What effect does altitude training have on athletic performance?

Mauro, P.
Aim
To determine whether altitude training, and living/sleeping at altitude has any beneficial effect on physical performance in athletic sports. I also aim to identify the positive and negative consequences of living/training at altitude, and suggest possible methods of maximizing performance.
Method
I have considered the evidence in the literature about living and/or training at altitude. A qualitative research study was based solely on this literature review. Major studies conducted in this area, such as that by Stray-Gundersen, 2001, were used as the basis for my research. These studies were examined to try and culminate the information in order to provide athletes with an holistic view of the benefits of living/training at altitude.
Discussion/Conclusions
To improve sea-level performance, only the live high, train low model has been proven to enhance performance in elite athletes. A 1-3% improvement in sea level performance can be expected by using this method. Athletes need to live at an altitude of 2-3000m, and return to an altitude of less than 1250m to train, for this strategy to work effectively.
Studies are inconsistent in regards to changes in blood chemistry and v02 max from altitude. Training at altitude is unlikely to improve performance at sea level, however, acclimatization to altitude will improve performance at altitude. Future studies need to include a larger sample size, a control group performing the same training program, and an altitude high enough to produce physiological gains.
http://www.trainingsmartonline.com/altitude_training_and_triathlon.php
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