Best Training Masks Reviewed & Rated for Quality

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Resistance training is a good way for athletes who want to push themselves to increase their endurance get an edge on their competition. One of the newest fads in resistance training methods is altitude training masks. These masks are designed to restrict your airflow, simulating the kind of difficult breathing conditions that you would encounter at a higher elevation.

These types of masks differ from other face masks meant to filter the air you’re breathing that have become popular for cyclists and outdoors enthusiasts. Instead, they offer a type of training that is, basically air-restricted training that also goes by the name “inspiratory muscle training.” While there is quite a bit of debate out there as to the legitimacy of these masks and whether or not they actually do what they say, one thing is for sure: there are a number of athletes who have used them and claim to really feel a difference in their performance and training.

So you can check out this training trend yourself, we’ve put together a list of the best training masks currently on the market. Below you’ll find info on how we decided to rank these masks as well as advice on how to pick the best mask, as well as frequently asked questions about altitude training masks.

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By Max Knapp:

With this update, we've added some more relevant training mask selections to our list of best training masks like the Training Mask 3.0 which is the latest from Training Masks and one of the best options available for those who want to get into air restriction training. We've also edited some of our criteria for accuracy and readability, bringing more relevant and useful tips and tricks to the table just for you!

Training Mask 3.0
  • Training Mask 3.0
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Most effective design
  • Price: See Here
Warrior Elite
  • Warrior Elite
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 16 Levels
  • Price: See Here
WHPH
  • WHPH
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Durable sleeves
  • Price: See Here

 

Best Training Masks

Training Mask 3.0

Training Mask 3.0
The Training Mask 3.0 is the newest installation in a line of masks from Training Mask, a company that has paved the way for this type of gear. This is a sleek follow up to the Training Mask 2.0 and is one of the best masks on the market.
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Performance

This mask offers an easy to control dial and several different levels of airflow restriction to allow you to slowly decrease the level of oxygen you’ll be using while training. It’s a great option for beginners as well as those familiar with using training masks. The rubber overmolded mask creates an airtight seal and works well with the shroud plate that regulates your airflow.

Design

The composite rubber mask covers a generous area so as not to be constricting while also not being overbearing or bulky. An outer sleeve keeps the mask piece snug and is breathable and soft, definitely preferable to other systems that use excessive elastic straps. Unfortunately, this means the fit is not adjustable, but there are several different sizes to choose from so you don’t have to worry about the issues that come with “one size fits all” designs. Not only is this mask super functional in its construction, it looks fantastic. It has a strong aesthetic without being ultra bulky or obtrusive and is branded with the modern, sleek Training Mask logo.

Value

The Training Mask 3.0 is more expensive than other options on our list, but is currently discounted and is definitely worth the initial investment. This is one of the best training masks you could hope to find.
Pros
  • Multi-level airflow restriction
  • Airtight construction
  • Aesthetic and sleek design
  • Comes with carrying case
  • Lightweight
  • 1-year warranty with registration
  • Good customer service response
Cons
  • Outer sleeve is not the most durable
  • Inaccurate size measurements

Warrior Elite Training

Warrior Elite Training provides a truly great all around altitude mask. You have a comfortable fitting mask that makes all the difference when you are wearing something on your face, especially when you are exerting varying amounts of stress on your body. It will get the job done, engaging your core while you experience significant lung expansion.
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Technology

The technology used in the design of this mask allows for a non-slip strap which can make the size be suitable for most anyone who wants to give it a try. A range of people who are 115-245 lbs. Is very inclusive. The anatomical design of this immensely light mask, provides exacting fit and comfort. The fabric is a breathable wicking combination that is important to have for when your exercising and sweating.

Resistance

The multi-level resistance flux valve technology used in the design of this mask makes it a perfect training partner for all athletes. You can decide the amount of resistance you need or want, or how much you can handle. When you first start training your aren’t going to be able to be at the highest level, it will be too much too soon. Training with the mask over time, you can slowly increase the resistance as you gain strength. That is why is is so nice to have a system in place that is easy to use and offers a bunch of levels to choose from for each stage of your fitness progression.

