Many people are asking if there is any validity behind the Sean Sherk training mask so we thought we would shed some light on this question. We have seen the questions like, “is this a gimmick or can it be used for real MMA Training” or “will this really increase my lung capacity or increase my oxygen intake?”. So, we did some investigating and here is what we found.
However, we are not here to debate if high altitude training works. We feel that does not nee to be proven as it has been used by many elite athletes for many years and they wouldn’t go without it. So, the assumption we are starting out with is that High Altitude training does work. But, does this mask actually simulate elevation training?
Reducing the O2 in the air
How do High Altitude Training Masks Work?
There have been numerous elevation masks some that have actually worked and of course some that have been scams. There are two basic ways that these masks have worked.
First, some have actually simulated high altitude training through modifying the oxygen levels. They duplicate the lower oxygen content found at high
altitude, thereby reducing the amount of inspired oxygen. For example, the CAT system by Colorado Altitude Training reduces the oxygen content to 15.2% to simulate 9,000 feet at sea level. Although the total pressure is unchanged, the inspired oxygen is the same as at high altitude. However the price tag of this system isn’t even available on the site which means it is probably not affordable to the average athlete.
Reduce the O2 to the body
The second method is to lessen the amount of total oxygen to the body so the body is made to use that oxygen more efficiently. With this reduced oxygen the athletes human is effected in several ways however the most important is that the red blood cells and new capillaries (small blood vessels) increase the transfer of oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the entire body. Some MMA athletes have even resorted to taping a snorkel to their head so they have to breath through the snorkel like Wanderlei Silva which obviously works since he has done this in numerous training camps.
Both Ways Work to Make the body Work More Efficiently
The bottom line is that both these systems work it just comes down to cost effectiveness and portability.
For most athletes that train they don’t have the luxury of having some sort of lap pool so there are basically training stationary. In MMA there is not a way that has been devised yet to training the functional muscles while staying in one place where a hose can be attached to CAT (see above) like machine. So the best way to combat this is to use the second method and reduce the O2 to the body instead of the air this way the athlete can move from station to station and exercise to exercise.
To reduce the actual O2 from the air is an expensive way to basically get the same effect as reducing the O2 from the body. However, the second method is a much less pricey way to simulate high altitude training for athletes who don’t have the finances of an athlete in the NBA, or NFL.
So, is this for real or a scam?
It is our opinion along with many other MMA fighters and athletes that the Sean Sherk Elevation training mask simply works in getting the body to use O2 more effectively thus improving your overall cardiovascular conditioning. It allows the MMA athlete to use in in any gym setting without a lot of hassle or without modifying your movement. If you are interested in purchasing the elevation mask you can click on the image of the item to the left.
** To be completely up front we do sell the training mask at The MMA Zone. However, we do sell the training mask because we think the points in this article shed some light on the validity of this training tool.
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