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Best Training Masks Reviewed & Rated for Quality

last updated Feb 25, 2019
Training can be tedious if you really want to improve—but the best training masks can help you push yourself further if you incorporate them into your routines.

Whether you need to increase your endurance to gain an edge in your next competition, or you just want to mimic high-altitude training, you will benefit a great deal from these masks. The best training masks will restrict airflow, which will simulate the difficult breathing conditions you encounter in higher elevations. Regardless of if you have or haven’t tried this method before, if you are looking for a challenge this is it.

Surprisingly, there are lots of choices out there, so take a look at our list of best training masks below!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 11 hrs of research

icon
Training Mask 3.0
98.2/100 our score
Fit
99
Materials
97
Weather Resistance
99
Style
98
Bottom Line
98
Training Mask 3.0
Why is it better?

Multi-level airflow restriction

Airtight construction

Aesthetic and sleek design

Comes with carrying case

Lightweight

1-year warranty with registration

Good customer service response

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Training Mask 3.0
Test Winner: Training Mask 3.0
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
11
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
2.1k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
11
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
16
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Giselle Killebrew:

To keep our list current, we have added the Phantom Athletics training mask, the Cardio King training mask, and the Dimok training mask. These three masks will help you push your training into gear and allow you to increase your overall endurance—so, whether you are a runner, CrossFit athlete, or just someone who wants to push themselves further, these are all viable and effective options to consider.

Sorting Options
Fit Materials Weather Resistance Style Bottom Line By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.2
Fit
99 %
Materials
97 %
Weather Resistance
99 %
Style
98 %
Bottom Line
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.09.19)
Amazon Link
$79.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.4
Fit
96 %
Materials
96 %
Weather Resistance
98 %
Style
95 %
Bottom Line
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.09.19)
Amazon Link
$44.88
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Fit
94 %
Materials
91 %
Weather Resistance
97 %
Style
95 %
Bottom Line
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.09.19)
Amazon Link
$37.70
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Fit
85 %
Materials
90 %
Weather Resistance
99 %
Style
95 %
Bottom Line
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.09.19)
Amazon Link
$21.97
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Fit
90 %
Materials
91 %
Weather Resistance
90 %
Style
93 %
Bottom Line
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.09.19)
Amazon Link
$44.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Fit
88 %
Materials
89 %
Weather Resistance
87 %
Style
89 %
Bottom Line
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.09.19)
Amazon Link
$25.95
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Fit
86 %
Materials
88 %
Weather Resistance
85 %
Style
85 %
Bottom Line
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.09.19)
Amazon Link
$69.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Fit
83 %
Materials
84 %
Weather Resistance
84 %
Style
82 %
Bottom Line
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.09.19)
Amazon Link
$24.98
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Fit
80 %
Materials
82 %
Weather Resistance
79 %
Style
79 %
Bottom Line
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.09.19)
Amazon Link
$39.97
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.2
Fit
77 %
Materials
76 %
Weather Resistance
79 %
Style
79 %
Bottom Line
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.09.19)
Amazon Link
$13.98

Top 10 Training Masks

1. Training Mask 3.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.2
Training Mask 3.0
Amazon Link
Fit
99
Materials
97
Weather Resistance
99
Style
98
Bottom Line
98
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$79.99
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

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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Fit

Unfortunately, it is 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.

Materials

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.

Weather Resistance

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 molded mask creates an airtight seal and works well with the shroud plate that regulates your airflow.

Bottom Line

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.

Style

Not only is this mask super functional in its construction, but it also looks fantastic. It has a strong aesthetic without being ultra bulky or obtrusive and is branded with the modern, sleek Training Mask logo.

2. Phantom Athletics

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.4
Phantom Athletics
Amazon Link
Fit
96
Materials
96
Weather Resistance
98
Style
95
Bottom Line
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$44.88
Pros:

Adjustable fit

Versatile

4 resistance levels

3 different sizes to choose from

Lightweight

Cons:

Some users wish it had more settings to choose from

The Phantom Athletics training mask is a great versatile selection to use for a lot of different activities. From running and cycling to boxing and other martial arts training--you can use this mask for almost anything to improve your performance and endurance.

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Fit

This mask has straps for an adjustable fit that is comfortable and customizable. The mask also comes in 3 different sizes: Size small is for 150 pounds or less, Size medium is for 150 pounds to 220 pounds, and the size large mask is for those of you over 220 pounds.

Materials

This mask is incredibly durable and built to thanks to the use of medical grade silicone, along with other durable and high-quality material, for its construction.

Weather Resistance

Since this mask is designed for so many different activities, including contact sports, you will find that it can handle quite a bit--even from the weather. It also provides four different resistance levels, which mimic altitude intensities--this is perfect for beginners who want to work their way up to the most difficult setting.

