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Altitude Training and Athletic Performance

Altitude Training and Athletic Performance

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    For many years, the effect of altitude training on athletic performance has been a topic of interest among coaches, athletes, and sport scientists. Altitude Training and Athletic Performance condenses the latest scientific information into a single, practical source.

    Randall L. Wilber, PhD—a sport physiologist at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado—is well qualified to address the physiology of altitude training, limitations to competing and training at altitude, and a host of other popular topics.

    Everything you need to know about altitude training and its effect on athletic performance is here. The book provides a complete historical overview of the development of altitude training from the successes and problems that athletes encountered at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics—where current interest in altitude training originated—right up to today’s most effective and innovative training techniques.

    Altitude Training and Athletic Performance combines a wealth of recent scientific research, as well as the latest training principles and program strategies in one of the most complete and useful texts available on the subject.

    The book’s practical applied section describes for serious coaches and athletes the how-tos of training and competing at altitude, improving performance, and minimizing health risks and discomfort. Altitude Training and Athletic Performance is a great resource for those seeking coverage of state-of-the-art training strategies such as the “live high–train low” training approach, the “nitrogen house,” supplemental oxygen, and simulated altitude in chambers and tents.

    This fascinating book is a thorough review and reference for students and sport scientists. It’s also a valuable guide for coaches and athletes who include altitude training in their overall training program. One of the few books devoted entirely to the subject, Altitude Training and Athletic Performance provides cutting-edge scientific information and practical applications pertinent to this interesting and controversial training method.


    Reference for sport scientists, exercise physiologists, students, athletic trainers, coaches, and athletes.

    Table of Contents

    Part I. Altitude Training: Background
    Chapter 1. A Brief History of Altitude Training

    Part II. The Science of Altitude Training
    Chapter 2. Potential Physiological Benefits of Altitude Training
    Chapter 3. Physiological Responses and Limitations at Altitude

    Part III. Altitude Training and Athletic Performance
    Chapter 4. Performance at Sea Level Following Altitude Training
    Chapter 5. Performance at Altitude Following Acclimatization

    Part IV. Practical Application of Altitude Training
    Chapter 6. Altitude Training Programs of Successful Coaches and Athletes
    Chapter 7. Current Practices and Trends in Altitude Training
    Chapter 8. Recommendations and Guidelines

    About the Author

    Randall L. Wilber, PhD, is a senior sport physiologist at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado (elevation 1,860 m/6,100 ft), where he oversees the operation of the Athlete Performance Laboratory. He has worked with U.S. Olympic team athletes from a variety of sports and advised them on the scientific and practical aspects of altitude training. Those athletes include Lance Armstrong (five-time winner of the Tour de France, two-time Olympian), Alison Dunlap (2001 World Champion in cross-country mountain biking, two-time Olympian), Mari Holden (2000 World Champion in road cycling, 2000 Olympic silver medallist), Barb Lindquist (world-ranked #1 female triathlete in 2002 and 2003), Hunter Kemper (2003 Pan American Games gold medallist in the triathlon, 2000 Olympian), Michael Phelps (five-time World Champion and five-time world-record holder at the 2003 Swimming World Championships), Apolo Ohno (2002 Olympic gold medallist in short track speedskating), Derek Parra (2002 Olympic gold medallist and world-record holder in long track speedskating), Christine Witty (2002 Olympic gold medallist and world-record holder in long track speedskating, three-time Olympian), and Johnny Spillane (2003 World Champion in Nordic combined skiing, 2002 Olympian).

    Dr. Wilber's Research interests include evaluating the effects of altitude training on athletic performance, exercise-induce asthma (EIA) in elite athletes, and the use of ergogenic aids for the enhancement of athletic performance. He has authored scientific papers on the se topics that have been published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, European Journal of Applied Physiology, Sports Medicine, International Journal of Sport Nutrition, and Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Dr. Wilber has co-edited Exercise-Induced Asthma: Pathophysiology and Treatment, published by Human Kinetics in 2002. In addition, he has been an invited speaker at scientific meetings in Brazil, China, and Finland. Dr. Wilber was recognized as a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in 1998.

    Dr. Wilber holds a PhD in exercise physiology from Florida State University, where he conducted research on training and detraining in endurance athletes. Originally from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, Dr. Wilber spent most of his adult life in Florida prior to moving to Colorado in 1993. He has been involved in sports his entire life as an athlete (cross-country and track), coach, and exercise physiologist. Dr. Wilber's hobbies and recreational interests include running, biking, hiking, reading, and photography. He has completed the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race (1999) and the Pikes Peak Ascent Running Race (2000-2002).