Top 7 Benefits of Altitude Training for Mountain Athletes

You're here because the mountains are your arena, and you know the stakes. We're in the same grind, pushing our limits where the air is thin and mistakes are costly.

Altitude is the ultimate test. Fail to prepare, and altitude will break you. That’s why this isn’t a casual read; it’s a must-know.

Altitude training is your ticket to both surviving and dominating the mountains.

Consider this article a minor part of your prep-work, and possibly a word of encouragement to keep pushing forward, because amazing benefits are on the other side of your effort.

In this article we’ll break down seven hard-hitting benefits of altitude training. From boosting your red blood cells to ramping up your mental game, this is the shortlist of advantages that come from altitude training. 

1. Increased Red Blood Cell Production

Altitude training triggers the production of erythropoietin, a protein that kicks your red blood cell count into overdrive. Why does this matter? More red blood cells mean better oxygen delivery to your muscles. In layman's terms? 

Increased production of red blood cells will help you last longer and perform better, especially when you're up against the thinner air of the mountains. It’s a precious commodity.

2. Improved Aerobic Capacity

Training for high performance in high altitudes is an assault on your body's limitations. The scarcity of oxygen forces your cardiovascular system to adapt, enhancing your aerobic endurance and VO2 max

It’s a struggle, one that’s often described as running with a hand over your mouth, but the result is a more efficient heart and lungs. They’ll be ready to power you through the most grueling terrains over the longest distances.

3. Enhanced Lung Function

The higher you go, the harder your lungs have to work. Any increase in the ability of your lungs to take in more air and maximize every breath is priceless. 

Altitude training specifically strengthens your respiratory muscles and increases your lung capacity. Higher volume and greater efficiency leaves you with lungs that are better equipped to handle steep, high-altitude conditions and the physical challenges that come with them.

4. Enhanced Mental Resilience

Altitude training is as much a mental game as it is physical. The thin air doesn't just challenge your body; it tests your willpower. 

Endurance training for high altitudes demands a strong mental and emotional approach due to reduced oxygen supply. Athletes who regularly engage in altitude training develop mental toughness and become better prepared to remain focused and composed in adverse conditions.

You'll develop a mental toughness that's indispensable when you're miles from civilization and the stakes are high. It’s the difference between enduring and thriving in harsh conditions. 

But mental toughness isn't built in a day. It's a slugfest, just like your physical training. That's where our MTN Mindset programs come in

Led by a retired Green Beret, these programs are designed to forge your mental resilience, turning you into a holistic machine of toughness. And the best part? You can start honing your mental edge with our 14-day free trial

Invest your time in mental toughness and you’ll see just how powerful it can be for staring down the obstacles of the backcountry, mountains, or frontlines.

5. Increased Muscular Endurance and Strength

High altitudes will test your entire body. Certainly your lungs and heart are part of this, but it’s also a full-body commitment. The thin air forces your muscles to work harder, adapt, and become more efficient. 

Increased muscular endurance and strength are needed so you can power through, whether you're hauling meat or silently stalking prey. This is the kind of strength that turns obstacles into stepping stones. 

Want to dive deeper into building hunting endurance? Check out our in-depth guide that takes you through the details of endurance training tailored for the mountains.

6. Accelerated Recovery and Reduced Inflammation

Your ability to constantly push your limits will serve you well in altitude training. But if you can’t quickly bounce back you’re going to struggle to expand those limits. Lucky for you, altitude training builds an increased lactate threshold. This means you recover faster and experience less tissue inflammation. 

While you may still need an occasional ice bath to reduce the immediate swelling, greater lactate threshold is more than a quick fix; it’s long-term resilience for your body. 

7. Enhanced Balance and Coordination

It’s a misconception that altitude training is simply a strength test for your heart and lungs. Take the oxygen challenge out of the equation, and you’re still talking about an environment that’s filled with serious consequences if you step with poor footing or lose your land with a weak grip. 

You need agility and precision when it matters most, altitude training will help get you there.

Your joints and flexibility built have to be top notch for this. That's where MTN MVMT 2.0 comes into play. 

This program is a game-changer for mountain athletes, focusing on functional mobility that keeps you agile and injury-free. It's not just about muscle; it's about movement. 

The Clear Benefits of Reaching Your Peak Potential

The benefits of training for high altitude performance is clear as mountain air. From boosting your red blood cells to building mental fortitude, altitude training is the best way to forge your path when you're thousands of feet above sea level.

It won’t be easy, but it’s worth every drop of sweat and every gasp for air.

Now, you could keep doing what you're doing, or you could take your training to the next level. We're talking about a regimen that's been battle-tested in the roughest places imaginable. If you're serious about becoming MTNTOUGH, there's no better time to start.

Ready to get after it? Dive into our 14-day free trial and feel what it’s like to train for the mountains the MTNTOUGH way. You’ll see why it's exactly what you'll need when you face those peaks head-on.