Hypoxia during resistance exercise does not affect physical performance, perceptual responses, or neuromuscular recovery
This study aimed to determine whether performing resistance exercise in hypoxia affects markers of physical performance, perceptual responses, and neuromuscular function. Fourteen male subjects (age: 24.6 ± 2.7 yr; height: 179.7 ± 5.9 cm; body mass: 84.6 ± 11.6 kg) with >2 years resistance training experience performed moderate-load resistance exercise in two conditions; normoxia (FIO2 = 0.21) and hypoxia (FIO2 = 0.16). Resistance exercise comprised 3 sets of 10 repetitions of back squats and deadlifts at 60% of 1RM, with 60s inter-set rest. Physical performance was assessed by quantifying velocity and power variables during all repetitions. Perceptual ratings of perceived exertion, physical fatigue, muscle soreness and overall wellbeing were obtained during and following exercise. Neuromuscular performance was assessed via vertical jump and isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) tasks for up to 48 h following exercise. While physical performance declined across sets, there were no differences between conditions. Similarly, perceived exertion and fatigue scores were not different between conditions. Muscle soreness was increased from baseline at 24 and 48 h following exercise in both conditions (p ≤ 0.001). Jump height and IMTP peak force were decreased from baseline immediately after exercise (p ≤ 0.026), but returned to pre-exercise values after 24 h. These findings suggest that hypoxic resistance exercise does not affect exercise performance or perceived exercise intensity. Additionally, neuromuscular recovery and perceptual markers of training stress were not affected by hypoxia, suggesting that hypoxic resistance training may not add substantially to the training dose experienced.