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From the Mountain to the MCG

Harry O’Brien gasps with Nathan Buckley

Harry O’Brien gasps for breath in front of coach Nathan Buckley at the University of Utah, December 2012.

By Blake McLean

As the AFL season builds towards the Grand Final this month, Blake McLean outlines the performance enhancements Collingwood players gained by training at altitude last summer.

Blake McLean travelled with the Collingwood Football Club for its altitude training camp in Utah as part of his PhD with the Australian Catholic University’s School of Exercise Science.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Altitude training has been used for decades by endurance athletes in an attempt to improve performance. In recent times this technique has been gaining popularity in professional team sports, perhaps most notably in the AFL. Before this season began no less than six AFL clubs participated in some sort of altitude training camp, and a number of clubs have now also installed simulated altitude, or hypoxic (low oxygen), rooms in an attempt to further enhance performance throughout the year.

However, many are still asking whether altitude training really works and, if so, how does it work?

At Collingwood, we are confident that with the right preparation and implementation, altitude training has a positive impact on our athletes. The club has now ventured on eight sojourns to various altitude venues around the world, and been using hypoxic rooms to implement intermittent hypoxic training (IHT) for more than 5 years.

Although we have been using these techniques for years, we don’t know it all and are constantly searching for ways to optimise the use of traditional altitude training camps, IHT and how these two techniques might complement one another to produce the best results for our athletes. As such, we constantly have research evolving in this area, working closely with the Australian Catholic University and the Australian Institute of Sport to answer...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.