Training with a mask

Wear a mask. Slow the spread.

If you are considering training with a mask, that’s another story. Here are some thoughts.

Training with a mask is rough. A mask restricts airflow and forces you rebreathe air that’s richer in carbon dioxide. The effect is essentially the same as the results you get from high-altitude simulation masks. An entire industry has evolved around this type of training because it strengthens the lungs and respiratory system. While there is proven benefit to this type of training, the effect is not the same as living at high-altitudes, where the name originated. Living at high altitudes increases your red blood cell production allowing you to process oxygen more efficiently, improving your VO2Max.


If you are going to try training with a mask here are some tips:

  1. Choose a breathable material for your mask, such as cotton.

  2. If you are training outside, be mindful of the temperature. A stinking hot day will affect your workout far more than wearing a mask.

  3. Ramp up slowly. Initially, you will not be able to train as hard as usual due to the restricted airflow.

As an aside, apparently this mask of mine isn’t ideal for wearing in public, but it does improve social distancing.😁