This study aimed to verify whether the “live low, train high” approach is beneficial for endurance and/or anaerobic cycling performance.

Well-trained athletes (n=16) completed 90min of endurance training (60–70% HR max), followed by two 30-s all-out sprints (Wingate test),daily, for 10 consecutive days.

Nine subjects (IHT) trained produce arterial oxygen saturations of 88–82%, while seven subjects (placebo group) trained while breathing a normal gas mixture.

Four performance tests were conducted at sea level including a familiarisation and baseline trial, followed by repeat trials at 2 and 9 days post-intervention.

Relative to the placebo group, the mean power during the 30-s Wingate test increased by 3.0% in 2 days, and 3.8% 9 days, post IHT.

During the time trial, the IHT participants’ blood lactate concentration, respiratory ex-change ratio, and SpO2, relative to the placebo group, was substantially increased at 2 days post-intervention. The addition of IHT to the normal training program of well-trained athletes produced worthwhile gains in 30s sprint performance, possibly through enhanced glycolysis.

This study suggests that whilst the gains are marginal, elite athletes may indeed benefit from a live-low, train-high protocol.