Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Accepted version

Wee, J. & Climstein, M. (2013). Hypoxic training: Clinical benefits on cardiometabolic risk factors. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, (e-pub ahead of print)

Access the journal

Access the article with the DOI

2013 HERDC FoR code: 110600

this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published as detailed above.




Objectives: The main aim of this review was to evaluate the effectiveness of hypoxic training on the modulation of cardiometabolic risk factors.

Design: Literature review.

Methods: An electronic search encompassing five databases (PUBMED, EMBASE, MEDLINE, CINAHL, and SPORTDiscus) was conducted. A total of 2138 articles were retrieved. After excluding non-relevant articles, duplications and outcomes not related to cardiometabolic risk factors, 25 articles were chosen for review.

Results: Body weight and body composition were reported to be significantly improved when hypoxic training (≥1700 m) was used in conjunction with exercise regimes, at least three times a week, however extreme altitudes (>5000 m) resulted in a loss of fat-free muscle mass. Fasting blood glucose levels generally improved over time (≥21days) at moderate levels of altitude (1500 m–3000 m), although reductions in blood glucose tolerance were observed when subjects were exposed to extreme hypoxia (>4000 m). Resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels improved as much as 26 mmHg and 13 mmHg respectively, with hypoxic training (1285 m–2650 m) in medicated, stable hypertensive subjects. Effects of hypoxic training when used in combination with exercise training on cholesterol levels were mixed. While there were improvements in total cholesterol (−4.2% to −30%) and low-density lipoprotein (−2.6% to −14.3%) reported as a result of hypoxic training, available evidence does not substantiate hypoxic training for the improvement of high-density lipoprotein and triglycerides.

Conclusion: In conclusion, hypoxic training may be used as an adjunct treatment to modify some cardiometabolic risk factors. Measurement of hypoxic load may be used to individualize and ascertain appropriate levels of hypoxic training.



This document has been peer reviewed.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.