Return to Performance

Saturation Stress Training

This protocol optimizes the body’s use of “stored” oxygen by stressing the body’s de-saturation and re-saturation mechanisms.  

De-saturation allows the “delay” onset of anaerobic energy production by using blood-bound oxygen to prolong aerobic performance, and delay transition to anaerobic energy production.

Re-saturation training accelerates recovery from anaerobic metabolism back to aerobic.  For an unknown reason, it seems to accelerate the transition from anaerobic back to aerobic energy.

This pro­to­col adds anoth­er con­trol para­me­ter — the tar­get de-sat­u­ra­tion lev­el.  As you train, your body should be able to tol­er­ate low­er de-sat­u­ra­tion lev­els dur­ing these inter­vals.  As this lev­el goes down, your body is using more of blood-bound oxy­gen to delay tran­si­tion from aer­o­bic to anaer­o­bic ener­gy pro­duc­tion.  When you shift to low oxy­gen, your body will use “stored cir­cu­lat­ing oxy­gen” to pro­vide ener­gy.

This pro­to­col also cre­ates a min­i­mum sat­u­ra­tion lev­el this is the min­i­mum O2 sat­u­ra­tion that you can tol­er­ate while under exer­tion.  This is a new para­me­ter in ath­let­ic train­ing.  The low­est lev­el I have observed in an ath­lete is 61%, although most indi­vid­u­als capa­ble of sus­tained phys­i­cal exer­tion are capa­ble of 75–85%.

You can test your per­son­al de-sat­u­ra­tion tol­er­ance:

  • Warm up under nor­mal air until you reach your train­ing pulse rate
  • Con­tin­ue anoth­er 5 min­utes to make sure the cir­cu­la­to­ry sys­tem is ful­ly adapt­ed to strain
  • Switch to high alti­tude mix­ture
  • Mon­i­tor pulse and O2 Sat­u­ra­tion
  • Sprint at your 90% of your max­i­mum
  • Mon­i­tor pulse and oxy­gen sat­u­ra­tion lev­els
  • Con­tin­ue to exer­tion tol­er­ance
  • Record min­i­mum Sat­u­ra­tion and max­i­mum pulse at  the end

Desat­u­ra­tion Train­ing Method

  1. Fill the oxy­gen reser­voir (don’t con­nect oxy­gen yet)
  2. Warm up on the exer­cise equip­ment until you reach your tar­get pulse rate **
  3. Put on the mask and con­nect to the oxy­gen
  4. Exer­cise for 3 min­utes increas­ing resis­tance to main­tain tar­get pulse rate
  5. Switch to high alti­tude air
  6. Sprint until res­pi­ra­to­ry tol­er­ance — (note desat­u­ra­tion lev­el & exer­tion delay)
  7. Switch back to oxy­gen mix­ture for 3 min­utes (note how long it takes to return to 99%)
  8. Go To 5
  9. Stop exer­tion at 15 min­utes
  10. Con­tin­ue breath­ing oxy­gen until pulse drops 100 bpm.


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