Last night at swim squad we were given a hypoxic set. This involved breathing progressively less often culminating in aiming for zero breaths in 50 metres (this was too challenging for me – I did make it to a single breath though). I have done these sets before and although I feel like I am getting some benefit (relaxing in the water) I was curious what the specific benefits of a set like this were.
It seems there are mixed opinions on the matter. Some authors report that the primary effects are learning to release tension and find the most economical way through the water while others (referencing a study) report that controlled frequency breathing can allow high intensity workouts to be simulated at a moderate intensity. Personally I felt like I had performed a much harder workout than the distance and speed would suggest! So it seems there is not a definitive answer (at least in my very brief review) but there also doesn’t seem to be any negative effects of including these workouts. So it’s back to the pool today for the long aerobic swim – at least I know what this one is doing!