Best Training Masks Reviewed & Rated for Quality

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One of the newest fads in extreme training for elite athletes who are looking for any way to get an edge on their competition and improve their personal output.  Elevation masks will decrease the full amount of airflow in and out of your lungs. They offer a type of training that is, basically air-restricted training that also goes by the name “inspiratory muscle training.”

TRAININGMASK
  • TRAININGMASK
  • 4.8 out of 5
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  • Quick Results
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Sparthos
  • Sparthos
  • 4.7 out of 5
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  • 16 Levels
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Novemkada
  • Novemkada
  • 4.5 out of 5
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  • Healthy
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This type of training, this inspiratory muscle training, is impressive in its effectiveness.  Forget athletes, for those who suffer from lung disease and limitations, this type of training can offer improvements to their quality of life and overall health.  For athletes, your performance depends on the total supply of oxygen in the air and your ability to utilize it efficiently. So if you train with one of these masks, what you are essentially doing is building upon the strength and capacity of your respiratory system.  If you are someone who is interested in improving their breathing ability and air quality, we not only took a look at altitude training masks but also masks that filter the air you breathe. These masks are terrific for anyone with allergies or air pollutant sensitivities.  

You wear these masks on your face, anything on your face can feel funny and has a high ability to be uncomfortable.  Since these masks are also made to be used for training, sweat is a factor. When we reviewed the best training masks on the market, we took into consideration the masks fit, it’s ability to wick away sweat and keep a good seal, the number of resistance levels offered, and the technology that was used in the design.

 

10 Best Training Masks

 

1. TRAININGMASK

TRAININGMASK 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

2. Sparthos

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.
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16 levels of breathing intensities

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

Design

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.

Cost and Value

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. 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.
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

3. Novemkada

A true balaclava, that any outdoor enthusiast can reap the benefits. Balaclavas, for those of you who are unsure, is the name for a type of head covering that will only leave a portion of the skin on your face exposed to the elements. You can comfortably wear this mask in a variety of ways. Made of polyester, Novemkada makes a mask that will wick water straight away while keeping our head and neck warm.
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Healthy for breathing

You can wear this mask in a variety of environments and keep the air pollutants out of your lungs while you are getting engaging in physical activity. It has active carbon filters, can keep you from breathing in 98% of dust, chemicals, partifulates, gas, pollen, smoke and fumes. We are not done there, it is also anti-vehicle exhaust. So go ahead, go hike in the woods if you have allergies, run in loose dirt, or bike in the city you will keep your lungs the healthiest they can be while keeping you free of sweat and warm.

Design

This mask is easy to use and to care for. The nose clip is adjustable, and it has a ton of features for easier breathing. The permeability is top notch, so you can easily use this mask for all seasons. The valve opens super easy without resistance and there are a bunch of holes for extra ventilation. It is made to be easy to care for. Keep it clean with an easy washing and the valves are easily replaced on your own.

Cost and Value

This is a great mask for the outdoors and indoors to keep your neck and head warm, everyone knows that the head being warmed keeps the rest of you toasty. It helps you breathe safely and it will wick away sweat which could impact the warmth you would need when exercising in colder climates. A nice money back guarantees make it a worry-free purchase, not to mention the enticing price itself should together make you absolutely give this an option.
Pros

Lifetime warranty and money back guarantee

Carbon filters keep your air quality clean

An incredible amount of color options

Comes 2 in an order

Ideal for layering

Comes with a storage bag

Cons

Thin material is better layered in the cold weather

Not as soft on the face as it could be

4. Vikingstrength

4.  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

5. TEC

5.  TEC
To all athletes and fitness-minded people, this mask will help you improve your strength, endurance and the intensity of your performance. TEC 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

6. Krisvie

6.  Krisvie
This is a multi-use training mask and will work well for anyone who is a cyclist, rides motorcycles, does woodworking, runs or really for anyone else who enjoys outdoor activities. You have the option of 3 colors, so you can show a bit of your own personality and style with this aesthetic option. Krisvie is a breathable mask for extended outdoor use.
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Breathable

This mask uses a very exclusive design that focuses on ventilation. There are a bunch of holes and a nice amount of permeability in the materials. The valve will open for you with no resistance, and there is a double air-breathing valve for the smoothest breathing feel you can get in an altitude training mask.