Bottom Line

Bottom line--this mask is awesome. It is versatile, durable, and designed to work for you for the long run. You can use it from beginner to expert levels--so you can increase your endurance without having to upgrade your mask every time you build your endurance.

Style

Available in 3 different sizes and in 4 different resistance levels, this masks covers you securely and is also really easy to take off and put on.

3. WHPH Biggzzia

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
WHPH Biggzzia
Amazon Link
Fit
94
Materials
91
Weather Resistance
97
Style
95
Bottom Line
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$37.70
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

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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Fit

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.

Materials

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.

Weather Resistance

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

Bottom Line

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.

Style

It is very lightweight, so you aren’t going to be adding much in load when you pack it in that suitcase.

4. Dimok

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Dimok
Amazon Link
Fit
85
Materials
90
Weather Resistance
99
Style
95
Bottom Line
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$21.97
Pros:

16 resistance levels

Secure fit

Great Price

Can switch resistance during your workouts

Great for all levels

Cons:

Not compatible with anyone that weighs less than 155 pounds

This is a great mask for runners and any type of HIT workout. While it is not ideal for contact sports, if you don't partake in those that won't matter much, will it?

Read more

Fit

This training mask is designed for individuals between 155 pounds and 220 pounds and can be used for many sports and athletic activities--although some users have experienced some issues when they use it in contact sports.

Materials

This mask is made of flexible, lightweight, and breathable material. It is durable and designed to last, thanks to the use of high-quality materials--so you can definitely count on this mask.

Weather Resistance

This mask offers a total of 16 resistance levels--yes, 16! It is perfect for anyone just starting out that wants to work their way up as well as for more experienced users who want to more flexibility when dictating the intensity of their resistance levels. This mask allows you to change the resistance level mid workout--so you can adjust as you go!

Bottom Line

Bottom Line: this is a really versatile mask. While some users have had some issues with contact sports, it is typically because they have smaller faces or did not securely attach them so their sparring partners (typicall) were able to more it or knock it around. Overall, it is a great pick, at a great price!

Style

This mask is designed to provide a secure and snug fit. It is easily adjustable, however, it is not compatible with anyone that weighs under 155 pounds.

5. Training Mask 2.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Training Mask 2.0
Amazon Link
Fit
90
Materials
91
Weather Resistance
90
Style
93
Bottom Line
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$44.99
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 effect the seal

Not for the use with kids

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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Fit

Its secure fit allows for steady breathing, which is 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.

Materials

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.

Weather Resistance

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 cardiovascular activity.

Bottom Line

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.

Style

This is a very well made, mask with a lot of performance that everyone who uses it will find immense benefit.

6. Vikingstrength

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Vikingstrength
Amazon Link
Fit
88
Materials
89
Weather Resistance
87
Style
89
Bottom Line
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$25.95
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

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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Fit

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.

Materials

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

Weather Resistance

adjustments you want to make, by yourself. The adjustments make it very easy to use and have an almost universal fit for most people.

Bottom Line

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.

Style

The nylon sleeves offer that extra bit of flexibility which helps add to the extra comfortable and individualized fit.

7. Training Mask Dark Hero Series

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Training Mask Dark Hero Series
Amazon Link
Fit
86
Materials
88
Weather Resistance
85
Style
85
Bottom Line
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$69.99
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 sleve is not the most durable

Inaccurate size measurments

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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Fit
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.

Materials

The composite rubber mask covers a generous area so as not to be constricting while also not being overbearing or bulky. The rubber molded 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.

Weather Resistance

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.

Bottom Line

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.

Style

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.

8. Cardio King

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Cardio King
Amazon Link
Fit
83
Materials
84
Weather Resistance
84
Style
82
Bottom Line
81
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$24.98
Pros:

Affordable

4 resistance levels

Lightweight

Secure fit

Cons:

Cannot be used if you weight less than 120 pounds

Not very breathable

The Cardio King training mask is a great beginning training mask that can be used for several different endurance sports. This is a lightweight, easy to use, and durable mask that is great for almost everyone!

Read more

Fit

This mask works for people between 150 pounds and 230 pounds--you will just need stick with the only size available.

Materials

This mask is designed to fit snuggly and the material won't slip around all over the place. It is lightweight, however, it is not as breathable as some other masks--so if you sweat excessively this may not be the way to go.

Weather Resistance

This mask offers its users 4 different levels of resistance. This allows users to start as beginners and work their way up with this mask.

Bottom Line

This is a great starter mask that also comes with several resistance settings so you can work your way up. It is really affordable, one of the most affordable out there in fact, but that does not take away from its durability, effectivity, and efficiency.

Style

This mask features a one size fits all fit--which means it works for a wide range of weights. However, its biggest downfall is that the minimum weight requirement is 120 pounds, so if you weigh less than that this will not be a viable option for you.