Cost and Value

This is attractively priced mask that will give you the edge you are looking for to up your game or your fitness level. If you are going to be doing any type of exercise in a higher altitude than you are used to, training with this mask will most assuredly help you to assimilate to that altitude when you get there.
Pros

Priced well

Comes with a nylon carrying bag

Nice modern design

Adjustable air flow

Excelerate your workout, reduce fatigue

2 lever system

Cons

Sizing is difficult to gage, try a size up

Adjustments could be improved to have a more snug fit

WHPH Training Mask

To all athletes and fitness-minded people, this mask will help you improve your strength, endurance and the intensity of your performance. WHPH provides an altitude training mask for elite athletes or elite wannabes who aim to make strides in all of these areas. 16 levels of breathing levels will simulate heights from the lowest of 4,000 to the highest of 18,000.
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Silent

You're wearing a mask over your face with breathing apparatus built-in. Let’s be serious, expect some amount of noise level. After all, run some hills in mid-August in Florida and you are going to be breathing heavily and making a ton of noise without a mask. This mask uses an ultra silent feature that will diminish the noise that occurs with your rapid, stressed breathing.

Easy to travel

If you are a serious athlete you are going to train no matter where you are. You are going to want the best of your equipment with you to support your goals. This mask can go anywhere with you and you can be confident it won’t be damaged. It has a hard case to pack it in which protects it. It is also very lightweight, so you aren’t going to be adding much in load when you pack it in that suitcase.

Cost and Value

Here we have a very sturdy mask with a great seal. It is comfortable to wear and the dials for adjusting the levels are designed to last. The maintenance is fairly simple, it’s not time-consuming either. You will see results within a reasonable amount of time. The packaging can’t be beaten, it will travel well and keep your gear intact.
Pros

30 day money back guarantee

Easy quick follow guide to instruct you on how to take apart and clean

Restricts exhaling

Can help increase your running speed

Comes with a carrying case

Cons

Only right side flux valve comes installed

Would be helpful if more valves were included in the package with the mask

Training Mask 2.0

Training Mask 2.0
The Training Mask 2.0 is the one-size-fits-all mask of choice that can accommodate the widest amount of individuals who are interested in improving their fitness and endurance. This mask in the 2.0 edition has been redesigned to encompass the most practical, comfortable and progressive altitude training mask on the market. You have the ability to set your training levels in increments of 3000, 6000, 9000, 12000, 15000 and 18000 feet. You are getting a ton of versatility and performance with this mask.
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Good for everyone

You don’t have to be training for a race in the Rockies to benefit from using this mask. Your regular walker to extreme racer will benefit from an overall dramatic improvement in their health and fitness. For elite athletes whose focus is to improve their productivity and efficiency. Imagine getting the same benefits you’d get from a 60-minute workout in 20 minutes. Pretty amazing.

Results fast

A common question is how long will it take to train with this mask to notice an improvement? It is different for everyone, as each person’s body has varying abilities to adapt and strengthen. Don’t be surprised, however, if you are training consistently with it and in as little as two weeks see an impressive improvement in your abilities.

Cost and Value

This mask will get the job done by improving your efficiency while also doing its job efficiently. A double positive. You will be able to improve your breathing when you are engaging in a cardiovascular activity. It becomes much more steady which important to train yourself to breathe more efficiently and deeply when you aren’t using the aid of your mask. You can easily train your body to workout in the best possible way so that when you exercising, you will still see the benefits without using the mask. This is a very well made, mask with a lot of performance that everyone who uses it will find immense benefit.
Pros

Great tool to strengthen diaphragm

Includes a head strap

Multiple resistance levels

All your valves are included

Easy to follow, detailed user guide included

Cons

Sweat can sometimes affect the seal

Not for use with children

Vikingstrength

Vikingstrength
Vikingstrength provides you with an altitude training mask that is specifically for the ultimate athlete. The provider for training equipment of Scandinavian competitors, this mask is no joke and is all about performance, productivity and skill refining. When you are ready to take your training to the next level and develop yourself as an elite athlete, this is the mask you use.
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Great materials

This is a super light mask so it’s not going to way any athlete down during the most intense workouts. It will also not be an annoying distraction from focusing on your workout, by moving around and feeling awkward on your face. The medical silicone will hold up to heavy workouts and keep you healthy with repetitive use.