One size fits most

There is an elastic strap which provides so much flexibility with a comfortable snugness so that most people can easily fit this mask to the size and shape of their heads. The area where the nose fits utilizes a fixed sheet so that you don’t have to worry about sliding. It is a light mask that anyone can appreciate. It is a dustproof mask that most allergy sufferers can appreciate.

Cost and Value

This is a multi-use mask, that is no problem to care for. A simple washing works just fine if your mask gets dirty, and well, that happens. The filters are something you can easily replace yourself, so no added expenses there. Sizing wise, it is easily adjustable for most any head type.
Pros

100% money back guarantee

Great customer support for all your questions or concerns

Moisture-proof

Highly adjustable fit

Made of diving cloth to regulate balance in cool and warm climates

Cons

Design could be redone, this mask isn’t the sharpest looking

Runs small

7. Athlete Elite

7.  Athlete Elite
A straightforward, overall optimal mask that you can’t go wrong with especially for the price. Ringside has a lightweight and comfortable mask that does what you’d want it to do. Its comfortable too, and you will never go wrong with a comfortable piece of gear, especially if you have to have that gear be placed on your face. Athlete Elite provides you with different oxygen training options and that is exactly what you want from an altitude training mask.
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Cardiorespiratory training

If you are like many people who suffer from cardiorespiratory conditions, you are always trying to look for ways to combat your health issues and find a way to get stronger and better. You should always contact your doctor before you try any new supplement or introducing new stresses on your life. That being said, there is much talk that using training masks similar to the Ringside mask can help those who suffer from poor cardiorespiratory improvements. Those of you with allergies and asthma could see a benefit from training with this type of equipment but as mentioned earlier, check with your doctor before you make your move.

Travel

You can travel with this piece of equipment, literally anywhere. You can pack it away safely, to make sure it won’t have any damage you surely can take the time to fit it nicely back into its box. While that is probably the best way to travel with it just for the extra assurance it won't be damaged, its a durable piece of equipment. Even if you are in a rush and just throw it in your gym bag, for instance, you should rest assured the likelihood of it being impaired in some way is probably not going to be a problem.

Cost and Value

Wearing this mask will restrict your oxygen intake, there are legit four levels of restriction. This is what happens at higher elevations, so you can use this mask and train normally and be assured that in those higher elevations you will be equipped to compete or train with better ease. Not only does it help with altitude training, but it also actually will filter and block a bunch of pollen you may encounter in the warmer months, specifically in the spring. Before you train, give it a try on a less intense stage. Wear it while you walk or sitting on the couch and get used to how it feels t breathe with it on before you hit some profound workout in extreme conditions.
Pros

Fast acclimation to gaining the benefits from training with this mask

Light

4 levels of resistance

Accessible dials for easy change of resistance

Has a great fit and is easy to put on and take off

Mask that works perfectly with high regard

Cons

Could be tight around the ears

Larger faces may have a tougher time with the seal

8. dimok

8.  dimok
This mask is impressive for sure. The air flow restriction is incredibly easy to adjust while you are wearing it. Dimok is a sharp looking, sleek mask that will turn heads. If you want to look as serious as the intense training your doing, this mask will accomplish that.
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Train the lungs

For any active person, hikers, yogis, swimmers, runners, boxers, martial artists, literally anyone who wants to excel in their sport can do so by training with this mask. It will surely optimize your breathing patterns, giving you the increased lung capacity you’d want. Taking in as much oxygen as possible while exerting yourself, with the least amount of work to do so, will provide you the boost of the most energy you can use to power through your workouts or advance past your competitors while you are battling for the win.