9. Sparthos

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Sparthos
Amazon Link
Fit
80
Materials
82
Weather Resistance
79
Style
79
Bottom Line
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$39.97
Pros:

3 sizes to choose from

Quick flip airflow valves

16 breathing levels

Restricted exhaling

Restricted inhaling

Cons:

Watch sizing, it fits a bit large

Could use more adjustable features for smaller faces

16 breathing levels to push your workouts and your body to the extreme, a sleek design and a pleasing feel with their ergonomic fit, Sparthos is a top-level training mask. When you think your only improving upon your physical abilities you would be right except, training with elevation masks also help develop and build on your mental sharpness. Your intellectual toughness will be challenged as you work through an exercise session with an altitude training mask that forces you to focus.

Read more

Fit

The slip-resistant design will fit you just right, as it forms to your face for the most ergonomic fit. You can comfortably place this over your face and get into a solid workout without worrying your sweat will displace this mask while you are wearing it. The straps alone were specifically designed to hold on with a snug feel that is anything but awkward, especially when you are hitting high speeds.

Materials

Made with high quality and durable materials. it is built to last and will hold up in the long run--so you can rely on it for years to come if you are committed,

Weather Resistance

Not all training masks are made the same even if they have a similar appearance. You won’t find many on the market that provide you the option of advancement through a whopping 16 levels of breathability. Don’t be scared off by these extra levels of intensity, all it takes is one easy click to change between levels. You won’t be interrupting your workout by taking your mask off to change, you can do it simply while you are still wearing the mask

Bottom Line

You have the ability to customize how you want your altitude mask to work for you. With so many options in levels of breathing, you can be overcoming a recovery block just as easy as you can train to improve your health.

Style

With 16 levels to choose from, you will definitely be able to find the right level for you. This mask is a great addition to your workout routine if you want to be able to execute excellent breathing technique.

10. Ligart

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.2
Ligart
Amazon Link
Fit
77
Materials
76
Weather Resistance
79
Style
79
Bottom Line
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$13.98
Pros:

Stretchy and adjustable

Filters 95% of pollutants in the air

Replaceable filters lengthen the life of mask

Made of diving fabrics

Great look and feel

Nice color and design options

Cons:

A second strap for the top of the head could improve the fit

Runs small

This mask is what any athlete that exercises outside could benefit from. The Ligart mask will filter out all the icky stuff in the air to provide you with your healthiest breathing ability. You can take advantage of this healthy breathing inside and out as well as for all the seasons.

Read more

Fit

The air resistance is smaller, so you don’t have to worry about struggling with this mask when you are using it during exercise.

Materials

The materials are diving fabrics and they offer excellent permeability, alongside the double air-breathing valve you will have a smoother breathing experience. The fabric is soft, so it is super comfortable on your skin.

Weather Resistance

The active carbon filters remove about 95% of all those environmental pollutants, dusk, chemicals, fumes, etc. When it is time, you will have no problem easily replacing your filters to ensure you can use this mask for the long term. With an excellent ventilation design, you will be able to easily take in fresh, healthy oxygen to support your breathing and your health.

Bottom Line

This mask is going to do wonders for your air quality and your lung health. The fabric is soft, so it is super comfortable on your skin.

Style

It’s a fashionable mask as well, there are funky designs and varying colors to choose from so you can complement your personality as well.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

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.

Weather 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.

Style

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.

Bottom Line

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.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
Fit
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#2
Materials
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#3
Weather Resistance
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#4
Bottom Line
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#5
Style
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Fit

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. Make sure there is a correct fit because it does restrict air. If it doesn't fit correctly it could restrict too much

The Debate

Air-restricted training AKA “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

Other Factors to Consider

Effectiveness

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.

Make sure to thoroughly research the mask you are considering to ensure you are getting something that will work for you. If you have never used one of these masks you will need to ensure that it offers settings that will go easy on you. Some of these masks can be adjusted during your workouts, which is great option to consider if you want to get the most out of your mask.

Breathability

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Will using a training mask 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.

q: What is the right amount of resistance levels for me?

a:

The masks on our list provide various amounts of resistance levels--most range from 4-16 different levels. If you want a really versatile mask that allows you to adjust it according to your needs on any given day--or if you are a beginner who wants to slowly build your way up--you will want to choose one with the most levels available. If you have had some experience with these masks, you can go with fewer resistance levels--or if you can handle jumping up the intensity with no room in between, those with lower resistance levels options are also effective.

q: Do I have to stick to the weight limit?

a:

Yes, you need to stick to the weight limit stated by the manufacturer. This is important because the mask is designed for individuals who fit the weight prescribed, and unintended injury can occur if you don't abide by the suggested weight.

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