Elevation Mask Training


If you’ve ever skied out West, you’re familiar with the lack of oxygen at high altitudes and have experienced elevation training. You may have noticed how super human you feel when you return to sea level — a result of your aerobic threshold having increased by adjusting to the air up there. Athletes often opt to train at altitudes. Oxygen deprivation increases the production of red blood cells, which aids oxygen delivery to the muscles, giving them a competitive edge.

There is no need to leave home any longer to train at altitude. The Elevation Training Mask 2.0 mimics training at a high altitude. It adjusts between 3,000 and 18,000 feet, by controlling the flow of air delivered to the body, and trains your lungs to use oxygen more efficiently. The Seattle Seahawks star running back Marshawn Lynch is often seen warming up on the sidelines with his mask on. The Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade posted a picture last summer of the whole team using elevation training masks.

The masks are now popping up in gyms across the country, as reported recently in both Cosmopolitan and Womens Healthand this editor couldn’t resist giving one a try. I was put through the paces by James Brewer at Exceed Physical Culture, who uses the mask with clients looking to max out their workouts. From slower movements like dumbbell flys and presses, to full body moves like squats, plyometrics, and the sled push shown above, I did find the mask forces you to be more conscientious of your breathing, and take slower breaths in rhythm with the exercise you’re performing. If you’ve ever gone scuba diving, the sensation is similar to breathing through a regulator. The other thing I noticed, which reminded me of the feeling after a non-stop ski run out West, was my abs contracted with that heavy breathing — a bonus core workout.

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 6.50.18 PM


It’s not the sexiest look I’ve seen at the gym — think Anthony Hopkins in “Silence of the Lambs” — but any athlete or fitness buff looking to improve their endurance and increase the efficiency of their workout can benefit from use of the mask. It makes any exercise more challenging while building lung capacity, raising the anaerobic threshold, and ultimately improving performance. The Elevation Training Mask 2.0 comes in three sizes (small, medium, large), in three colors (classic black, all white, blackout), and will run you $79.99.