Efficient

There is no doubt you can maximize on your time by increasing your workout efficiency. This mask will help you do just that. It will increase the intensity of your workouts and force you to adjust to that increase in order to get through it. If you train with it for just a week, you will notice results the next time you compete or train. You will be the tougher competitor and you will be able to cut intense workout times in half.

Cost and Value

This is such a high-quality mask. The sleek design looks really neat, but that’s not the highlight, it offers tons of functionality. You can see results within as little as a week of training with the mask. It is easy to use, it is lightweight and will stay put while you are doing any type of intense workout and or physical challenge. This is a mask that is for sure worth taking a look at.
Pros

Satisfaction guarantee

Increase levels easily

16 levels of intensity

Easy to clean and maintain

Light

Perfect for fitness training, can help you focus on your breathing patterns

Cons

Sizing chart is not as easy to navigate

Not customizable with skins

9. Warrior Training

9.  Warrior Training
Warrior 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

10. Ligart

10.   Ligart
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.
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Mask that filters

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.

Smooth breathing

The materials are diving fabrics and they offer excellent permeability, alongside the double air-breathing valve you will have a smoother breathing experience. The air resistance is smaller, so you don’t have to worry about struggling with this mask when you are using it during exercise.

Cost and Value

This mask is going to do wonders for your air quality and your lung health. It’s a fashionable mask as well, there are funky designs and varying colors to choose from so you can compliment your personality as well. The fabric is soft, so it is super comfortable on your skin.
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

There is one absolute, that you can expect from training with these masks, and that is that hypoxic training will be much tougher than without a mask.  Your heart rate is going to be elevated, your breathing will be harder, your lactate response is going to increase as well. When your oxygen source is reduced, your body has to respond by working harder, no matter what the workload is because your body needs to fuel its ability to perform with the right amount of oxygen.  While there is a debate out there as to the validity of training with these masks and if they can actually provide the results they proclaim, one thing is for sure. There are a lot of people who have used them and claim to really feel a difference in their performance and training.

Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Training Masks

runners-use-training-masks-criteria

Fit

These masks are made to be worn while you are working out, so they are worn during periods of high stress on your body.  Everything you wear when you exercise or compete, you want to make sure that it’s fit or functionality doesn’t hinder your ability to move and perform.  This is certainly, and probably even more so for these masks that you will be wearing on your face, over your mouth and nose many times.

Most masks have instruction guides and fitting guides for their brands.  Many of the guides have you measure various aspects of your face and then put you into categories from those measurements.  They also take into consideration your total body weight. This causes the fit sometimes to be questionable because of the distribution of weight on everybody is different.  But take a look at the guides and make sure you do the measurements to ensure you are getting the right sized mask for you. If you are unsure of how to choose the correct size, contact the manufacturer and see if their customer support can provide you with more guidance.

Materials

The materials that are used are important to the ability of your mask to be comfortable and practical.  When you workout you sweat, and if you sweat 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? Not likely you are going to use it too much if you’re having to waste your time messing around with it.  

We looked at masks that were flexible, permeable and were sweat-wicking to ensure once you get your mask on the seal and placement will stay in the place where you want it to be.  The other thing that happens is because you are breathing through it and sweating all over it, material that is easy to clean is incredibly important. You don’t want bacteria building up and making it smell and be unhealthy for you.  You also don’t want to have your mask degrade. Materials that are easy to clean for many, many more future use makes your mask work the best for you.

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 in 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.  Noone 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

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.  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.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  What is the psychological aspect of using a mask?

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.

Q:  What is the best way to train at high altitudes?

This is a kind of interesting question.  The best way to do this would be to live in that altitude in a very inactive sort of way to increase your red blood cell count.  Then when you train, you do so at a lower altitude.

Q: How does your body respond in higher altitudes?

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.  

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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