Team sports are not often associated with hypoxic training, yet water polo requires high aerobic power during competitive play and practise.

The live-high, train-low (LHTL) altitude training protocol was investigated to see if it enhanced the aerobic capacity of 11 athletes from the Australian women’s national water polo team.

Over six months, the athletes completed three LHTL exposure blocks (ten days) at simulated altitudes ranging from 2500- 3000m. Before each block, the relationship between Haemoglobin mass (Hbmass) and sport-specific aerobic fitness was assessed.

The research highlighted that LHTL protocols of two weeks or less increased Hbmass by 4 per cent.

Match performance is affected by many variables, but increasing Hbmass may increase aerobic power, suggesting increased sport-specific aerobic fitness.