Design

The material is awesome, it is breathable and lightweight and it has such a great feel on the face. Velcro straps are the tops for any easy adjustments you want to make, by yourself. The adjustments make it very easy to use and have an almost universal fit for most people. The nylon sleeves offer that extra bit of flexibility which helps add to the extra comfortable and individualized fit.

Cost and Value

This mask is very easy to maintain and clean, which is what you’d want from something you are going to be using hard. Not only will you use it hard, but you will be using it often and you should be cleaning it with every use so the easier the better. You can switch through the resistance levels you want with the mask on, so no interrupting your workouts for that anymore.
Pros

16 resistance levels

100% satisfaction guarantee

Includes a storage bag

Great for men or women

Lightweight, 2.8 oz

Cons

Only comes with two replacement pieces for breathing chambers

Lever to adjust resistance is thin

Training Mask Hero Series

Training Mask Hero Series
These are limited edition versions of the Training Mask 3.0 that feature super unique printed sleeves. Take your pick from two trendy hero designs while enjoying all the benefits of the Training Mask 3.0.
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Performance

This mask is designed to offer different levels of airflow restriction to allow you to slowly decrease the level of oxygen you’ll be using while training. Beginners and athletes with experience using training masks can both use this mask easily because of this great adjustment system. The rubber overmolded mask piece creates an airtight seal that won’t break even when you’re sweating and works well with the shroud plate that regulates your airflow.

Design

This version of the Training Mask 3.0 comes in two different printed designs: Insane Bane and Black-Panther. The prints are well designed and color coordinated, obviously unique and well thought out. These are super fun and a great way to bring a little personality to your workout. The composite rubber mask covers a generous area so as not to be constricting while also not being overbearing or bulky. The fit of the outer sleeve isn’t adjustable but it does come in different sizes, even in the hero prints, so you don’t have to deal with the pain of “one size fits all” designs. Not only is this mask super functional in its construction, it looks fantastic. It has a strong aesthetic without being ultra bulky or obtrusive and is branded with the modern, sleek Training Mask logo.

Value

Slightly cheaper than the Training Mask 3.0, the hero series delivers all the benefits of the 3.0 with a fun outer sleeve and no extra cost. This is one of the best training masks you could invest in.
Pros
  • Multi-level air-flow restriction
  • Airtight construction
  • Aesthetic and unique printed design
  • Comes with carrying case
  • Lightweight
  • 1-year warranty with registration
  • Good customer service response
Cons
  • Outer sleeve is not the most durable
  • Inaccurate size measurements

Our Criteria for the Best Training Masks

We’ve included our hand-picked criteria for choosing the best training masks so that you can see what makes each of our choices the best of the best. You can use these criteria to comb through our list and find a mask that works for you or take this information with you whether you’re browsing online or in-store.

runners-use-training-masks-criteria

Fit

Since you’ll be using a training mask like the ones above while you’re working out, you’ll be wearing it during periods of high stress on your body. You want to make sure that everything you wear when you exercise or compete is functional and fits well so as to not hinder your ability to move and perform. You may have to do some measuring so that you can use the fitting guides that many brands will provide. Always check the instructions provided on how to measure and select the best fit for your body type and shape.

It’s also a good idea to check other real customer reviews to see if there are common fitting issues or frequent defects that people had problems with. This is exactly what we did while composing our own list of the best training masks, so you can take note of any major or common fit issues while browsing our selection.

Materials

The materials that are used in a training mask are very important, sometimes making the difference between a great piece of training gear and an impractical tool you wish you hadn’t bought in the first place. For example, when you workout you sweat, and if your mask is made of materials that don’t help to wick moisture or keep a snug fit you could lose the seal that keeps your mask properly adjusted to your face. Not only will this be counterproductive to why you are wearing your mask because it limits the ability of the mask to work properly, but it is also annoying. Can you imagine having to fiddle with your mask multiple times throughout your workouts to ensure it is fitting and sealing properly? It’s not likely you are going to keep using it if you’re having to waste your time messing around with it.  

