The Altipower personal hypoxicator offers all the benefits of altitude training - increased speed, power and stamina, and improved recovery - without having to relocate to altitude, or even leave your living room. The good news is that everyone can benefit from simulating a high altitude environment, and research suggests that the lower your fitness level, the greater the benefit.
The Altipower has been developed by Go2Altitude, one of the world leaders in the design of High Altitude simulation equipment, and one of the first companies to feature in Gizmag two years ago with its much larger machinery.
In a nutshell, the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games, which were held 2240 metres above sea level, brought the benefits of high altitude training to the attention of sports scientists across the world – elite sportspeople immediately began moving to higher altitudes to train, wealthier countries built altitude training facilities for their athletes and scientists began exploring new ways of tricking the body.
The theory is that an athlete’s sea-level aerobic capacity and performance improves with exposure to the lower oxygen levels of higher altitudes because the body’s physiological adaptive mechanisms (altitude acclimatisation) increases blood haemoglobin levels and hence the body’s oxygen transport system.
In effect, this offered a completely legal, drug-free method of boosting athletic performance and work began in earnest to optimise these effects after Mexico’s games.
“Blood doping” is believed to have been practised in some camps by the 1972 Munich Olympics and subsequent 1976 Montreal Olympics - blood doping involves taking blood from athletes conditioned at high altitudes and reusing it just prior to the competition. This was eventually to become a banned practice and work continued during the eighties and nineties on different ways of increasing an athlete’s red blood cell count with the incredibly effective and almost undetectable drug EPO emanating from this period – EPO achieves the same result as altitude acclimatisation.
Intermittent hypoxic exposure (IHE) is the technology which the Altipower uses and it relies on passive exposure to hypoxia to reproduce some of the key physiological adaptive mechanisms of altitude acclimatisation to improve sea level athletic performance and general health.
The AltiPower is the first altitude simulator of its type to reach market in that it is a personal machine which can be purchased inexpensively and used in the home – previous hypoxication machines (chambers, tents and hypoxicators) were very large and very costly.
The AltiPower sells in three versions; the base model at US$350, the advanced model at US$600 and the professional model at US$1000, though the standard model is intended as a spare or an additional device in a household or club where a pulse oximeter is available.