Have you ever felt like you were being drained of all your energy during a workout or a competition? Your lungs are burning, your muscles are shaking and exhaustion is paralyzing your performance? Of course you have. And you also know that there's no worse feeling in the world, especially when you're a competitive athlete.
Athletes have always been looking for new ways to improve their performance and thereby gain an advantage. But as broad and complex as some new training solutions may be, the focus has never been on breathing and strengthening the body's cardiorespiratory system. So the Phantom Training Mask has vowed to change that:
But before you roll your eyes and think this is just advertising praise for a product, relax. You won't find statements like "hot new product" or "buy NOW and get one for free" here. Phantom is committed to bringing ultimate training solutions to the market. And of course we will put our proud statements to the test. We will break the product down into its component parts and look at the scientific and anecdotal data, potential uses, benefits AND limitations of the Phantom Training Mask.
Altitude training simulation?Altitude training has been practiced for decades to increase athletic performance. Exercising in a hypoxic (low-oxygen) environment increases red blood cell mass and oxygen transport, thereby providing athletes with a measurable performance improvement when they return to normal conditions (i.e., normal altitude) (Gore et al, 2007)
A few years ago, this "altitude training" was reserved for the sports elite, but a few years ago it also made its way into the sporting mainstream. Every self-respecting lifter has since been caught wearing a special mask in the gym to simulate altitude training. However, what may appear revolutionary as a concept has not yet been able to be proven in scientific studies.
The research is clear: training masks do not simulate altitude training. They have no measurable impact on hemoglobin and hematocrit levels and energy production. And even if you did, you would have to wear the mask for weeks (20+ hours a day) to see any real improvement (Miller et al, 2010). So if you're trying to simulate altitude training in the hopes of making your body produce more red blood cells and boosting oxygen transport, save the money for a trip to the mountains.
Now that we've got that out of the way, are there any actual benefits of a training mask (other than making you look like the villain from a comic book)?
Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT)Although training masks cannot simulate hypoxic conditions, they do provide resistance to your breathing that triggers a physical adaptive response (Klusiewicz et al 2008). The pulmonary system can be a limiting factor for maximum performance in top athletes. Respiratory muscle fatigue and hypoxemia have been shown to lower exercise limits in advanced exercisers (McKenzie, 2012).
And while the altitude training claims have been disproved, current research has uncovered a new performance parameter: cardiorespiratory fitness. Like any other muscle, your respiratory muscles, from the diaphragm to the muscles between the ribs, need to be exercised and strengthened in order for you to perform at your best. A specific form of inspiratory muscle training has been shown to increase the strength and endurance of the respiratory muscles. (Williams et al, 2002). IMT is particularly promising in high-intensity aerobic training scenarios.
Away from the hype: What are athletes saying?When we get actual feedback from the real world, the sheer volume of reactions that training masks have elicited will immediately astonish you. As controversial as this new piece of gear is, the people who actually use it swear by its performance benefits, noting measurable differences in work capacity and recovery. In addition, athletes vouch for the training mask's ability to simulate combat situations where breathing may be restricted. Another benefit is the mask's ability to teach proper breathing techniques. This leads to better cardiorespiratory performance once the mask is removed.
Are the benefits physiological or psychological? Are all the great reviews due to the infamous placebo effect? Whatever the case, and depending on what you're looking for, the training mask may well have just earned a spot in your gym bag.
What is different about the Phantom Training Mask?
If you're an experienced athlete, you've probably heard of the overload principle. In order to strengthen your muscles, they must gradually be confronted with heavier resistance. There's no way around it. So you need to consistently use more weight in your exercises if you want to improve muscle strength and mass (Kraemer et al, 2002). With the Phantom Training Mask you can do exactly that due to the soon to be patented Phantom Regulation System (PRS). The mask offers 4 inhalation resistance levels, which allow you to adjust the breathing resistance spontaneously and constantly work on your respiratory fitness.
But as promising as that sounds, you probably won't wear the mask regularly if it sacrifices comfort for performance. This is where the Phantom training mask really sets itself apart from the competition. Due to the processed high-quality materials (e.g. medical silicone) and anatomically adapted components, the mask offers outstanding wearing comfort and robustness. So the build quality will make the workout hard on your breathing, not your nerves.
The Phantom Training Mask is particularly useful for advanced athletes looking to gain an edge in their training performance and recovery between sessions.
Do you need the mask in your repertoire?
What are your goals? Is inspiratory muscle fitness a limiting factor in your sport? Are you looking for new ways to push your anaerobic threshold and take your training to the next level? Then try the Phantom training mask at your next session and see for yourself what's behind it.
Do you have any questions about the Phantom training mask? Here you can contact us at any time:
Phone: +43 (0) 1 325 22 58
Snapchat: phantom .athl
WhatsApp: +43 676 3965188
–> we are happy to help!