We looked at masks that were flexible, permeable and had great moisture wicking properties to ensure once you get your mask on the seal and placement will stay in the place where you want it to be. We also looked for masks that were made of materials that are antimicrobial and easy to clean. Materials that are easy to clean for many, many more future use makes your mask work the best for you and keeps bacteria away from sensitive areas like your face and mouth.

Resistance

If you aren’t already adjusted to efficiently working out in the thinner air of high altitude environments, then it will take some time to build up that assimilation.  You can physically take yourself to such environments to train in a real-world situation. For most people, this is not a feasible option. Training masks claim that using their technologies you can simulate training at high altitudes and help you to be more efficient and effective.  

Just like training in the Rockies, your body will need time to transition to be able to function properly with the added stress on your respiratory system. The multiples levels allow you to slowly progress at your own personal rate in a safe amount of time that is customized to you. You can also customize the amount of resistance you use depending on what type of activity you are doing, which is helpful because the body changes how it works and functions within different activities. This also changes your breathing patterns, so the flexibility to adjust your mask with your natural breathing adjustment is a much-needed feature. Dial up or down the intensity based on what your requirement may be.

Design

The ease of which you are able to change resistance levels is worth paying attention to because if you have to take off your mask every time you want to change it will not just be annoying but it is really not practical.  We were looking for masks that had systems designed so they can be easily changed while you workout.

You will be washing your mask, so that is a feature that is important in the design.  For some masks you will have to take them apart and put back together to do so, it was important that the masks we reviewed made that process easy.  No one wants to waste their time on frustrating construction projects.

Many of the masks use filters and valves.  These will require replacing the filters from time to time.  So that is another process that we paid attention to when we reviewed these masks to ensure the process by which you replace your filters is a seamless, non-time consuming and easy one.

Other Important Factors to Consider

High-Altitude Effects

If you are specifically training because you are going to be exercising or competing at a high altitude you don’t want to only rely on using a training mask alone to help condition your body for that change in altitude. Training masks only limit your airflow and don’t simulate all of the other changes hypoxic (low oxygen) and high-altitude environments can have on your body.

You should prepare yourself and work your schedule so that you can arrive early enough, roughly two weeks before to grant your body partial acclimatization ability. Then you can get some training in and see how you are able to perform in the actual environment. This will help you better figure out how to regulate your physical activity and intensity with your surroundings.

Types of Exercises

Training masks can have a large effect on the way your respiratory system works depending on what kind of exercises you’ll be doing. It’s probably not a good idea to wear these types of masks while doing things like weight training and anaerobic exercises. For the most benefit, use training masks while doing cardio workouts.

Some athletes can also get other benefits from using a training mask, depending on their sport. Many MMA fighters will tell you that they like to wear the masks when they are training because it helps them experience and react to what it feels like to have your opponent restrict your airflow and ability to breathe.  That is not a bad thing to simulate considering that is something that can really throw anyone off.

FAQ

Q: Can training masks help with weight loss?

A: While some studies are exploring how high altitudes might contribute to weight loss, there is no solid scientific evidence to suggest that hypoxic workouts are inherently better for weight loss specifically. The strengthening of respiratory systems and the exercise itself are the most likely to be helpful in losing weight, but using a training mask isn’t any more effective beyond the tried and true method of healthy eating and frequent exercise.  

Q: How does your body respond to higher altitudes?

A: Air is much thinner when you reach higher altitudes.  So your body needs to be more efficient at bringing in the right amount of oxygen.  The way it does this is by creating more red blood cells which improve your body’s ability to carry oxygen throughout. Wearing a training mask doesn’t completely simulate the effect of high altitudes because it doesn’t affect the way your blood reacts to the hypoxic environment.

Sources

  1. Bodybuilding.com, Do Elevation Masks Work?, Bodybuilding Nutrition and Fitness Source,
  2. McKenzie, D.C., Respiratory physiology, adaptations to high-level exercise, British Journal of Sports Medicine,
  3. PubMed, Training Match Intensities at High Altitude in Highly-Trained Young Soccer Players, Research Publication,
  4. Levine, B.D., Intermittent hypoxic training: fact and fancy, High Altitude Medicine & Biology ,
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