High Altitude Training Camp
Altitude training traditionally referred to as altitude camp, is the practice by some endurance athletes of training for several weeks at high altitude, preferably over 2,500 m (8,000 ft) above sea level, though more commonly at a lower altitude due to the lack of availability of a suitable location. At this altitude the air still contains approximately 20.9% oxygen, but the barometric pressure and thus the partial pressure of oxygen is reduced. More common nowadays is the use of an altitude simulation tent, altitude simulation room, or mask-based hypoxicator system where the barometric pressure is kept the same, but the oxygen content is reduced which also reduces the partial pressure of oxygen. Such devices have enabled different altitude training techniques including Live High, Train Low, or the practice of merely performing occasional exercise sessions at altitude.
Depending very much on the protocols used, the body may adapt to the relative lack of oxygen hypoxia in one or more of a number ways such as increasing the mass of red blood cells and hemoglobin, and non-hematolological responses. Proponents claim that when such athletes travel to competitions at lower altitudes they will still have a higher concentration of red blood cells for 10-14 days, and this gives them a competitive advantage. Some athletes live permanently at high altitude, only returning to sea level to compete, but their training may suffer due to less available oxygen for workouts.