Before you can decide whether to give hyperoxic training a go, let us start with the basics of what it is.
Hyperoxic training focuses on increasing the amount of oxygen that your body has access to during exercise. This is so that you can increase your potential output, increase your endurance and also training capacity. Once the session has finished, recovery times are also reduced.
We’ve all heard about high-altitude training being a popular training method among athletes. This is hypoxic training (the opposite of hyperoxic) and it is all about your body operating with lower levels of oxygen. If your body adapts to function effectively in these conditions, and produces more red blood cells. The hope for this method is that once in an environment of normal oxygen levels, such as a race in the UK, the benefits will be seen.
There are a number of potential downsides to hypoxic training. Power outputs are reduced, muscle mass can be lost, and the risk of over-training is higher as recovery times are longer. There is also the concern that at some point, making huge efforts with reduced oxygen may catch up with you (a bit like if we have a really busy few weeks, we get tired and say it’s caught up with us).
With hyperoxic training the understanding is that through enabling the body to consistently undertake more intense workouts, your muscles will learn to respond better, whilst also gaining increased speed and power outputs. Muscles that are receiving good amounts of oxygen will be able to manage increases in training intensity, meaning more training is possible and recovery rates are quicker.
If your aims are to increase power and speed and build muscle, training with extra oxygen is definitely worth considering as an effective method.
If you also want to build endurance or you will be at high altitudes it could be worth factoring in hypoxic training as well. A combination of both can be used.
Hyperoxic training is something that in the past has mainly only been available to professional athletes and people with coaches or clubs that had access to pure oxygen. ClearO2, available in portable, easy-to-use cans, means that this training method can now be used by anyone.