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I may be a little late on the elevation training mask trend. It seems as though the videos on the elevation training mask are kind of old and about half of them are about people telling you they are great and the other half tell you that they don’t work.

First and foremost, I must let you know that the name of the elevation training mask is misleading. The mask does not really simulate elevation conditions. It does not change the composition of oxygen in the air. It does not mimic training at higher elevation. If you are looking for the benefits of training at higher elevations, this mask is not going to give you what you are seeking.

When the person exercises at high altitude, he or she has increased ventilation, which causes reduced CO2 levels in the lungs, arterial blood and other body cells.

Why did I purchase the elevation training mask?

I was learning the Buteyko breathing exercises. It was highly recommended and promoted on the normalbreathing.com website. I loved the touted benefits of breathing easier and less that were discussed on the website. So, I made the purchase.

I was looking achieve optimal health by using the elevation training mask. At the time, I was not a runner and I wasn’t really much of an athlete. I simply wanted to achieve optimal breathing to obtain optimal health.

Does the elevation training mask live up to the hype?

I have been able to reduce my breathing and achieve almost optimal levels of health using the breathing mask. I have not gotten the common cold in years. My energy levels skyrocket when I am consistently using the mask. I have increased my control pause, or the amount of time between breaths, by using the elevation training mask.

The elevation training mask helped me train for a half marathon. I used it consistently while training. I discovered that it became easier and easier to breath with it the more I used it. I found working out without the mask was incredibly easy.  When I did run my race, I felt that my endurance was much improved due to training with the mask.

What does the elevation training mask do? 

The elevation training mask creates a resistance to breathing. This resistance helps you to strengthen your diaphragm. By using the training mask while you exercise and strengthening your diaphragm, you develop better breathing habits. The mask forces you to breath slower and in doing so, your body starts to use oxygen more efficiently.

When a person breathes with resistance, he or she gets less oxygen for the lungs.When a person uses the Altitude Training Mask, he or she also experiences reduced oxygen flow. However, in addition to lower O2, the mask increases body-CO2 content. Breathing is mainly regulated by arterial CO2 (with the exception of people who are severely ill due to chronic diseases).

One of the important effects of consistent training with the Elevation Training Mask (often referred to as the running mask) is respiratory center adapting to higher CO2 and easier and slower at rest breathing. Slower and easier breathing at rest leads to improved-oxygen transport as a result of CO2-vasodilation and the Bohr effect (more effective release of O2 in cells).

The impact that correct physical exercise will have on your body-oxygen content will be evident the next day in a simple body-oxygen test. You can do this test by timing how long you can comfortably hold your breath between breaths.  The more seconds that you can hold your breath, the more oxygen is getting to your cells. Many people believe that breathing more air improves the brain and body oxygen content, however, this leads to hyperventilation and creates disease in the body.

How does the Elevation Training Mask work?

The elevation training mask increases the dead volume when you breathe.

This greater amount of dead volume makes the Elevation Training Mask 2.0 similar to other breathing devices such as the Frolov device, Samozdrav, and Amazing DIY breathing device. However, these breathing devices are used at rest. Breathing exercises can be done while walking, with often better results than at rest.  The Elevation Training Mask creates an ideal method to combine most effective breathing exercises with physical activity for increased health and a higher-body O2 and VO2max. For this reason, the elevation training mask is much more effective than simply training at elevation.

High altitude training is often referred to as hypoxic training.  This is because high altitude training provides adaptation to hypoxia, which an increase in hemoglobin levels.  This is due to the fact that at high altitude reduces O2 content in the inspired air.

The Elevation Training Mask reduces O2 in the inspired air, but it also increases CO2 content in the lungs. An increase in CO2 in the lungs is not seen in high altitude training. For this reason, using the elevation training mask creates an example of hypercapnic hypoxic training.  Hypercapnic hypoxic training has additional benefits due to the adaptation to higher levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. 

Is the elevation training mask worth the cost?

When you go to Amazon, you may be shocked by the cost of the Elevation Training mask. They are currently asking for about $70 for the Elevation Training mask. Serious athletes who want to gain an advantage with their health will happily pay for that tool. Many others will balk at the price.

You don’t need the elevation training mask to improve your breathing technique. You can use breathing exercises while you exercise without making the purchase. However, I have discovered that often when you invest in a tool, you become more committed to your goal. The training mask is only one tool that helped me stick with Buteyko breathing exercises and improve my health by increasing my body-oxygen levels.