Altitude masks simulate high altitudes to limit oxygen intake during exercise. This causes the body to adapt, improving oxygen efficiency. Athletes and sportspeople use them to boost endurance, aerobic capacity and performance. These masks also strengthen the respiratory muscles and facilitate recovery after exercise. They are highly prized in the fitness world for pushing the limits of physical fitness.

Altitude masks

Altitude masks simulate high altitudes to limit oxygen intake during exercise. This causes the body to adapt, improving oxygen efficiency. Athletes and sportspeople use them to boost endurance, aerobic capacity and performance. These masks also strengthen the respiratory muscles and facilitate recovery after exercise. They are highly prized in the fitness world for pushing the limits of physical fitness.

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Altitude masks

Altitude masks, also known as air-restriction masks, have gained in popularity in the world of sports and training. These devices work by temporarily restricting the oxygen supply, simulating higher altitude levels through a valve or filter that reduces the incoming air flow. The idea is to cause the body to adapt to lower oxygenation conditions, inspiring the development of endurance, lung capacity and overall performance.

What are the advantages of using altitude masks?

  • Improving sports performance

Altitude masks are promoted for their potential to enhance sports performance. By forcing the body to adapt to reduced oxygen levels, they can promote better endurance and resistance to fatigue.

  • Strengthens the respiratory and cardiovascular systems

Regular use of altitude masks places an additional burden on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, increasing oxygen demand during training. This can lead to a strengthening of these systems, improving lung capacity and blood circulation. As a result, the athlete can be better prepared for intense activity and long-duration exercise.

  • Effects on blood oxygenation and endurance

Altitude masks promote better blood oxygenation by increasing the release of oxygen to muscle tissue. This leads to improved endurance, as muscles benefit from a better oxygen supply during physical effort. These effects can be beneficial for athletes seeking to optimize their performance.

  • Potential impact on altitude adaptation

Training with altitude masks is often considered as preparation for competitions at altitude or in low-oxygen environments. By training in simulated hypoxic conditions, athletics professionals can improve their ability to adapt to such environments, which is advantageous for high-altitude events.

When should altitude masks be used?

The use of altitude masks should be considered with caution and adapted to specific cases. Here are just a few of the situations in which they can be used:


  1. Altitude training unavailable:
    Athletes living in areas where training at natural altitude is not possible may consider using altitude masks as an alternative to benefit from the hypoxic effects.

  2. Preparation for high-altitude competitions:
    Athletes who will be competing at high altitude may consider incorporating altitude mask training sessions to prepare for the reduced oxygenation conditions they will encounter.
  3. Strengthening the cardiorespiratory system: People looking to improve their cardiorespiratory capacity, such as long-distance runners or cyclists, can incorporate altitude masks into their training to place an extra load on their respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
  4. Endurance sports: Sports requiring excellent endurance, such as triathlon or cross-country skiing, could benefit from a potential improvement thanks to the use of an altitude mask.
  5. Fitness enthusiasts looking for new challenges: For people looking to step up their training or take on new challenges, occasional use of altitude masks can add an extra dimension to their exercise program.

Read more: how to reach your fitness goals with the HIIT program

What are the precautions to be taken when using altitude masks?

The use of altitude masks requires precautions to ensure safe and effective practice. Here are a few precautions to bear in mind:


  1. Consult a health professional:
    Before you start using altitude masks, it's advisable to consult a doctor or healthcare professional, especially if you have pre-existing health problems or are new to the sport.
  2. Respect individual limits: Each individual has different physical capabilities, and training under hypoxia can be demanding on the body. Don't force the use of masks beyond your limits.

  3. Use the masks gradually:
    Start with short workouts with altitude masks and gradually increase the duration and intensity. A gradual approach helps the body adapt more safely.

  4. Watch for signs of overwork:
    Watch out for signs of overwork, such as dizziness, nausea, excessive shortness of breath or headaches. If you experience any unusual symptoms, stop using the mask immediately and consult a healthcare professional.
  5. Avoid use during high-risk activities: Avoid using altitude masks during activities where breathing is essential, such as swimming, as this could lead to safety risks.

  6. Avoid completely blocking the air supply:
    Altitude masks should not be used to completely block the air supply, as this could lead to asphyxiation or serious respiratory problems.
  7. Don't replace training at real altitude: Altitude masks can't exactly replicate real-altitude training conditions, so it's important not to think of them as a complete alternative to high-altitude training.

  8. Do not use in cases of acute respiratory illness:
    If you have an acute respiratory infection, avoid using altitude masks, as this could worsen symptoms and hinder your recovery.
  9. Choose a quality mask: Opt for high-quality, well-designed altitude masks to ensure safe and effective use.