential to ensure that one does not suffer from high blood pressure, cardiac pathologies or pulmonary deseases. Hypoventilation training is particularly not recommended for athletes who had or have coronary problems, moderate or severe arterial hypertension.  If in doubt, a medical check-up is highly advised.

(Chapter 2 of the book "hypoventilation training, push your limits!" presents the physiological modifications that occur just as the exhale-hold technique is applied).

9) How many training sessions a week with hypoventilation are necessary to obtain positive results?

Depending on the period of the year at which training is performed, the weekly training load, the athlete level and the objective pursued, exercises with hypoventilation should be included 1 to 3 times a week.

(Chapter 5 of the book "hypoventilation training, push your limits!" helps you find the optimal weekly frequency for the hypoventilation workouts taking into account the different situations).

10) How long does it take to obtain an improvement in performance ?

It is possible to obtain positive results after 7-8 training sessions with hypoventilation. however, at least 12 sessions are necessary to get the best results.

(The chapter 5 of the book "hypoventilation training, push your limits!" presents numerous examples of hypoventilation training plans in order to get the best results).

11) In which sporting disciplines is it interesting to use hypoventilation training?

Hypoventilation can be used as a training or physical training method in all disciplines requiring intense exertions of short to moderate durations (from several dozens of seconds to about 10 minutes). Hypoventilation is particurlarly recommended in sports aiming at chronometric performance: athletics, swimming, cycling or water sports like rowing, canoeing and kayaking. For specialists of combat sports (boxing, judo, wrestling), it can also be advantageous to include works with hypoventilation in their physical training. In team sports (football, hand ball, basket ball, rugby...) or in racket sports (tennis, badminton, squash, ...), repeated and intense exertions have to be carried out. Therefore, it can be useful for sportsmen specialized in these disciplines to include hypoventilation workouts to their physical training.

(The chapter 5 of the book "hypoventilation training, push your limits!" proposes exercises or training sessions with hypoventilation for many sport disciplines).

12) Could hypoventilation training be advantageous for endurance sports (marathon, triathlon, road cycling...)?

To date, the scientific studies have not showed that hypoventilation training could be advantageous for endurance athletes. 

 

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