Rapid growth during adolescence caused by metabolic changes and their metabolic response to anaerobic and aerobic exercise differs considerably from that in adults and this is especially true in the responses to stresses, such as altitude exposure. However, there is little information on the suitability of exercise training at altitude for young athletes.
Six male Korean adolescent alpine skiers (13-17 yr), with a skiing career of 3-5 yr, participated in the study. All subjects were exposed to an altitude of 2700 m (8858 ft) for 5 wk and altitude exposure consisted of 6 d/wk of training (4-5 h/d), with living quarters at 2100 m (-6890 ft) (Tignes, France). The 5 wk of ski training at altitude were maintained at the same level (the same number of slalom and giant slalom skiing trials) as at sea level.
There was a significant increase in oxygen transport capacity, despite decreased erythropoietin (EPO) production (-31%) after altitude training. Red blood cell (RBC), hemoglobin (Hb), hematocrit (Hct), and 2,3 DPG concentrations increased significantly during altitude exposure and after return to sea level.
Results indicate that applying altitude training in adolescent skiers may improve their endurance performance. However, EPO production during altitude training needs to be evaluated in larger future studies.
Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine 01/2012; 83(1):50-3. DOI:10.3357/ASEM.3092.2012 · 0.78 Impact Factor