What is hypoxia?
The word "hypoxia" means low oxygen delivery to bodily tissue. The process of the hypoxic method can briefly be described as follows: when we inhale lower-oxygen air, the brain responds to this change and instructs the body to increase pulmonary ventilation and the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells deliver oxygen to the tissues which combine with stored nutrients to produce energy. Unlike the constant hypoxia present in the mountains, the "intermittent" hypoxia of the HRS gradually adapts the body to perform normally in a low-oxygen environment, and substantially better in a normal oxygen, or "normoxic," environment. The body is thus adapted to both environments.

Typically these environments can only be found at altitude where the total air pressure is reduced. Although there is still 20.9% of oxygen, the reduced pressure means there is less of ALL gasses, so the partial pressure of oxygen is reduced also.

What is hypoxic training?
The process of the hypoxic method can briefly be described as follows: at altitude, or in its hypoxic equivalent, the reduced partial pressure of oxygen means that the arterial oxygen saturation (a measure of the level of oxygenation of the blood) is reduced from its normal level of about 98%. After several hours this triggers the body to make its normal adaptive responses which include improved diffusability of oxygen through the lungs, increased enzyme levels in the muscles, and improvement in oxygen processing efficiency, greater buffering effect against lactic acid, plus an increased rate of red blood cell production. A natural associated increase in plasma volume means this is often achieved without the disadvantage of thicker blood from raised haematocrit and haemoglobin levels (though we recommend getting them checked if your sport does have an upper-end limit on hematocrit).

Red blood cells are responsible for delivering oxygen to the tissues (muscles) which combine with stored nutrients to produce energy. Having more red blood cells allows one to deliver more oxygen to the working muscles. This is the primary adaptation that translates into improved athletic performance. In the past, the only way to obtain this adaptation was to spend long periods of time in high altitude locations or in a reduced pressure (hypobaric) chamber. The HRS allows you to not only create an hypoxic environment at any location, but it also provides a number of other physiological and logistical advantages over typical high altitude/hypobaric training:

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