Physiology of Altitude Simulation

Equine Altitude International's Real Benefits

Equine Altitude International's benefits of altitude training are derived from the body's adaptive physiological responses to altitude acclimatization. As altitude increases, the partial pressure of oxygen decreases in proportions to the reduction in the atmosphere barometric pressure and the rate of oxygen transfer from the lungs to the blood cells.

This results in proportionately less oxygen being delivered to the tissues of the body. In response to this reduced tissue oxygenation, a variety of physiological adaptations occur that collectively result in facilitated oxygen delivery to the tissues. Altitude acclimatization results in the following physiological adaptations:

Increased Respiratory Efficiency Via:

• Increased alveolar ventilation rates increased rate of oxygen uptake in lungs

• Increased tidal volume resulting in increased capacity of oxygen exchange in lungs

• Increased V02max or increased oxygen consumption resulting in improved aerobic power output.

• Increased respiratory muscle strength and improved respiratory efficiency.

Increased Respiratory Efficiency Via:

• Increased circulating red blood cell mass and increased oxygen transport capacity

• Increased concentration of 2, 3-DPG in red blood cells facilitates release of oxygen from the red blood cells to the skeletal muscles

• Rightward shift in the oxy hemoglobin dissociation curve and increased affinity for hemoglobin to release oxygen to the skeletal muscles

• Increased capillary density in skeletal muscles allowing greater propensity for oxygen delivery to muscles and transport of lactate away from muscles.

• Improved theological (de formability) properties of red blood cells improving blood flow through micro-capillary beds in muscles.

• Increased oxidative enzyme capacity in the muscles improving aerobic capacity and higher anaerobic threshold.

Improved Aerobic Power And Endurance As A Result Of:


• Increased V02 max

• Change in substrate utilization from muscle glycogen to fat and carbohydrate metabolism prolonging aerobic energy cycles.

• Increased blood buffering capacity resulting in lower lactate levels and higher aerobic thresholds

• Decreased lactate formation due to reduced glycogen substrate utilization

• Increased mitochondria concentration of skeletal muscle increasing aerobic capacity.

• Increased oxidative enzyme capacity of skeletal muscle prolonging aerobic capacity and creating higher anaerobic thresholds.

Increased Cardiovascular Fitness Through:

• Lowered peak exertional heart rates allowing for greater cardiac reserves

• Improved diastolic filling of heart chambers allowing for greater cardiac efficiency.

• Increased stroke volume and total cardiac outputallowing for greater cardiac efficiency

• Improved myocardial energy utilization allowing for greater cardiac efficiency and endurance

• Greater cardiac reserve allowing for improved endurance.

Faster And More Complete Recovery After High Intensity Exercise

• More efficient training reducing the number of prep days

• Faster recovery following high intensity workouts

• Shorter prep times

• Lower incidence of fatigue-related training injuries due to more effective training and fewer
number of training cycles.

Equine Altitude International, combined with targeted conditioning programs, has cumulative effects of physiological adaptations to altitude. Acclimatized  thoroughbred racehorses are able to perform at maximum aerobic power outputs for longer periods of time, and are able to recover from these intense efforts more quickly. This translates into more efficient training with reduced likelihood of incurring stress related injuries associated with pre race training.