"Live High-Train High" increases hemoglobin mass in Olympic swimmers

Thomas Christian Bonne, Carsten Lundby, Susanne Jørgensen, Lars Johansen, Monija Mrgan, Signe Refsgaard Bech, Mikael Sander, Marcelo Papoti, Nikolai Baastrup Nordsborg

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


PURPOSE: This study tested whether 3-4 weeks of classical "Live High-Train High" (LHTH) altitude training increases swim-specific VO2max through increased hemoglobin mass (Hbmass).

METHODS: Ten swimmers lived and trained for more than 3 weeks between 2,130 and 3,094 m of altitude, and a control group of ten swimmers followed the same training at sea-level (SL). Body composition was examined using dual X-ray absorptiometry. Hbmass was determined by carbon monoxide rebreathing. Swimming VO2peak was determined and swimming trials of 4 × 50, 200 and 3,000 m were performed before and after the intervention.

RESULTS: Hbmass (n = 10) was increased (P < 0.05)after altitude training by 6.2 ± 3.9 % in the LHTH group, whereas no changes were apparent in the SL group (n = 10). Swimming VO2peak was similar before and after training camps in both groups (LHTH: n = 7, SL: n = 6). Performance of 4 × 50 m at race pace was improved to a similar degree in both groups (LHTH: n = 10, SL: n = 10). Maximal speed reached in an incremental swimming step test (P = 0.051), and time to complete 3,000 m tended (P = 0.09) to be more improved after LHTH (n = 10) than SL training (n = 10).

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, 3-4 weeks of classical LHTH is sufficient to increase Hbmass but exerts no effect on swimming-specific VO2peak. LHTH may improve performance more than SL training.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1439-1449
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Hypoxia
  • Live High-Train High
  • Performance


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