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Many fighters choose to live and train in places of high altitude. If a fighter does not live and train in a place of high altitude but happens to have a fight coming up in such a place, they often move their entire camp out there to grow accustomed to it.
Moving your entire fight camp to a foreign location can be extremely expensive. Flights, renting out a house and training space, food, etc. Every trainer and gym partner needs to be flown out, paid for, fed and housed whilst they’re there.
They do this so that their body can get used to the thin air. Where every breath is harder to take and your endurance seemingly halves overnight. The air has less oxygen and thus it’s harder to breathe.
Training at this altitude can take their endurance to new levels and is almost a prerequisite if they’re going to be fighting at these high altitudes.
You might remember when Cain Velasquez fought Fabricio Werdum at UFC 188. The fight took place in the high altitude location of Mexico City.
Cain Velasquez was a fighter known for his cardio and his stamina/endurance. He almost never gassed in a fight. But he gassed out in this fight almost straight away.
See, Werdum had been training in Mexico City before the fight and had grown accustomed to the thin air, whereas Cain had not.
And the proof really was in the pudding on the night as Werdum tapped out the tired champion to claim his belt. Now, not everyone can go and train in high altitude.
But training masks are the next best thing. These training masks simulate the effects of high altitude by adding resistance to your breathing as you train.
These masks allow you to improve your fatigue tolerance when you’re tired so that can carry on regardless. With the mask, you have less oxygen coming in so you have to pace yourself and your breathing to get through.
Doing your cardio and other training with a mask on is like trying to build substantial amounts of muscle and going from just doing push-ups to lifting heavy weights.
The Best Altitude Training Masks Reviewed
Training Mask 3.0 by Training Mask
This is the training mask. The company and the mask that first set off the trend and inspired many other sports companies to get involved.
This is actually the second version of the mask; the new and improved Training Mask 3.0.
It comes with six air resistance valve caps, three air resistance valve base pieces with flux valve plungers so you can choose the resistance and settings to suit your needs and level of fitness.
If used correctly, this mask will help you increase lung capacity, anaerobic threshold, oxygen efficiency, energy production and physical stamina.
You can even buy custom sleeves to wrap around the mask to make you look like people/things like a stormtrooper, Sub-Zero and Scorpion from Mortal Kombat and even Bane from The Dark Knight Rises.
And who doesn’t want to look like Bane?
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This mask is a fairly low profile and less bulky than some of the other models.
Using a training mask for the first time can be uncomfortable and so you may want to go the easiest route and go with something that will make the experience slightly less daunting and constricting. Spartonos also offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you decide that this mask, or masks in general, just aren’t for you.
It comes in three sizes: small, medium and large. You can choose between a black mask and a pink mask but the difference between them is purely aesthetic.
The small size of this mask mean that it can be used in pretty much any sport or facet of training without getting in the way.
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This mask is a bit different from the other masks on this list and that it is not a high-altitude/elevation training mask.
This mask actually provides you with less air resistance so you can breathe clearer and take in more oxygen. It accomplishes this by using active carbon filters to isolate 95% of dust, chemicals, and fumes.
If you live in a highly polluted area or you suffer from allergies but still want to get your cardio in, then this is the mask for you.
Cardio King Workout Training Mask
You have four levels of resistance to choose from so you don’t have to just dive straight into the deep end. As I said before, the feeling of using a training mask can be quite uncomfortable and even anxiety-inducing, so it’s especially important to ease into it.
There’s only one size of this mask but they can be made to fit people from 120 pounds up to 230 pounds quite comfortably.
It’s lightweight and anatomically designed to fit secure yet snug to your face. The non-slip training strap ensures that the mask won’t come loose or fall out whilst in use.
Phantom Athletics - Phantom Training Mask
The Phantom training mask has a simple lever which allows you switch between the different levels of resistance on the fly.
There is no having to remove the mask and replace the disks or valves. Just one flick of the switch and it’s done.
This makes it incredibly useful for when things are getting tough but you don’t want to quit outright. Or for when you really want to take your workout that one step further without having to stop and ruin your momentum.
The mask itself is stylish and comes in both a matte black design and a shining silver style.
There is also three options for size; small for people weighing under 150 pounds, medium for those who weigh between 150 – 220 pounds and a large for anyone who is over that.
Of course, these broad size ranges should be taken with a pinch of salt and you should exercise common sense when deciding which size is right for you as an individual.
As popular as these masks are becoming, they’re still not as widely used as they should be. Which means that by using one, you’ll still have a monumental edge against your competitor.
But even if you don’t compete, there’s numerous advantages to using a training mask that allows you to take your cardiovascular fitness to another level.